Fall 2021 Semester Plans

March 22, 2021
Divinity Hall on the HDS campus
Divinity Hall on the HDS campus / Photo: Kristie Welsh

The below message was sent to members of the HDS community from Acting Dean David Holland on March 16, 2021.

Dear members of the HDS community,

I want to begin this note by offering my gratitude for the resiliency and resolve the members of our community—students, faculty, and staff—have shown in the face of grave threats from the pandemic. I’ve been inspired by your bravery and blessed by your compassion.

Like most of you, since Harvard transitioned to remote teaching, learning, and working just over a year ago, I have looked forward to the day when we can gather again, safely, in person, in community. Although it is currently spring break, I wanted to share with you as soon as possible an update regarding plans for the fall term.

Harvard Divinity School and Harvard University continue to closely monitor the course of the COVID-19 pandemic and the progress of the vaccination effort. As of now, we plan to have faculty, staff, and students return to campus for the fall term, to the extent allowed by the evolving public health situation. Our aim is to begin the fall term with as much in-person learning as possible.

As always, the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff are of the highest importance. While it is encouraging to hear of the increasing number of people receiving vaccinations, and the efforts to deliver shots to vulnerable and marginalized populations, public health officials have warned we all must remain vigilant and continue to take precautions. We will communicate with you throughout the coming months to detail our plans to maximize community safety and outline the steps each of us will need to take. In the meantime, the HDS Coronavirus Updates page contains information specific to the HDS campus, including important resources for our students, faculty, and staff. The latest University-wide information, policy updates, and resources can be found on Harvard's Coronavirus (COVID-19) web page.

These last 12 months have brought unprecedented challenges. Proximity has its own power, and I have felt the losses associated with distance. When we return to campus we will not only be able to enjoy the gifts of physical community once more, but do so in a structurally improved Divinity Hall and a renewed and more sustainable Swartz Hall. I eagerly look forward to that day.

With all my best wishes,

David Holland
Acting Dean, Harvard Divinity School
Bartlett Professor of New England Church History