Final exams were shifted online so students could go home

Following a December spike in COVID cases, the University shifted fall exams to remote formats “to allow undergraduates to leave campus at their earliest convenience.” 

On Dec. 13 and 14, University Health Services reported 52 new positive tests on campus, including 32 among undergraduates. The University had previously tightened guidelines for gatherings and increased testing to twice a week for undergraduates in response to an increase of cases in late November and early December. For the week ending Dec. 3, Princeton reported 84 new cases, including 47 among undergraduates, the highest total of the semester to that point. (In September and October, the campus averaged about 12 cases per week.) 

The Davis International Center also advised international students to remain in the U.S. during winter break, warning of “an increased possibility that they will not be allowed to return to the U.S. for the spring semester” and noting that Princeton had no plans for hybrid instruction. 

According to The Daily Princetonian, the travel advisory drew pushback from several international students who felt they were being asked to choose between seeing their families and staying on track to graduate, since visa or travel delays could force them to take a full-year leave. University spokesman Michael Hotchkiss told PAW that the University was providing international students with information and support so they could make informed decisions. The University also made continuous housing available to international students at no cost.