As we prepare for Autumn Quarter, the Harris School of Public Policy is committed to our distinctive environment for education, research, and impact, and being responsible participants in the collective global public health challenge.

The following web page provides updates and resources for the Harris community related to our school’s plans for Autumn Quarter and the 2021–22 academic year.

In March 2021, the University of Chicago and the Harris School of Public Policy announced their intentions to return for the full resumption of activities on campus, if the conditions of the pandemic allow. While our goal is to have as many functions in person as possible, please know that it is our intention to make necessary accommodations for those students facing travel or health restrictions. As we approach fall, the University of Chicago has developed and maintains an information hub, UChicago GoForward, which provides the latest updates on the University's planning for the resumption of programs and operations on campus. This framework guides the decisions of each school and division on campus in meeting its unique instructional needs. Planning has been guided by several priorities, including: academic quality, the student experience, public health considerations, international travel and visa restrictions, and government guidance (including the state’s “Restore Illinois” plan and Chicago’s framework consistent with that plan). The University and Harris will continue to communicate plans and expectations to ensure that we have a common understanding of what is ahead of us.


The latest updates and FAQs specific to the Harris community follow below along with links to campus-wide resources related to support services, public health, and more. We will continue to update the FAQ throughout the spring and summer.

Explore our FAQs.

Fall 2021 Program Details: Students may find information specific to their degree programs on this site, which will be updated as details are available.

Current Harris students should reach out to their academic advisor with any questions not addressed in this FAQ. Incoming Harris students may direct questions to

Fall Planning Updates 


March 29, 2021: University President Announces Plans to Return to In-Person Operations in Autumn

To: Members of the University Community
From: Robert J. Zimmer, President, and Ka Yee C. Lee, Provost
Subject: Plans for Autumn Quarter
Date: March 29, 2021

Over the past year, people from across the University have worked diligently to help adjust our processes involving research, education and medical care to accommodate the individual and public health issues raised by the pandemic. These efforts have succeeded in greatly limiting the spread of COVID-19 on campus, even before the distribution of vaccines began in December.

The vast majority of our community has upheld the public health precautions in the UChicago Health Pact, and we have developed effective responses to the cases that have emerged, including through contact tracing and isolation of infected individuals. As vaccination has progressed on our campus and in surrounding communities, we have seen even fewer cases emerge, and we often have no students in on-campus isolation housing. We are hopeful that growing vaccination efforts across the country will help this trend continue.

These are some of the reasons why we currently feel confident in planning for a full resumption of activities on campus by the start of the new academic year in September. We intend to invite our full population of students to be in residence, classrooms and labs for the 2021 Autumn Quarter, if the state of the pandemic and the health of our community allow.

Reaching this goal fully will depend on many factors – some of which are within our control, and some of which are not. They include:

•   Continuing efforts to vaccinate a large portion of the U.S. population, including as many members of the UChicago community as possible

•   Wearing face coverings, limiting close contacts, and maintaining high rates of compliance with other public health precautions

•   Aligning our campus plans with public health guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, city and state authorities, and the guidance of experts from the University of Chicago Medicine

•   Continued low rates of infection in Chicago and beyond, which should reduce the chances of viral spread on our campus

•   Avoiding major new outbreaks of coronavirus variants

The Laboratory Schools have previously announced their commitment to bringing all students back for full-time, in-person education this fall. In addition, our goal is to return to campus all University staff employees in time for the Autumn Quarter, to support the full range of in-person activities and functions. The specific timing and processes for achieving in-person work may vary across schools, divisions, and offices, with an intention of returning all employees to campus in time for the Autumn Quarter.

After a year of remarkable upheaval, it is a welcome change to plan for the return to in-person engagement at the University of Chicago. We must keep precautions in place to prevent COVID-19 from overtaking these plans. But with everyone’s continued commitment, we will succeed in this next important task.

We will communicate more soon about plans for Autumn Quarter, along with additional details to come from schools, divisions, and the College. Thank you for supporting each other and our University community as we look forward to the next academic year.

March 30, 2021: Harris Dean Announces Plans to Return to In-Person Operations in Autumn, With Accommodations for Students

Harris Students,

As you saw in the President and Provost’s message yesterday, the University announced its intention to prepare for the full resumption of activities on campus for Autumn Quarter 2021, if the state of the pandemic and the health of our community allow.

Here at Harris, we are excited to welcome you back in person to the classroom and campus next academic year, though there are many details to work through with your health and safety in mind.

I know you are all eager to have more detailed information so that you can begin to prepare for in-person education and activities next year, and Harris leadership is working in close coordination with the University on these plans, keeping in mind the unique needs of our community and the public health environment. Following the University’s guidance, Harris will provide more detail regarding our plans for in-person instruction and activities for Autumn 2021 as soon as more information is available.

In the meantime, we recognize that many of you may have questions, particularly our international students who may have concerns about whether they will be able to join us in person right away next fall.  While our goal is to have as many functions in person as possible, please know that it is our intention to make necessary accommodations for those students facing travel or health restrictions.

Thank you for your patience as we work through these details, and we look forward to welcoming the Harris community back to campus next year.




Katherine Baicker
Emmett Dedmon Professor
Harris School of Public Policy
University of Chicago

Health, Support & COVID-19 Updates

Harris continues to work closely with the University to monitor and respond to the evolving situation brought on by COVID-19. Our collective goal is to protect the health, safety, and well-being of our students, faculty, staff, and the broader community of which we are a part.

General resources for University Community: 

The University is providing updated information for the entire University community on its UChicago GoForward site. The site includes extensive information about COVID testing on campus, vaccine availability for the University community, University COVID rules, public health, how to protect yourself, travel advisories and guidelines, and support resources.

For students:

Questions or concerns: Any student who is not feeling well or who has questions or concerns related to COVID-19 symptoms or exposure should contact Student Health Services at 773.702.4156. Students should always reach out to their academic advisor if they need academic support or are unsure of whom to contact.

Counseling services: Student Health and Counseling Services (SHCS), UChicago HELP, and the Dean-on-Call and Sexual Assault Dean-on-Call programs remain available to students. Outside of regular business hours students can access the Therapist-on-Call at 773.702.3625.

You can learn about those and other efforts to maintain effective student support on the University's Student Health and Wellness Resources website.

For staff and faculty:  

The Staff and Faculty Assistance Program (SFAP) is a confidential program that provides support, counseling, and other resources for challenges that may arise.

Harris faculty and staff can visit the COVID-19 Resources page on our intranet for information and resources for faculty and staff.