Activity & Workplace Planning


Campus COVID-19 guidance continues to be adjusted and many of the restrictions put in place over the past two years have been lifted. Most notably, as of March 14, 2022 the Activity Specific section of this guidance has been rescinded and schools and units shall focus on core public health principles when developing local policies and planning activities and events.

University-wide guidance may be supplemented by school or Central Administration unit policies.

As always, the situation will be closely monitored and this guidance will be updated when changes in public health conditions warrant.

Harvard University On Campus Activity Guidance

This guidance provides schools and units with the minimum University requirements for reducing the risks of SARS-CoV-2 transmission on campus. These requirements are guided by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations and established by Harvard University Health Services (HUHS) and Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) in consultation with the Medical Expert Advisory Committee. As always, Harvard's objective is to prioritize the health and safety of our campus community while supporting the University's academic and research mission. The guidance is revised, as required, by any new regulations or changes in the scientific evidence. The recommendations presented here supersede guidance offered in previous documents.

Schools and units should familiarize themselves with this information and develop systems to ensure local compliance. In limited settings, schools and units may institute more restrictive requirements to address their local needs or unique risk factors.

During periods of high viral transmission, increasing positive cases or clusters, and/or specific recommendations from HUHS, local policies may need to be adjusted including, but not limited to scaling back events and social gatherings or implementing further restrictions on indoor eating and drinking.

Overview

Scope

The contents of this guide applies to activities that occur within the academic, administrative, and public spaces of Harvard University. These spaces are referenced as “on campus”.

For example, on campus spaces include the buildings and open spaces within Harvard’s Cambridge and Boston campuses, Harvard’s academic, administrative and research buildings (owned by and leased by Harvard), Harvard residence halls and dormitories, and Harvard-operated vehicles. This does not apply to private apartment buildings or other real estate owned by Harvard University Real Estate (Harvard University Housing apartment buildings), nor does it apply to the spaces operated by non-Harvard entities that have a Harvard affiliation (e.g., hospitals that are affiliated with Harvard Medical School).

Instructions

Please review and follow the general guidance and Public Health within Activity-Specific and Public Health.

School and unit leadership should monitor this information for updates that are relevant to their communities and should ensure that this information is shared with those who need to know within the school/unit.

If in rare cases you feel that a specific situation offers compelling reasons to be more permissive than outlined here, consultation with HUHS and EHS is necessary.

For simplicity, this information refers to both the disease (COVID-19) and the virus (SARS-CoV-2) as COVID-19.

Federal Guidance

Harvard University's On Campus Activity Guidance is intended to comply with the Executive Order on Ensuring Adequate COVID Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors and the related Safer Federal Workforce Task Force COVID-19 Workplace Safety: Guidance for Federal Contractors and Subcontractors.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides guidance on how to protect yourself and others against COVID-19.

Per CDC guidance:

  • Get vaccinated with an authorized COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Get tested if you experience symptoms of COVID-19.
  • All persons, including fully vaccinated individuals, should wear a mask in indoor, public places in areas where the COVID-19 community level is high.

The CDC recommends delaying travel until fully vaccinated. For those that are not fully vaccinated and must travel, follow the CDC's recommendations for people who are not fully vaccinated.

Guidance for all travelers for both domestic and international trips may be found on CDC: Travel. Mask use is recommended when traveling on a plane, bus, train, or other form of public transportation.

Massachusetts and Local Requirements

Massachusetts has a face mask advisory for fully vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals.

Per this advisory, a fully vaccinated individual should wear a mask indoors if they either:

  • Have a weakened immune system or are at increased risk for severe disease because of their age or an underlying medical condition.
  • If someone in their household has a weakened immune system, is at increased risk for severe disease, or is unvaccinated.

The Department of Public Health particularly urges this recommendation if:

  • They have a weakened immune system.
  • They have an increased risk for severe disease because of age or underlying medical conditions.
  • Someone in their household has a weakened immune system, an increased risk for severe disease.
  • They are an unvaccinated adult.

Per Massachusetts and federal requirements, face coverings and masks are still required in healthcare facilities.

June 22, 2022 Updates

Change Contact: Cynthia Parenteau

Face Coverings

Boston and Cambridge campuses are now classified as "low" in the CDC's COVID-19 community level.

We have revised our guidance to reiterate that although general use face coverings remain optional in most indoor spaces, we recommend individuals continue consulting the CDC's COVID-19 community levels for the Cambridge and Boston campuses (Middlesex and Suffolk counties respectively) to help make a personal choice on mask usage.

Wearing a well-fitting mask indoors in public, regardless of vaccination status or individual risk, is strongly encouraged in areas classified as "high". The CDC also recommends that if you are immunocompromised or at high risk for severe illness you wear a mask or respirator that provides you with greater protection, even when community risk is classified as "medium".

See Face Coverings for additional details.

Public Health

Cleaning and Disinfection

As surface contamination is now considered to pose little, if any, risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission, schools/units may return to routine, pre-COVID-19 cleaning and disinfection standards in occupied buildings. Enhanced cleaning of non-healthcare facilities and spaces is no longer required.

As a reminder, everyone is advised to continue practicing good personal hygiene by washing their hands in all settings before eating or touching their eyes, nose, or mouth.

Healthcare facilities should continue to clean and disinfect high-touch, shared surfaces after the space is occupied by a COVID-19 positive individual. These surfaces may include items such as door handles, handrails, and tabletops.

Face Coverings

General use face coverings are now optional in most indoor spaces on Harvard University premises. Limited exceptions apply.

We strongly encourage individuals to consult the CDC's COVID-19 community levels for the Cambridge and Boston campuses (Middlesex and Suffolk counties respectively) to help make a personal choice on mask usage.

Wearing a well-fitting mask indoors in public, regardless of vaccination status or individual risk, is strongly encouraged in areas classified as "high". The CDC also recommends that if you are immunocompromised or at high risk for severe illness that you wear a mask or respirator that provides you with greater protection, even when community risk is classified as "medium".

Any persons that begin exhibiting undiagnosed symptoms of COVID-19 must mask and be tested for COVID-19. Persons should continue to mask and limit contact with others while awaiting test results. See Viral Testing for more information on testing.

Harvard University community members are encouraged to have an acceptable face covering on their persons at all times for situations in which they may be required. At this time, we also strongly recommend voluntary masking indoors and in crowded settings outdoors. High-quality disposable masks, worn with no gaps at the edges, can protect both the wearer and those around them from COVID-19.

In situations when face coverings will continue to be required, it is important to continue to comply with face covering use guidelines.

'General use' applies to faculty, staff, students, or visitors who must wear a face covering in accordance with current Harvard University policy for source control on Harvard University's premises.

Face coverings provide source control and protect others from potentially infectious droplets that might be generated by the wearer. This is particularly important because people can spread the SARS-COV-2 virus without showing symptoms.

All persons are 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 the University's face coverings policy may be asked to leave campus or be subject to administrative action.

Requirement to Wear Face Coverings

Face coverings continue to be required in the following settings:

  • In HUHS and other healthcare facilities and other settings hosting vulnerable populations.
  • Individuals who are completing isolation or quarantine should continue to wear masks when indoors for the full 10 days following their positive test or close contact, according to existing University protocols.

Please note that schools and Central Administration Units may continue to require masking in certain settings, depending on their population, rates of infection, and other public health data.

In settings where face coverings continue to be required, individuals may remove their face covering while actively eating and drinking, unless otherwise prohibited within the space.

In certain settings, such as medical clinics and laboratories, additional PPE (e.g., N95 respirators) may be needed instead of general use face coverings.

Harvard University does not have a separate or differing mask policy for unvaccinated individuals. Harvard community and non-Harvard community members who are unvaccinated should be instructed to talk to their healthcare provider about whether they should wear a mask or respirator when indoors.

To protect the privacy of our community and visitors, vaccination status is often unknown and the decision to wear a mask in settings where it is not required is a personal one. The decision to mask should be informed by the prevalence of cases in the community, your vaccination status, and your age/medical history.

We strongly encourage indoor masking for persons with greater health risks or concerns. Masks continue to be highly effective in reducing risk of transmission regardless of vaccination status.

Isolation

In the event that a member of the Harvard community tests positive for COVID-19 (through Harvard’s viral testing protocol), the individual is contacted by HUHS to discuss isolation and next steps.

Harvard community members who test positive for COVID-19 via an outside medical provider and are required to isolate and should report their diagnosis to HUHS through Crimson Clear.

HUHS provides additional instructions for those under isolation, covering health topics and day-to-day logistics.

Harvard University COVID-19 Information: Quarantine and Isolation provides instructions and protocols for isolation following a positive COVID-19 test.

Isolation

  • Isolation is for a minimum duration of five days, provided that the individual has no symptoms or their symptoms are resolving after five days.

    Individuals must wear a mask around others for an additional five days after leaving isolation.

  • Individuals who have been released from isolation after day five may attend in-person class or work, but must not participate in any unmasked, in-person activities including eating with other people (unless six feet apart).
  • COVID-19 positive individuals with a fever must continue to stay home until the fever resolves.
  • In residential housing, grab-n-go meals are to be picked up from designated pick-up locations or delivered as directed by their school or unit.
  • Exit from isolation space is only for limited and approved exceptions such as restroom use, medical appointments and meal-pick up. Residential students isolating in place must follow strict isolation protocols as instructed.

Personal Hygiene

E.g., Hand washing, coughing/sneezing

Harvard University COVID-19 Information: Health and Wellbeing covers some requirements and resources pertaining to personal hygiene.

If you are wearing a face covering and cannot safely remove it to cough or sneeze using tissues, you should cough or sneeze into your elbow while wearing your mask. Be sure to turn away from other people and remain distanced to the extent possible.

Physical/Social Distancing

Physical distancing is the space that should be maintained between individual persons.

Physical distancing is no longer required when indoors or outdoors.

To the extent feasible, unvaccinated individuals and people at higher risk for severe illness may choose to continue distancing themselves from others in addition to other precautions recommended by their healthcare provider.

Quarantine

E.g., After contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19.

Harvard University COVID-19 Information: Quarantine and Isolation outlines quarantine requirements for individuals returning to campus and moving into on campus dorms or house residences and provides instructions for close contact quarantine.

HUHS provides additional instructions for those under quarantine, covering health topics and day-to-day logistics.

If you are identified as a close contact of a person who tests positive for COVID-19 you are expected to follow guidance as provided by HUHS, non-Harvard contact tracer, or your healthcare provider, including answering any follow-up calls.

When Harvard is managing quarantine for its community members, we generally provide guidance based on vaccination status (including boosters) and the presence of COVID-19 related symptoms. To see if you qualify as up to date on your COVID-19 vaccines, see Public Health: Vaccination.

Those who are considered up to date on their COVID-19 vaccinations per CDC guidelines:

  • Can report their exposure to HUHS via Crimson Clear for resources on determining risk and next steps for quarantine Follow guidance as provided by HUHS, or their healthcare provider.
  • Take a viral COVID-19 test on day one and day five after their exposure. Seek local testing options if not enrolled in Harvard's testing program.
  • May attend in-person class or work, but must not participate in any unmasked, in-person activities, including eating with other people (unless six feet apart).
  • Must wear a mask around others for 10 days in any shared or common space.
  • There is additional return-to-work testing for individuals who are Harvard healthcare and childcare workers. Information for these groups can be found through Harvard University COVID-19 Information: Testing and Tracing.

Those who are not up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines per CDC guidelines and/or have any symptoms following close contact with a COVID-19 positive individual:

  • Can report their exposure to HUHS via Crimson Clear for resources on determining risk and next steps for quarantining. Follow guidance as provided by HUHS, non-Harvard contact tracer, or their healthcare provider.
  • Take a viral COVID-19 test on day one and day five. Seek local testing options if not enrolled in Harvard's testing program.
  • Must quarantine for five full days. This includes not attending in-person class and work, traveling, socializing, or eating with others.
  • If enrolled in Harvard's testing program, may pick up and submit tests on campus (fully masked) and get food (grab and go only, while fully masked).
  • Should monitor how their body feels over the next 14 days. Be aware of any COVID-19 symptoms and report them via Crimson Clear. Then, take an extra test and stay home.

Follow quarantine instructions, stay home, and avoid physical interaction with other people.

When counting the days of quarantine, the day of exposure is considered day zero. Quarantine ends after completion of the required number of calendar days, so a person with a five-day quarantine would return to usual activities on day six.

Anyone with symptoms needs to be evaluated and tested for COVID-19.

Return to Work and Other Activities After Quarantine or Isolation

Harvard University community members are still expected to report positive COVID-19 diagnosis, to HUHS via Crimson Clear.

Per HUHS, persons must fulfill the requirements of quarantine or isolation set by HUHS or health professionals before returning to work or to other activities. A negative COVID-19 test is not required to return to work, except in limited circumstances for Harvard’s healthcare and childcare workers.

Transmission

The risk of acquiring SARS-CoV-2 infection is greatest for persons who are unvaccinated and who are in prolonged close proximity to infectious (virus-shedding) persons. Viral transmission is enhanced when infectious persons are unmasked and are exhaling forcefully (as would occur while exercising, singing or shouting).

The use of face coverings, particularly by unvaccinated persons when in close proximity, can dramatically reduce the risk of viral transmission.

While outdoors viral-laden aerosols and other droplets are more readily diluted, dispersed, and diminished (although the risk is not zero). Be mindful that vaccinated persons may still become infected and transmit SARS-CoV-2 to others. Mask use, both indoors and outdoors, offers protection to other unvaccinated persons in their immediate vicinity.

Vaccination

Harvard University requires COVID-19 vaccination for all Harvard University community members and boosters for all eligible community members, including:

  • Students
  • Faculty
  • Staff
  • Researchers
  • Embedded vendors (service contractors who support Harvard University on a routine basis, have an HUID, and assign one or more of their staff members to campus for an extended period of time).

Exceptions may be provided for medical or religious reasons. Note that unvaccinated individuals may be subject to additional public health measures (e.g., more frequent testing). Unvaccinated persons should ensure they take steps to plan and protect themselves while on campus, including face coverings, distancing (when possible), and avoiding locations/activities where there are unmasked people.

Visitors

Although the University's vaccination policy only applies to Harvard community members, in limited settings some schools and units may have more restrictive policies that require proof or attestation of vaccination to non-Harvard community members.

Non-Harvard community members, including non-embedded vendors, visiting scholars, speakers, students/faculty from other academic institutions, families and guests of Harvard students, alumni, and human subjects participating in research should be notified that Harvard has a vaccination and booster requirement.

Prior to arriving on campus, non-Harvard community members should check with the local school or unit they are visiting to verify specific vaccination policies that may be in place.

To be considered up to date on COVID-19 vaccinations you must:

  • Have completed primary series of an FDA- or WHO-authorized COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Have received a COVID-19 booster dose if it has been at least five months since getting the second Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine or if it has been at least two months after receiving the Johnson and Johnson/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine.

Harvard University community members are expected to have received and verified their COVID-19 booster with HUHS by January 31, 2022. Individuals who are not yet eligible to receive a booster dose by this date must receive and verify their booster dose with HUHS within 30 days after becoming eligible.

If you are already up to date on your COVID-19 vaccinations:

  • Keep your vaccination card safe and make a copy for your files.
  • If you have been vaccinated outside of HUHS, please follow guidance to securely verify your vaccination with HUHS.
  • Viral testing is still required for anyone with symptoms or known exposure to COVID-19. Regular surveillance testing will continue to be available on an optional basis.
  • Continue to practice healthy habits (e.g., face covering use, physical distancing, etc.) in accordance with Harvard University protocols.

Schools/units may voluntarily choose to extend the University's vaccination requirement to non-Harvard community members as described previously and including members of the general public provided the following conditions are met:

  • Schools/units must not keep record of vaccination cards, proof of vaccination, or COVID-19 test results.

    For members of the Harvard community, HUHS securely maintains COVID-19 vaccination records and exemption claims submitted to them.

  • If schools/units require vaccination they must determine how they will handle vaccination exemption requests, as HUHS cannot review and process these exemption forms for non-Harvard community members.

    Schools/units may choose to require those not vaccinated to attest or display proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test (within the past calendar day prior to campus activity).

  • Schools/units may alternatively require attestation of vaccination or vaccination exemption, rather than proof. Various attestation strategies can be used (e.g., signage at entries, inclusion in registration process or forms, and sign-in sheets).

    The following language should be used when requiring attestation:

    "I attest that I satisfy one of the following requirements:

    • I am fully vaccinated against COVID-19 using a vaccine authorized by the FDA or WHO and have received my booster (if eligible), or
    • I qualify for exemption based upon age, a medical contraindication, or firmly held religious belief.

    I also agree to immediately share with Harvard University Health Services any proof of my vaccination status if I am identified as an exposed person through public health contact tracing efforts."

  • For non-Harvard community members, schools and units may choose to require proof or attestation of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result (within the past calendar day).
  • Schools/units that wish to require attestations from their vendors should get in touch with their vendor relationship manager and provide the form of written attestation (following the previous language) that they would like vendor workers to sign or otherwise confirm before coming to campus.
  • Schools/units may choose to require those not vaccinated to attest or display proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test (within past calendar day prior to campus activity).
  • To speed up the process of reviewing proof of vaccination, schools and units may wish to encourage the use of digital vaccine cards (available at My Vax Records for people who received their vaccine in Massachusetts).

    Please note that we do not recommend the use of any other apps for reviewing proof of vaccination beyond the one previously mentioned.

  • All current and applicable University COVID-19 policies and protocols must be followed regardless of visitor and program participant vaccination status.

    Harvard community members are required to report their vaccination status to HUHS, and therefore should not be expected to further disclose vaccination status to individual schools or units. If an approved activity such as voluntary unmasking for performances or teaching specifically requires vaccination as one of the controls, schools or units choosing to verify such must not keep records or proof of vaccination.

Ventilation

The CDC recommends several methods that can improve indoor air quality and potentially further reduce exposure to viral particles that can be used in every room type. This section provides information about best management practices for all rooms and spaces and additional controls for rooms where the characteristics of the mechanical ventilation are known, not known, and where mechanical ventilation and operable windows do not exist.

Spaces with Mechanical Ventilation and with Known Characteristics

  • Maintain the building’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system to ensure proper operation.

    Consider enhancing the filter rating efficiency of the system, increasing both the portion of fresh air introduced and total airflow, where feasible. Refer to the ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers) 62.1 standard for recommended ventilation parameters.

  • Turn off any demand-controlled ventilation (DCV) controls that reduce air supply based on occupancy or temperature during occupied hours.
  • In homes and buildings where the HVAC fan operation can be controlled at the thermostat, set the fan to the “on” position instead of “auto,” which will operate the fan continuously, even when heating or air-conditioning is not required.

Spaces with Mechanical Ventilation and with Unknown Characteristics

Use the controls noted in Spaces with Mechanical Ventilation with Known Characteristics, as well as:

  • Consider opening any screened windows when possible, even if only slightly, to increase the amount of fresh air supplied to the room. Check with your building manager first to ensure that this does not interfere with the existing system that supplies fresh air to rooms, as it may have already been adjusted to increase total airflow to occupied spaces.
  • One helpful strategy to increase fresh air is to use a window fan, placed safely and securely in a window, to exhaust room air to the outdoors.

Spaces with No Mechanical Ventilation and No Operable Windows

If no mechanical ventilation or operable windows exist implement all controls from Rooms with Available Mechanical Ventilation Information and Spaces with Operational Mechanical Ventilation with Unknown Characteristics, as well as:

  • Consider installing portable high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) fan/filtration systems, unless able to increase filter rating efficiency as previously described.

    When positioning these units, avoid directing air past one person towards another person and, when possible, place the air intake between multiple people. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for unit positioning.

  • When possible, leave interior doors to these spaces open between successive occupants.

Please note that some schools or departments may require more restrictive control measures.

For additional important information see Building/Facilities Operations, Systems, & Management: Frequently Asked Questions, which addresses multiple, specific room and space use topics.

Viral Testing

Harvard University will soon no longer require regular, surveillance testing. Testing will continue to be available on an optional basis.

See Harvard University COVID-19 Information: Testing & Tracing for information on this transition.

Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms or known exposure to COVID-19 should test. Harvard community members may use a Color test or rapid antigen COVID-19 test.

Rapid antigen COVID-19 tests detect current infection and are sometimes also called "home tests," "at-home tests," or "over-the-counter (OTC) tests." Always read the complete manufacturer's instructions for use before using the test. If the test result is positive, the test detected the virus and you have an infection. Follow isolation instructions. Harvard community members must report positive status through Crimson Clear. A negative self-test result means that the test did not detect the virus and you may not have a COVID-19 infection, but it does not guarantee you do not have COVID-19. If you have symptoms and your first rapid test was negative, you should repeat the test within a few days, with at least 24 hours between tests, or obtain a molecular or PCR test.

If you are attending multiple events on campus, especially while unmasked, periodic testing throughout the week can help to detect and prevent the spread of COVID-19. It is strongly recommended to test immediately before the gathering, or as close to the time of the event as possible. This is especially important before gathering with individuals at risk of severe disease, older adults, those who are immunocompromised, or people who are not up to date on their COVID-19 vaccines, including children who cannot get vaccinated yet.

Be prepared by securing a supply of rapid antigen tests in advance. For more information on securing tests prior to arriving on campus, please see the Department of Health and Human Services free at-home COVID-19 tests or Harvard University COVID-19 Information: Testing & Tracing.

HUHS: Frequently Asked Questions provides information about viral testing for the FAS community, including how to get tested, how often to get tested, and where to get tested.

Harvard University COVID-19 Information: Testing & Tracing includes answers to the following questions:

Viral test kits must only be returned to designated drop boxes by the individual who was tested. They should not be passed onto others or collected separately for group drop-offs.

Upon return from travel, members of the Harvard community are required to follow the Harvard University post-travel COVID-19 testing and quarantine policy.

Visitors

The University no longer requires viral testing for visitors, non-embedded vendors, unpaid program participants (including minors), and other non-Harvard community members, regardless of their length of stay or presence on campus.

In limited settings, some schools and units may have more restrictive policies that require proof or attestation of a recent negative COVID-19 test.

Prior to arriving on campus, non-Harvard community members should check with the local school or unit they are visiting to verify specific viral testing policies that may be in place.

Unvaccinated individuals are strongly encouraged to test on their own and ensure they are negative for COVID-19 within one calendar day prior to on-campus activity.

If schools/units require proof of a negative test, they must communicate the acceptable form(s) of documentation and how they will handle individuals who have recently tested positive or may otherwise not be able to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test.

Schools/units may alternatively require attestation of a negative test, rather than proof. Various attestation strategies can be used (e.g., signage at entries, inclusion in registration process or forms, and sign-in sheets).

The following language should be used when requiring attestation:

"I attest that I satisfy one of the following requirements:

  • I have tested negative for COVID 19 within the one calendar day of planned on-campus activity, or
  • I qualify for an exemption based upon a COVID-19 diagnosis within 90 days of planned on-campus activity."
Change Log
Descriptions of major changes to this information based on updates from the CDC, Massachusetts, local requirements (Boston and Cambridge), Harvard University guidance, and the Massachusetts Higher Education Control Plan.

June 22, 2022

Change Contact: Cynthia Parenteau

Face Coverings

Boston and Cambridge campuses are now classified as "low" in the CDC's COVID-19 community level.

We have revised our guidance to reiterate that although general use face coverings remain optional in most indoor spaces, we recommend individuals continue consulting the CDC's COVID-19 community levels for the Cambridge and Boston campuses (Middlesex and Suffolk counties respectively) to help make a personal choice on mask usage.

Wearing a well-fitting mask indoors in public, regardless of vaccination status or individual risk, is strongly encouraged in areas classified as "high". The CDC also recommends that if you are immunocompromised or at high risk for severe illness you wear a mask or respirator that provides you with greater protection, even when community risk is classified as "medium".

See Face Coverings for additional details.

May 19, 2022

Change Contact: Cynthia Parenteau

Face Coverings

Although the University policy on face coverings remains unchanged, Face Coverings was updated to provide recommendations on face coverings consistent with CDC guidance for areas classified as "High" in the CDC's COVID-19 community level designation.

As our Boston and Cambridge campuses are now classified as "High" in the CDC's COVID-19 community level, we strongly encourage wearing a well-fitting mask indoors in public, regardless of vaccination status or individual risk. The CDC also recommends that if you are immunocompromised or at high risk for severe illness you wear a mask or respirator that provides you with greater protection.

Any persons that begin exhibiting undiagnosed symptoms of COVID-19 must mask and be tested for COVID-19. Persons should continue to mask and limit contact with others while awaiting test results. See Viral Testing for more information on testing.

Harvard University community members are encouraged to have an acceptable face covering on their persons at all times for situations in which they may be required. At this time, we also strongly recommend voluntary masking indoors and in crowded settings outdoors. High-quality disposable masks, worn with no gaps at the edges, can protect both the wearer and those around them from COVID-19.

Viral Testing

Viral Testing was updated to reiterate that anyone with COVID-19 symptoms or known exposure to COVID-19 should test. Harvard community members may use a Color test or rapid antigen COVID-19 test. Additional information on obtaining tests, recommendations on when to test, and instructions for interpreting rapid antigen test results are included in the update.

Rapid antigen COVID-19 tests detect current infection and are sometimes also called "home tests," "at-home tests," or "over-the-counter (OTC) tests." Always read the complete manufacturer's instructions for use before using the test. If the test result is positive, the test detected the virus and you have an infection. Follow isolation instructions. Harvard community members must report positive status through Crimson Clear. A negative self-test result means that the test did not detect the virus and you may not have a COVID-19 infection, but it does not guarantee you do not have COVID-19. If you have symptoms and your first rapid test was negative, you should repeat the test within a few days, with at least 24 hours between tests, or obtain a molecular or PCR test.

If you are attending multiple events on campus, especially while unmasked, periodic testing throughout the week can help to detect and prevent the spread of COVID-19. It is strongly recommended to test immediately before the gathering, or as close to the time of the event as possible. This is especially important before gathering with individuals at risk of severe disease, older adults, those who are immunocompromised, or people who are not up to date on their COVID-19 vaccines, including children who cannot get vaccinated yet.

Be prepared by securing a supply of rapid antigen tests in advance. For more information on securing tests prior to arriving on campus, please see the Department of Health and Human Services free at-home COVID-19 tests or Harvard University COVID-19 Information: Testing & Tracing.

May 2, 2022

Change Contact: Cynthia Parenteau

Cleaning and Disinfection

Enhanced cleaning of non-healthcare facilities and spaces is no longer required. The CDC reiterates the low risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission via surface contamination. Harvard community members should, nonetheless, wash their hands before preparing food, eating, drinking, or touching their face, and after using the bathroom.

Certain limited settings, including healthcare facilities, continue to require enhanced cleaning and disinfection in between uses or visits from persons who are positive for COVID-19.

Quarantine

References to required viral testing cadences were removed.

Vaccination

Vaccination was updated to reiterate that viral testing is still required for anyone with symptoms or known exposure to COVID-19. Regular surveillance testing will continue to be available on an optional basis.

Viral Testing

Viral Testing was updated to reflect the University's shift to no longer requiring regular, surveillance testing. Testing will continue to be available on an optional basis. Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms or known exposure to COVID-19 should test.

See Harvard University COVID-19 Information: Testing & Tracing for information on this transition.

April 20, 2022

Change Contact: Marykate Franks

Federal Guidance

Federal guidance was updated to reflect current guidance concerning face covering usage on public and private transit.

Massachusetts and Local Requirements

Massachusetts and local requirements were updated to reflect current guidance concerning face covering usage on public and private transit.

Face Coverings

Consistent with current federal and local guidelines, face coverings was updated to remove the mask requirement for public and private transportation, including University shuttles and buses. Face coverings are still recommended in these settings, but are not required.

April 8, 2022

Change Contact: Cynthia Parenteau

Public Health

Face Coverings

Consistent with current local and guidelines, Face Coverings has updated to remove the mask requirement for indoor events and gatherings exceeding 250 people. Some public-facing institutions continue to require masking. These policies are being reevaluated regularly and current policies should be confirmed before visiting.

Schools and Central Administration units may continue to require masking in certain settings, depending on their population, rates of infection, and other public health data. Other limited exceptions still apply (i.e., healthcare facilities, public transit), and in such cases individuals must continue to comply with face covering general use guidelines.

March 14, 2022

Change Contact: Cynthia Parenteau

Activity & Workplace Planning

Provided an updated overview of campus COVID-19 guidance:

Campus COVID-19 guidance continues to be adjusted and many of the restrictions put in place over the past two years have been lifted. Most notably, as of March 14, 2022 the Activity Specific section of this guidance has been rescinded and schools and units shall focus on core public health principles when developing local policies and planning activities and events.

University-wide guidance may be supplemented by school or Central Administration unit policies.

As always, the situation will be closely monitored and this guidance will be updated when changes in public health conditions warrant.

Federal Guidance

This section has been updated to reflect current federal guidance.

Massachusetts and Local Requirements

This section has been updated to reflect current guidance including updates to the state face covering advisory.

Activity-Specific:

The Activity Specific sections of this guidance has been rescinded and schools and units shall focus on core public health principles when developing local policies and planning activities and events.

For example, a school planning event shall look to the Public Health vaccination, viral testing, and face covering guidance to ensure that any applicable requirements are followed.

Public Health:

Face Coverings

This section has been significantly updated to incorporate the shift to optional masking in most indoor settings on campus. Limited exceptions do apply and in such cases individuals must continue to comply with the face covering use guidelines.

See Face Coverings for additional details.

Isolation

This section has been revised to specify that only Harvard community members are required to report positive COVID-19 diagnosis to HUHS.

Visitors, non-embedded vendors, and other non-Harvard community members are no longer required to report positive diagnosis, but should identify and notify potential close-contacts as soon as possible and follow CDC, MADPH, and healthcare provider instructions for isolation.

Physical/Social Distancing

This section has been revised to specify that physical distancing is no longer required indoors or outdoors.

Added the following reminder:

To the extent feasible, unvaccinated individuals and people at higher risk for severe illness may choose to continue distancing themselves from others in addition to other precautions recommended by their healthcare provider.

Vaccination

This section has been updated to include more specific vaccination guidance for visitors to campus.

Although the University's vaccination policy only applies to Harvard community members, some schools and units may have more restrictive policies that require proof or attestation of vaccination.

Prior to arriving on campus, non-Harvard community members should check with the local school or unit they are visiting to verify specific vaccination policies that may be in place.

Viral Testing

This section has been updated to include more specific viral testing guidance for visitors to campus.

Although the University's viral testing policy only applies to Harvard community members, some schools and units may have more restrictive policies that require proof or attestation of a negative COVID test prior to on-campus activity.

Prior to arriving on campus, non-Harvard community members should check with the local school or unit they are visiting to verify specific viral testing policies that may be in place.

March 7, 2022

Change Contact: Cynthia Parenteau

Activity & Workplace Planning:

Provided an updated overview of campus COVID-19 guidance and the timeline for adjusting protocols, including the relaxation or removal of several requirements and particularly involving the use of face masks.

Public Health:

Face Coverings

Added additional guidance for the relaxation of mask requirements that may be implemented as early as March 7, 2022 under specific school policies for locations in the City of Boston.

March 3, 2022

Change Contact: Cynthia Parenteau

Activity-Specific:

Classroom, Instruction, Lecture, and Designated Study Spaces

Reinstated guidance to allow exemptions for unmasking during instruction when authorized by local school or unit and all controls listed within Classroom, Instruction, Lecture, and Designated Study Spaces are met.

Clarified that PCR testing is not required for unmasked instruction when Color testing has been paused by HUHS due to a recent positive diagnosis.

Events and Gatherings: Indoors

Removed temporary restrictions put in place during COVID-19 surge:

  • Events attendees may include members of the general public.
  • Event attendees are no longer required to remain stationary while actively eating and drinking.

Fitness: Recreational Facilities and Health Clubs

Removed temporary distancing requirement put in place during COVID-19 surge for swimmers on the pool deck and within the pool when all other existing controls are followed.

February 11, 2022

Change Contact: Cynthia Parenteau

Activity-Specific:

Building and Operations Open to the General Public

Added guidance to indicate that concessions and other licensed food establishments within buildings open to the general public must follow all requirements within Activity-Specific: Eating and Drinking.

Eating and Drinking

Added guidance:

Athletic and performance venues that are open to the general public may allow eating and drinking within general seating area. Attendees should be advised to reach out to the venue directly with questions regarding distanced dining options.

Events and Gatherings: Indoors

Reinstated maximum occupancy for non-sponsored indoor gatherings in private living spaces (dorm rooms) or suites within Harvard residence halls and dormitories to 25 persons, including residents. As a reminder, local policies may further restrict certain non-sponsored events and gatherings to Harvard community members only. This does not apply to common rooms within residence halls such as study spaces, lounges and meeting rooms.

Larger gatherings must be University-sponsored and supervised.
Removed language requiring hosts of gatherings within private rooms or residence halls to keep attendance for the purposes of contact tracing. All Harvard community members are expected to identify and notify their close contacts as soon as possible.

Updated guidance to allow non-Harvard community members at indoor events with a food and beverage component if the event is not open to the general public and attendees are either Harvard community members in our viral testing program or are considered official visitors and adhere to all requirements listed within Activity-Specific: Visitors.

Events and Gatherings: 2022 Winter Term

Events and Gatherings: 2022 Winter Term has been removed.

Performances and Rehearsals

Reinstated guidance to allow exemptions for unmasking during performances when authorized by local school or unit and all controls listed within Activity-Specific: Performances and Rehearsals are met.

Visitors

Added visitors to a private event to the official visitors who will have short-term or limited access on campus definition.

Public Health:

Face Coverings

When authorized by local school or unit and all controls listed are met, additional exception for unmasking was added for performing and instructional art settings.

February 3, 2022

Change Contact: Cynthia Parenteau

February 3, 2022 Update

As COVID-19 cases in the community decline, some temporary restrictions put in place in response to the Omicron variant have been lifted. The situation will continue to be closely monitored over the next few weeks and guidance adjusted or reinstated as appropriate.

Schools and units continue to have discretion for guidance that remains a recommendation, however, unless there is a strong and compelling reason, policies should be temporarily revised to reflect all recent updates, and changes communicated to their local communities.

Activity-Specific:

Eating and Drinking

Amended guidance to allow areas designated for eating and drinking to reopen to full capacity:

Schools and units may consider reopening in-person dining spaces that have been temporarily closed or converted to all grab-n-go. Regardless, to the extent feasible schools and units should continue offering grab-and-go food service as an option and ensure designated space is available for physically distanced dining (see the following for more details).

Diners must be reminded to remain masked except while actively eating and drinking and should be encouraged to limit their time in the dining area to enable access for others.

Events and Gatherings: Indoors

Revised guidance to allow a food and beverage component at indoor events if all of the following requirements are met:

  • Attendees are all Harvard community members in our viral testing program.
  • Space is provided for physically distanced dining.
  • Attendees remain stationary while unmasked.
  • All other existing guidance within this section and eating and drinking section is followed.

Vendors

Updated guidance around vaccinations to include booster requirement (if eligible) for embedded vendors.

Visitors

Rescinded strong recommendation to exclude or limit visitors to campus:

Schools and units may resume allowing visitors on campus provided all of the requirements within this section are strictly followed.

Strongly consider requiring that all short-term visitors (defined in “Official visitors who will have short-term or limited access on campus”) attest to or demonstrate proof of vaccination or recent negative COVID-19 test if accessing non-public spaces on campus.

Public Health:

Vaccination

Updated vaccination attestation language to include booster requirement for those eligible.

January 25, 2022

Change Contact: Cynthia Parenteau

The Public Health: Quarantine and Public Health: Return to Work and Other Activities after Quarantine or Isolation sections have been updated to align with University protocol for using Crimson Clear and add clarifying recommendations for healthcare and childcare workers.

January 21, 2022

Change Contact: Cynthia Parenteau

Public Health:

Quarantine

This section has been updated to clarify expectations based on whether an individual is up to date on their vaccines (including boosters). Additional details for vaccination and booster requirements are provided in the vaccination section of this guidance.

Vaccination

This section has been updated to reflect the change in booster eligibility.

To be considered up to date on COVID-19 vaccinations you must:

  • Have completed primary series of an FDA- or WHO-authorized COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Have received a COVID-19 booster dose if it has been at least five months since getting the second Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine or if it has been at least two months after receiving the Johnson and Johnson/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine.

For non-Harvard community members, schools and units may choose to require proof or attestation of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result (within the past calendar day). This guidance has been updated to now allow either PCR or rapid antigen COVID-19 tests. Guidance has also been shortened to require testing within one calendar day instead of 72 hours to better evaluate and detect a current infection prior to on-campus activity.

Additionally, added the following guidance regarding vaccination verification:

To speed up the process of reviewing proof of vaccination, schools and units may wish to encourage the use of digital vaccine cards (available at My Vax Records for people who received their vaccine in Massachusetts). Please note that we do not recommend the use of any other apps beyond the one mentioned above for reviewing proof of vaccination.

January 12, 2022

Change Contact: Cynthia Parenteau

Added an expanded introduction to address critical updates as we welcome students back in January 2022 and begin the spring semester.

January 12th, 2022 Update

In response to the recent surge of COVID-19 cases in our community and updates to federal, state, and local requirements, significant updates have been made to our policies and guidance for on-campus activities. These updates to the Harvard University On-Campus Activity Guidance supersede less stringent policies and recommendations until further notice. The situation will continue to be closely monitored over the next few weeks and guidance adjusted or reinstated as appropriate.

Schools and units continue to have discretion for guidance that remains a recommendation, however, unless there is a strong and compelling reason, policies should be temporarily revised to reflect all of these updates, and changes communicated to their local communities.

Federal Guidance

This section has been updated to reflect current federal guidance and CDC links.

Massachusetts and Local Requirements

This section has been updated to reflect current state and local requirements including the state mask advisory and local orders for face coverings in Boston and Cambridge.

Activity-Specific:

Classroom, Instruction, Lecture, and Designated Study Spaces

Allowance for schools and units to approve exceptions to masking policy in classrooms has been temporarily rescinded.

Instructors and professors must continue to wear face coverings in classrooms and other academic settings.

Eating and Drinking

Consistent with the last guidance update on December 18th, 2021, to the extent feasible schools and units should pivot to grab-and-go food service, separate seats by six feet in designated dining areas, and/or increase the number of seats or options for physically distanced dining. Self-service models (e.g., salad bars and hot food stations) in which all guests remain masked continue to be permitted.

Persons who have been released from isolation or quarantine prior to day 10 must remain physically distanced from others when unmasking for eating and drinking.

Events and Gatherings: 2022 Winter Term

Until further notice all food and beverages offered at indoor events and gatherings must be limited to take-out or grab-n-go.

All food and beverages from an event must be consumed within a private residence or within a designated eating and drinking space. See Activity-Specific: Eating and Drinking for more information.

Events and Gatherings: Indoors

Until further notice all food and beverages offered at indoor events and gatherings must be limited to take-out or grab-n-go.

All food and beverages from an event must be consumed within a private residence or within a designated eating and drinking space. See Activity-Specific: Eating and Drinking for more information.

Fitness: Recreational Facilities and Health Clubs

Revised guidance for swimmers to indicate they must maintain distance from other unmasked persons while on the pool deck and to the extent possible while within the pool.

Performances and Rehearsals

Allowance for Harvard performers to unmask during performances has been temporarily rescinded. All performers must wear face coverings in indoor performances and rehearsals.

Travel

This section has been updated to reflect current guidance on the Keep Harvard Healthy website.

Visitors

In response to the surge in COVID-19 cases globally and nationally, schools and units should strongly consider limiting or excluding non-essential visitors to residential spaces and non-public buildings and spaces on campus.

Consider school and unit policies that limit visitors to those with an academic-related purpose. This will be re-evaluated in the coming weeks.

Official visitors must be notified that Harvard has a vaccination and booster requirement and that they should plan to be up to date on all COVID-19 vaccinations before coming to campus.

Public Health:

Cleaning and Disinfection

Added additional guidance on cleaning shared restrooms in residential halls where community members are isolating in place: cleaning and disinfection performed by custodial staff is not necessary in private residences and within suites where all roommates are isolating in place together.

Face Coverings

Face covering section was updated to reiterate the importance of selecting and properly wearing a well-fitted mask in accordance with CDC guidance and Harvard’s indoor mask mandate.

An appropriate, tight-fitting, and multi-layered face covering provides source control that protects people around you and has been very effective in preventing transmission in combination with other control measures at Harvard University (see Use Guidelines for more information). We encourage the use of high-quality disposable masks, worn in a way that minimizes air gaps around the edges. Surgical-style masks or a cup style protective mask such as KN-95 or KF-94, layered under a form fitting fabric mask, can ensure an effective seal and good source control.

Isolation

This section has been updated to reflect new HUHS isolation instructions and expectations for community members.

Quarantine

This section has been updated to reflect new HUHS quarantine instructions and expectations for community members.

Vaccination

Added guidance on booster requirements and instructions to report. Harvard University community members are expected to receive and verify their COVID-19 booster with HUHS by January 31, 2022. Individuals who are not yet eligible to receive a booster dose by this date must receive and verify their booster dose with HUHS within 30 days after becoming eligible.

December 18, 2021

Change Contact: Cynthia Parenteau

Added an expanded introduction to address critical updates leading into the extended winter break and January return.

December 18th, 2021 Update

Parallel to Harvard University’s December 18th, 2021 community-wide message responding to the Omicron variant and recent surge of COVID-19 cases in our community, the following updates to the Harvard University On Campus Activity Guidance supersede less stringent policies and recommendations until further notice. Unless there is a strong and compelling reason, schools and units should consider revising policies and communicating these changes to their local communities.

  • Unless members of the same household, Harvard community members are strongly encouraged to resume physical distancing when unmasking indoors for activities such as eating and drinking.
  • Eating and drinking areas: To the extent feasible, separate seats by six feet in designated dining areas, increase the number of seats or options for physically distanced dining, and/or pivot to grab-and-go food service.
  • Events, gatherings, and celebrations that involve unmasking indoors are not advised by HUHS and EHS at this time, and at least through January of 2022. Consider cancelling, postponing, or switching to virtual options for all in-person gatherings, regardless of whether the event includes food and beverages.
  • Encourage physical distancing whenever possible, regardless of vaccination status.
  • Limit or exclude non-essential visitors to residential spaces and non-public buildings and spaces on campus.

November 23, 2021

Change Contact: Cynthia Parenteau

Activity-Specific Updates:

Events and Activities: Off Campus:

The following section was added to reiterate the importance of advanced planning and communication about procedures and expectations for participants who test positive during University-sponsored, off-campus travel or events:

Schools/units and program coordinators planning off campus events of any duration, must plan and communicate the procedure in place and expectations for participants that become symptomatic or test positive during their off-campus travel or event. This should include information such as where the participants will complete their isolation, how services including food will be handled, travel plans, and cost considerations.

Events and Gatherings: 2021 Holiday & Year-End:

Added new guidance for 2021 holiday and year-end events and gatherings.

This guidance is intended to supplement existing guidance and provide more context for planning in-person events.

Although in-person events that allow eating and drinking are not prohibited, schools and units should carefully consider their local conditions or unique risk factors when planning. Multiple strategies and safety controls can be implemented to reduce risk factors.

Events and Gatherings: 2021 Holiday & Year-End:

As winter break approaches and schools, units, and departments plan holiday and year-end events and gatherings, the following should be considered:

  • All minimum requirements for on-campus activity must be followed.

    Schools and units may institute more restrictive requirements to address their local needs or unique risk factors.

  • Indoor, off-campus/non-sponsored social gatherings that include unmasked activities continue to be identified as a common source of exposure and positive case clusters.

    See Events and Gatherings: Indoors for more information about non-sponsored events.

  • During periods of high viral transmission, increasing positive cases or clusters, and/or specific recommendations from HUHS, local policies for events may need to be adjusted.
  • Plan events that do not include eating or drinking or offer to-go options at the conclusion of the event.
  • Minimize unmasking activity by:

    • Limiting time for eating and drinking.
    • Assigning seats to limit close contacts while unmasked for eating and drinking.
    • Encouraging guests to have completed Color tests within 72-hours of the event (this may require an additional test beyond their normal testing cadence).
    • Reminding guests to only remove masks when actively eating and drinking and while stationary to avoid unmasked mingling among guests.
    • Providing physically distanced seating options for guests that need or choose to remain distanced while unmasking for eating and drinking.
    • Reducing the number of attendees by breaking event into smaller subsets of the school/unit or department.

November 19, 2021

Change Contact: Cynthia Parenteau

Federal Guidance:

Added:

Harvard University’s On-Campus Activity Guidance is intended to comply with the Executive Order on Ensuring Adequate COVID Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors.

Activity-Specific Updates:

Performances and Rehearsals:

Expanded definitions to include performer(s) and recording crews, poetry, and other forms of entertainment as activities/settings in which the guidance applies.

Clarified that the increased viral testing requirement (at least twice weekly for performers who will unmask) applies when those performers are on campus and must always be within at least 72 hours of unmasking for a performance.

Visitors:

Added a new definition and requirements for official visitors that are minors.

For the purposes of this guidance minors are defined as anyone under the age of 18 who is not an enrolled Harvard student. New requirements/allowances/reminders for programs and activities involving minors:

  • Minors are exempt from the University’s viral testing program, even if their visit exceeds seven days (within a six-week time period), if their program is not an overnight program, requires masks at all times while indoors, and physical distancing can be maintained for essential unmasking activities such as eating and drinking.
  • Minors that are on campus for more than seven days (within a six-week time period) and are exempt from the University’s viral testing program, may be required to follow additional public health measures, as determined by HUHS and EHS. Programs and activities that fall under this category should reach out to HUHS/EHS in advance and as the program date approaches to discuss additional public health measures.
  • All programs that involve having minors on campus more than seven days (within a six-week time period) must also include a process to verify that all participants are vaccinated. See Public Health: Vaccination for additional details.
  • All programs involving minors must also be registered with the Harvard Youth Protection Office.

Updated the threshold for requiring enrollment into the University testing program from seven cumulative days throughout the year, to more than seven days (within a six-week time period) for all visitors. This eliminates the need to set up visitors who are only coming to campus once per week as a POIs.

As schools and units begin to welcome more visitors to campus, the following section was added to reiterate the importance of advanced planning and communication about procedures and expectations for visitors who test positive during their stay or visit:

Schools/units and program coordinators inviting guests on campus for overnight visits (on or off campus) of any duration, must plan and communicate the procedure in place and expectations for a visitor that tests positive during their stay. This should include information such as where the visitor will complete their isolation, how services (including food) will be handled, travel plans, and cost considerations.

The University is not equipped to provide isolation housing and services to non-Harvard community guests and visitors, which must be addressed at the school/unit level when planning for visitors.

Public Health Updates:

Vaccination:

Schools and units may choose to require proof of vaccination, rather than vaccination attestation which includes individuals who may qualify for an exemption and does not require proof.

If schools/units require vaccination, they must determine how they will handle vaccination exemption requests as HUHS cannot review and process these exemption forms for non-Harvard community members.

Schools/units may choose to require those not vaccinated to attest or display proof of a recent negative COVID-19 PCR test (within 72 hours prior to campus activity).

October 22, 2021

Change Contact: Cynthia Parenteau

Activity-Specific Updates:

Buildings and Operations Open to the General Public:

Removed the "Harvard-sponsored" signifier under the description for events and activities open to the general public to eliminate confusion between designating individuals as "general public" or "official visitors".

Events and Gatherings: Indoors:

Updated the guidance for non-sponsored events within private living spaces (dorm rooms) or suites within Harvard residence halls and dormitories to indicate that occupancy should continue to be limited and may not exceed the occupancy limit determined by the house dean or local school/unit policy. Local policies may further restrict certain non-sponsored events and gatherings to Harvard community members only. At no time should occupancy in private dwellings exceed 25 persons, including residents.

Visitors:

Revised language to clarify that official visitors are those who come to campus via invitation to Harvard-sponsored activities or events.

Added visitors whose access will be limited to areas only open to the general public to the list of official visitors who will have short-term or limited access on campus. The intent of this addition is to standardize the expectations for visitors and members of the general public who will have the same or similar presence and access on campus.

October 14, 2021

Change Contact: Cynthia Parenteau

General Updates:

Added an expanded introduction to address the structure of University guidance, including minimum University-wide standards in addition to local school/unit policies that may be more restrictive to address their local needs or unique risk factors.

Activity-Specific Updates:

Events and Gatherings: Indoors:

Principle Investigator has been added to examples of school/unit officials sponsoring and supervising an event.

Added language to reiterate that schools and units may temporarily institute more restrictive requirements to address their local needs or unique risk factors. Event organizers must check in with school/unit to review current policies for events and gatherings.

Revised language around non-sponsored events to clarify that that 10-person occupancy limit only applies to private living spaces (i.e., dorm rooms) or suites within Harvard residence halls and dormitories. This does not apply to common rooms within residence halls such as study spaces, lounges, and meeting rooms. Specific schools/units may have additional requirements and restrictions concerning visitors.

Added guidance to indicate that tents are considered an indoor space if more than two sides (or half the perimeter) are enclosed and must follow all guidance for indoor events and gatherings within this section.

Public Health Updates:

Vaccination:

Added language to clarify that because Harvard Community members are required to report vaccination status to HUHS, they should not be expected to further disclose vaccination status to individual schools or units. If an approved activity such as voluntary unmasking for performances or teaching specifically requires vaccination as one of the controls, schools/units choosing to verify such must not keep records or proof of vaccination.

For non-Harvard community members, schools/units may choose to require proof or attestation of vaccination or a negative PCR test result (within the past 72 hours).

September 24, 2021

Change Contact: Cynthia Parenteau

Activity-Specific Updates:

Performances and Rehearsals:

Clarified that Harvard University performers playing woodwind and brass instruments during rehearsals may use utilize slitted, instrument masks in lieu of a general use face covering if the listed conditions are met (non-slitted masks should be used when not actively playing these instruments).

Visitors:

Expanded the qualifications for visitors with short-term or limited access to campus to include those typically on campus for seven cumulative days or less, personal guests to a private residence or residence hall, visitors whose access will be limited to outdoors, and those who have been issued an HUID for access purposes only (e.g., Harvard Daycare pick-up/drop-offs).

The intent of this change is to provide better guidance for caretakers of Harvard residents or children that live on campus, dogwalkers, family, and other personal visitors that live off campus but may visit or come on site for greater than seven cumulative days. These types of visitors are not required to report vaccination status or enroll in the University’s viral testing program.

Vendors (new section):

Vendors and paid service contractors are not considered official visitors.

The new vendor section clarifies which vendors need to report their vaccination status and enroll in the viral testing program. If vendors are in the viral testing program, they are required to report their vaccination status.

Embedded vendors (RA, Securitas, Custodial staff, etc.) are required to report vaccination status and be enrolled in viral testing program.

Not all POIs are considered embedded vendors.

Not all vendors with an HUID or those considered POIs are required to report their vaccination status or enroll in the testing program. Schools and units will make this determination based on high-risk/low-risk criteria and examples provided within the updated guidance.

September 9, 2021

Change Contact: Cynthia Parenteau

Activity-Specific Updates:

Events and Gatherings: Indoors:

Face coverings may only be removed when attendees are actively eating and drinking. This applies to all events on campus. There are no exceptions to this policy.

Provided additional considerations for planning events when there are increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases on campus.

Classrooms, Instruction, Lecture and Designated Study Spaces: During periods of high viral transmission, and while Harvard’s indoors face covering remains, instructors and professors must continue to wear face coverings unless the school/unit has authorized an exception based on a strong pedagogical necessity for this activity.

Eating and Drinking:

Added requirement to ensure that there are “distanced dining” seats available in every designated indoor dining space associated with a licensed food establishment (e.g., dining halls, retail cafes) or there is a close, alternate location available for distanced dining.

Added in guidance to consider strategies to de-densify indoor dining (restrict non-eating and drinking activities such as studying and meetings during peak meal periods, support take-out and grab-n-go options, or encourage diners to limit their mealtimes to 30 minutes or less).

Public Health Updates:

Face Coverings:

Added the following guidance: Fully vaccinated persons should consider wearing a mask in crowded outdoor settings and for outdoor activities with close contact with others who may not be fully vaccinated.

Added language to include requirements within reinstated city of Cambridge face covering order.

August 26, 2021

Change Contact: Cynthia Parenteau

Activity-Specific Updates:

Classrooms, Instruction, Lecture and Designated Study Spaces: Added language to re-emphasize that school and unit policies regarding unmasking allowances in academic settings that are more restrictive must be followed:

“Schools/units may choose to establish a higher minimum distance, or other restrictions based on local conditions, mode of instruction, and other considerations. Any additional school/unit policies that are more restrictive must be followed.”

Public Health Updates:

Cleaning and Disinfection: Added language to clarify timing expectations for enhanced cleaning following notification of a positive case within a space.

Viral Testing:

Added additional links to testing FAQs, including how to set up a color account, where to pick up and drop off tests, how to swab, and how to interpret test results.

Added an important reminder about dropping off test kits:

“Viral test kits must only be returned to the designated drop boxes by the individual who tested. These may not be passed onto others or collected separately for group drop-offs.”

August 25, 2021

Change Contact: Cynthia Parenteau

Activity-Specific Updates:

Events and Gatherings: Indoors: Per the reinstituted mask order in the City of Boston, all private events held on the Boston campuses must adhere to indoor masking requirements, unmasking only when actively eating and drinking.

Performances and Rehearsals: Provided new guidance on limited allowances for unmasking during performance arts rehearsals and performances.

Eating and Drinking Added guidance for eating and drinking spaces that are not equipped with a means for increased air exchange/flow or filtration.

Classrooms, Instruction, Lecture and Designated Study Spaces:

Clarified that unmasking allowances in this setting are not an option when classes are open to the general public.

Unmasking allowance must be approved by school/unit and any other more restrictive guidance provided by school/unit must be followed in addition to University policies.

With additional controls, including increasing viral testing to a minimum of two times per week, distance has been updated to a minimum of six feet.

Public Health Updates:

Face Coverings Added language to include requirements within the reinstated City of Boston face covering order.

August 18, 2021

Change Contact: Cynthia Parenteau

Activity-Specific Updates:

Events and Gatherings: Indoors: Clarified that the cap on total persons for non-sponsored events applies to events and gatherings held in private living spaces or suites within Harvard residence halls or dormitories.

Visitors:

Added guidance outlining when Harvard visitors are required to report COVID-19 diagnosis.

Clarified that visitors that are on campus for less than seven days are only encouraged to receive a COVID-19 test on the day of arrival through a local clinic or pharmacy at their own expense if traveling from out of state.

Public Health Updates:

Face Coverings

Removed the following bullet to be consistent with current physical distancing and face covering guidance for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals:

“In crowded spaces outdoors (such as sporting events, concerts, etc.) where persons may not be protected by vaccination and physical distancing cannot be consistently maintained.”

Clarified that the allowance to remove face coverings in common areas of shared Harvard residence halls and dormitories applies only to shared private living spaces and suites within residence halls and dormitories.

Vaccination: Added additional section that provides guidance for schools/units that voluntarily choose to extend the University’s vaccination requirement to non-Harvard community members including visitors, program participants, non-embedded vendors, and members of the general public.

August 3, 2021

Change Contact: Cynthia Parenteau

Activity-Specific Updates:

Removed Room and Space Use: General Guidance, Room and Space Use: Laboratory and Laboratory Support, and Room and Space Use: Specialized Skills Teaching and Practice Areas Requiring Close Contact.

Events and Gatherings: Indoors:

Added visitor limit of 10 persons for non-sponsored indoor gatherings in Harvard residence halls and dormitories.

For private events, face coverings must be worn by all guests when in any common areas of the event venue, including restrooms, entryways and lobbies.

Off Campus Activities and Events: Added new topic to address University sponsored and non-sponsored events that would take place off campus.

Performances and Rehearsals: Revised to include information on when fully vaccinated performers may remove their face coverings during performances and instructional arts (i.e., music, dance, singing, playing brass and woodwind instruments, and theatre settings). Fully vaccinated performers may be unmasked when at least 14 feet of distance can be maintained between unmasked performers and all other persons.

Eating and Drinking: Clarified information on eating and drinking in personal workspaces to include physical distancing of at least six feet from other persons.

Language on cleaning dining tables in licensed food establishment updated to reflect Massachusetts Food Code requirements.

Classrooms, Instruction, Lecture and Designated Study Spaces:

Clarified requirements for face coverings use.

Eating and drinking are not permitted in classrooms, only in designated areas. In instructional settings, professors and lecturers may choose to remove their face covering for the purpose of instruction. The requirements for this option are now included in this topic.

Public Health Updates:

Face Coverings

The language under the CDC and Massachusetts columns was changed to reflect current federal and state guidance.

Limited instances when face coverings can be removed in instructional and performing and instructional arts settings was clarified.

Ventilation: This new topic was added to provide best management practices to optimize ventilation and improve indoor air quality. This topic replaces previous guidance listed in EHS Rooms and Space Use: General Guidance.

Cleaning and Disinfection: Environmental Control Procedure (ECP) links and descriptions for enhanced cleaning and disinfection were updated.

July 21, 2021

Change Contact: Marykate Franks

Activity-Specific Updates:

Fitness: Recreational Facilities and Health Clubs: Added best practices for mask usage in recreational facilities with indoor swimming facilities.

Travel:

Included additional language on submitting vaccination status to HUHS.

Added language on the Office of the Vice Provost for International Affairs (OVPIA)’s travel petition process.

Visitors: Removed Crimson Clear requirements for visitors on campus for less than seven days. Visitors that are on campus for less than seven days are now encouraged to receive a COVID-19 test on the day of arrival through a local clinic or pharmacy at their own expense.

Room and Space Use: Eating and Drinking Areas: Identifying appropriate eating and drinking areas is the responsibility of local units and/or building management. Unvaccinated persons should ensure they take steps to plan and protect themselves while on eating and drinking by remaining physically distanced from others.

Room and Space Use: Beverage Consumption in Areas Not Designated for Eating and Drinking removed. Information on eating and drinking outside of appropriate eating and drinking areas (study spaces, corridors, etc.) has been moved to Activity-Specific: Room and Space Use: Eating and Drinking Areas.

Transportation: Transportation vehicle occupancy may return to pre-COVID-19 levels.

Public Health Updates:

Physical Distancing: With limited exceptions, physical distancing is no longer required indoors or outdoors. Unvaccinated persons should continue protect themselves while on campus, by practicing physical distancing when possible, especially when unmasked.

July 12, 2021

Change Contact: Cynthia Parenteau

Updated the narrative section to consolidate current University policies and requirements to Activity-Specific and Public Health.

Existing requirements for Harvard visitors can be found in the modified topic of Activity-Specific. The decision to bring visitors on campus will rest with schools/units and their ability to successfully adhere to the current University requirements.

Activity-Specific Updates:

Travel Policy: Updated to provide guidance for domestic and international travel based on vaccination status.

Visitors: Revised the threshold for short-term visitors to seven days or less. Official visitors must abide by current University COVID-19 requirements while on campus.

General Public: Physical distancing restrictions will be lifted as of July 15, 2021 and venue capacity may return to pre-COVID-19 levels in all operations and spaces open to the general public. Visitors must continue to adhere to University face covering requirements and attest to their health (multiple strategies can be used) prior to entering Harvard buildings.

Indoor and Outdoor Events: Occupancy limits have been lifted and should be based on the school/unit’s ability to successfully adhere to University COVID-19 policies and guidance provided within Activity-Specific and Public Health.
Room and Space Use: Designated Eating and Drinking: Rooms designated for eating and drinking may now follow the Room and Space Use General Guidance. Physical distancing restrictions will be lifted as of July 15, 2021, and vaccinated persons may dine together indoors in close proximity.

Transportation: As of July 15, 2021 vaccinated persons may ride together in University vehicles.

Public Health Updates:

Physical Distancing: As of July 15, 2021 the University will no longer require that vaccinated persons observe physical distance requirements, either indoors or outdoors. Unvaccinated persons are still required to maintain physical distancing indoors.

June 22, 2021

Change Contact: Cynthia Parenteau

Updated Activity-Specific: Transportation: Use of University Vehicles to include guidance and controls for allowing more than one occupant in University vehicles.

June 17, 2021

Change Contact: Cynthia Parenteau

Updated Activity-Specific to include University changes to certain activities, including outdoor events, fitness facilities, travel, official visitors, and significant changes to Rooms and Spaces.

June 4, 2021

Change Contact: Marykate Franks

Updated the narrative to reflect new University guidance.

Removed Local Requirements information from Activity-Specific and Public Health as both Boston and Cambridge align with Massachusetts.

Updated all Massachusetts and CDC information in Activity-Specific and Public Health to reflect the most recent regulatory changes.

Updated Public Health to reflect new University policy concerning cleaning and disinfection, face coverings, physical distancing, vaccination, and personal hygiene.

Updated Activity-Specific: Events and Gatherings: Indoors to reflect new University requirements.

May 13, 2021

Change Contact: Marykate Franks

Updated Activity-Specific and Public Health to include University and Massachusetts changes to certain activities, including outdoor and indoor events, vaccination, and travel.

April 30, 2021

Change Contact: Marykate Franks

Updated the narrative and Public Health to reflect the revised Massachusetts face covering order.

April 15, 2021

Change Contact: Marykate Franks

Created two new topics in Activity-Specific: Official Visitors and Buildings and Operations Open to the General Public.

Additional University interim requirements were added to Activity-Specific: Sports: Club and Intramural Amateur.

March 22, 2021

Change Contact: Marykate Franks

Updated Activity-Specific: Events and Gatherings to reflect changes to University requirements.

Added Public Health: Vaccination.

Added Activity-Specific: Room and Space Use: Independent Activity (Non-Instructional Hobbies, Art, Meditation).

March 11, 2021

Change Contact: Marykate Franks

Updated Activity-Specific and Public Health to reflect changes to University requirements.

January 11, 2021

Change Contact: Marykate Franks

Updated Activity-Specific and Public Health to reflect changes to Massachusetts and city requirements.

December 18, 2020

Change Contact: Marykate Franks

Updated Activity-Specific and Public Health to reflect changes to Massachusetts and city requirements.

December 7, 2020

Change Contact: Karen McInnis

Draft document originally shared with Academic Deans, Executive Deans, Vice Presidents, and other senior leadership.

Non-Conforming/New Activity Proposal Form: Request for Review

Schools or units proposing a new activity not addressed in Harvard University On Campus Activity Guidance: Activity-Specific, or in rare cases, an activity that does not conform to Harvard University requirements, should submit a proposal for this activity to HUHS and EH&S for review.

Non-Conforming/New Activity Proposal: Request for Review Form
Returning to the Workplace Planning Documents

Over the summer of 2020 facilities and planning experts from across Harvard University collaborated to draft guiding principles for returning to the workplace facility operations and high-level information gaps needed to inform planning. The guidelines were designed to support or enhance – and not to replace or reduce – all federal, state, local, and Harvard University guidance.

These guidelines have been superseded by Harvard University On Campus Activity Guidance. Historical versions of the documents for reference purposes are available through the Return to the Workplace Planning Team or your Designated Safety Officer (DSO).