Harvard Business School will suspend most face-to-face MBA classes and networking following the outbreak of COVID-19

Texas News Today

Harvard Business School has moved most of its MBA classes online due to a series of overwhelming COVID-19 infections among students.

According to the school, the transition to distance learning for all first grade and some second grade courses will last until at least October 3, about a month after classes begin. It is one of the first cases in which major universities have stopped providing face-to-face instruction this fall and reflects the challenges faced by schools that have traditionally taught students face-to-face and bring them back. attracted through socialization. ..

Business school students accounted for two-thirds of all Harvard students’ Covid-19 cases this month, according to an email sent to MBA students late last week reviewed by the Wall Street Journal. Another email sent on Sunday said the total number of MBA students has increased by 20% in three days, urging many MBA classes to be taken online until the school re-evaluates the situation . ..

“We are completely different in our numbers at Harvard University,” said an email signed by several Harvard administrators, including HBS dean Shrikant Datar. “Our positive rate is 12 times higher than that of other Harvard universities. These devastating numbers are so high that they are attracting the scrutiny of local public health officials.”

Business school spokesman Mark Coutera said the decision was made by university leaders who had been advised by city and state public health officials to move to remote areas.

Harvard University reported last week that 60 of its 74 Covid-19 cases were graduate students among students, faculty and staff. The school declined to comment on the exact number of positive cases linked to HBS, but contacts found the transmissions were associated with unmasked individuals socializing inside the campus. Said school.

HBS appears to be the first well-known business school to move most classes online after students return to campus this fall. Several other universities, including Rice University in Houston, have temporarily moved online classes for undergraduates to combat the outbreak. Rice returned to remote classes during the first two weeks of the semester due to an increase in COVID-19 cases across campus and in Texas. The school said there were several false positive tests and the university returned to face-to-face learning. ..

HBS recorded the largest MBA cohort in history this fall, with more than 1,000 students participating. The previous MBA class was about 20% lower than normal, as so many students took to HBS in the proposal to postpone enrollment in hopes of attending individually this year.

The population of more than 1,700 HBS enrolled for a two-year degree represents approximately 9% of all Harvard students. At HBS, all students were expected to be vaccinated before returning to campus this fall, with the exception of students with religious or medical exceptions. According to the school, 95% of the university’s student population is vaccinated and 96% of its faculty and staff are fully immunized.

According to Koutera, HBS plans to increase the frequency of testing for all students to three times a week, and the school will bar all students from indoor activities without masks and work with others outside the home. We restricted direct contact and asked to move group gatherings online. Cancel all group trips.

The COVID-19 vaccine is very effective in preventing hospitalizations and viral deaths, but preventing infection is not completely certain. This creates problems for events like the Olympics and raises wider issues about immunity in the long run. Photo: David Krieger / The Bristol Herald Courier / The Associated Press

write to Patrick Thomas at @wsj.com Patrick Thomas

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