General use face coverings are optional in most indoor spaces on Harvard premises. Limited exceptions apply.
We strongly encourage you to consult the CDC's COVID-19 community levels for the Cambridge (Middlesex county) and Boston (Suffolk county) campuses to help make personal mask usage choices.
You are strongly encouraged to wear a well-fitting mask indoors in public areas classified as "high", regardless of your vaccination status or individual risk. If you are immunocompromised or at high risk for severe illness, the CDC recommends that you wear a mask or respirator that provides you with greater protection, even when community risk is classified as "medium".
If you begin exhibiting undiagnosed symptoms of COVID-19 you must wear a mask and be tested for COVID-19. Continue to wear a mask and limit contact with others while awaiting your test results. See Viral Testing for more information on testing.
Harvard encourages you to have an acceptable face covering with you at all times for situations in which it may be required. We strongly recommend voluntary masking indoors and in crowded settings outdoors. High-quality disposable masks, worn with no gaps at the edges, can protect both you the wearer and those around you from COVID-19.
Continue to comply with face covering use guidelines in situations that require face coverings.
"General use" applies to faculty, staff, students, and visitors who must wear a face covering per current Harvard policy for source control on Harvard's premises.
Face coverings provide source control and protect others from potentially infectious droplets that may be generated by the wearer, which is particularly important as people can spread the SARS-COV-2 virus without showing symptoms.
Everyone is welcome to continue wearing a mask of any type for their own protection, or to protect someone else, if they choose to do so. Nobody should be made to feel uncomfortable, unwelcome, or marginalized because they choose to wear a mask.
In limited situations when face coverings are required, anyone on campus not adhering to Harvard’s face coverings policy may be asked to leave campus or be subject to administrative action.
Where are face coverings required?
You must wear face coverings in HUHS and other healthcare facilities and other settings hosting vulnerable populations.
Follow CDC isolation and precautions for removing your mask when completing isolation or quarantine. Masks are generally required through day 10 at minimum, even if your isolation ends after five days.
Schools and units may continue to require masking in certain settings, depending on their population, rates of infection, and other public health data.
In settings where you must wear face coverings, you may remove your face covering while actively eating and drinking, unless otherwise prohibited within the space.
In settings like medical clinics and laboratories, additional PPE (like N95 respirators) may be needed instead of general use face coverings.
Harvard doesn’t have a separate mask policy for unvaccinated individuals. Unvaccinated Harvard and non-Harvard community members should ask their healthcare provider if they should wear a mask or respirator indoors.
To protect the privacy of our community and visitors, vaccination status is often unknown and wearing a mask in settings where not required to is personal decision. Masking decisions should be informed by the prevalence of community cases, and your vaccination status, age, and medical history.
We strongly encourage indoor masking if you have greater health risks or concerns. Masks continue to be highly effective in reducing risk of transmission regardless of vaccination status.