COVID Updates

Below you will find guidance and resources to support your return to campus.


The Faculty of Arts and Sciences continues to be guided by the following core principles as we return to campus-based teaching and scholarship -- put health and safety first, protect the academic enterprise, leverage our breadth and diversity, and preserve access and affordability


Thank you for everything you do to advance the FAS research and teaching mission.

Frequently Asked Questions

COVID Exposure

What happens if a student tests positive for COVID?

 If a student tests positive for COVID, they should:


  • Minimize movement and exposure to others.
  • Answer the phone when HUHS calls to move them to isolation and begin contact tracing.
  • Inform their instructor that they are entering isolation for 10 days.

When a student tests positive, Harvard College triggers a protocol that will move the student to isolation and provide support and daily monitoring from HUHS until the student is cleared to return to regular activities.

Should students share their COVID test results with others?

Students who test positive have the option to share their individual status with those they identify as close contacts though there is no requirement for them to do so. HUHS will discuss with individual students who test positive that they do have the right to medical privacy and should feel no pressure to share their positive status with anyone other than HUHS. HUHS, in their interactions with those identified as close contacts of the positive individual, will not share the identity of the person who has tested positive.

How do I accommodate students while they are in isolation?

If a student is put into isolation, there are a few simple ways instructors can make sure they stay caught up in your course:


  • Encourage students to identify a “study buddy” at the beginning of the semester.
  • Use your discretion to provide alternative assignments or other ways for a student to stay caught up in class if they need to isolate.
  • If the class takes place in a classroom already equipped with lecture capture technology, use that to record the class and make the recording available on Canvas.
  • For other instructional spaces, create a Zoom link for the student on your own device in the classroom, set Zoom to record, and share screen so that the student can follow along with slides or other presentations as you speak (note: you should not try to provide a fully interactive experience for the student but rather use zoom as low-tech way to record class), or
  • Have a TF or fellow student they have identified use a smartphone to make a simple recording that can be uploaded to Canvas, along with any slides or presentations from class. ESS has compiled instructions for self-service lecture capture, which are available on their website.
  • Bring a laptop to class and utilize Zoom to include your student in the lecture.
  • If you choose to record your class, please be mindful of Harvard’s privacy policy on recording lectures. Education Support Services (ESS) has provided helpful guidance on best practices for recording your class sessions.

Can I send a package (i.e. materials) to a student in isolation?

Yes. If you are a faculty member, please bring the package to Yard Operations (in the basement of Weld Hall) with the student's name and Harvard mailing address. For more information, check out the Dean of Students Office's website

If a student tests positive, am I a close contact?

When a member of the campus community tests positive for COVID-19, HUHS initiates contact tracing to identify close contacts. According to the CDC, for COVID-19 a close contact is anyone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period (for example, three individual 5-minute exposures for a total of 15 minutes).


If through contact tracing you are identified as having possibly been exposed to a COVID-positive community member, HUHS will:


  • Notify you of your exposure through email or by telephone
  • Maintain confidentiality for the infected person
  • Educate, support, and identify your needs and barriers to self-quarantine, if applicable
  • Connect and refer you to additional resources within the Harvard community, if needed
  • Provide you with a recommended testing schedule for the 10 -14 days after your interaction with the positive individual
  • Check in with you by email until your quarantine is over, if applicable
  • Provide you with return to work/school clearance and instructions

Fully vaccinated individuals, those who are a full two weeks from their last dose of covid-19 vaccine, will not need to quarantine provided they are not experiencing symptoms and they have submitted a copy of their vaccine record to HUHS. Individuals who are not fully vaccinated or who do not have vaccination documentation on file with HUHS will be required to quarantine for a minimum of 10 days and will have additional testing throughout that timeframe.

Do I need to take steps to prepare for contact tracing?

HUHS may contact you in some cases if class registration or seating charts would be helpful in assisting with identifying close contacts. Seating charts can be of assistance though it is understandable that some teaching methods do not allow for consistent or assigned seating on a daily basis.

What do I do if I become sick or test positive for COVID?

If an instructor does not feel well, you should:

  • Use Crimson Clear to notify HUHS of your symptoms.
  • If you are instructed by HUHS to get a Covid-19 test, you may teach remotely while you are waiting for the results of this test.

(i) If a Covid-19 test is negative and HUHS has cleared you to return to campus, then the FAS's usual practices apply when an instructor feels unwell, including teaching in person if the illness is not severe, finding a substitute instructor, or rescheduling class.

(ii) If a Covid-19 test is positive, then the instructor is required to isolate for ten days. Some instructors with a positive Covid-19 test will have mild symptoms and will therefore be able to continue teaching. In this instance, instructors may teach remotely for this ten-day period.

For individuals who test positive for COVID-19, HUHS will:

  • Conduct an in-depth interview (typically 20-30 minutes)
  • Educate, support, and identify your needs and barriers to self-isolation
  • Connect and refer you to additional resources
  • Ensure your confidentiality
  • Identify your close contacts during your potentially infectious time period
  • Check in with you regularly until your isolation is over

What do I do if my kids get sick?

We advise parents of children who are sick to:


  • Talk to their pediatrician about their children's symptoms.
  • If the child is likely to have Covid-19, the instructor may teach remotely.
  • If the child tests positive, the instructor should inform HUHS by reporting their exposure to HUHS through Crimson Clear at
    • If the instructor is fully vaccinated, they should return to in-person teaching when either
      • (i) the instructor receives a negative Covid-19 test, or
      • (ii) they have isolated for 10 days after receiving a positive Covid-19 test.
    • If the instructor is not fully vaccinated, HUHS will advise you on quarantine requirements, in alignment with local Department of Public Health requirements.

Classroom Guidance

Are short-term visitors allowed in classrooms?

Short-term visitors, such as prospective students sponsored by Harvard Athletics, are permitted at the instructor’s discretion, provided they are in full compliance with the university’s vaccination policy, show a negative COVID-19 test, and follow the university’s required public health protocols while on campus. Learn more about welcoming visitors to courses here.

Can someone audit my course?

Auditors are permitted only at the instructor’s discretion and may not attend remotely. Faculty have a responsibility to protect student information that Canvas may provide, and they are responsible for informing auditors of University and FAS policies governing access to student and course information (Resource: FAS Information for Faculty, 2021-2022)

It is strongly recommended that faculty limit auditors to HUID holders only so that the individual is already included in the university’s COVID testing protocols. If a faculty member chooses to permit a non-Harvard auditor, the faculty member must work with their home department to establish the auditor as a “Person of Interest” (POI) in the university identity management system, and then facilitate the auditor’s registration into the Color testing system. COVID testing for non-Harvard course auditors will be billed to the instructor’s department. (Resource: FAS Registrar’s Office message to instructors, August 23, 2021)

Of note, high school student from Cambridge Rindge and Latin will not be permitted to audit courses for the fall 2021 term.

Can Cambridge Rindge and Latin students audit courses?

No, unfortunately, we're not able to support CRLS auditors for the fall semester.

Can I serve food in the classroom?

No. Eating and drinking are not permitted in classrooms but, rather, only in designated areas. For more information, see the Harvard University Guidance for On-Campus Activity.

Will classrooms be safe?

Harvard is taking the necessary precautions to make classrooms safe. Harvard requires COVID vaccination for all students, faculty, and staff who will be on campus this fall. Harvard is also employing high-cadence viral testing and contact tracing to quickly identify and isolate positive cases and limit community spread of the virus. Indoors, everyone is required to wear a mask, regardless of vaccination status. In addition, classrooms are operating with enhanced mechanical ventilation and filtration.

In FAS spaces, building managers are working with their custodial supervisors to ensure that all high-touch surfaces within spaces have been identified and added to the regular cleaning and disinfection procedures. All high touch surfaces will be regularly cleaned 2 - 3 times, per day. You can also visit the EH&S FAQ on cleaning protocols for more details.

Can I teach virtually?

We expect all instructors to teach in person. Instructors may use pre-recorded materials to supplement their in-person teaching (to “flip” their courses), but they should still spend the customary amount of time in the classroom.

Instructors may hold office hours remotely if they feel that this will better meet the needs of their students.

In a small number of cases, the Office of Undergraduate Education and/or the Graduate School for Arts and Sciences may ask selected faculty to adapt their courses for the first few weeks of the semester to accommodate visa delays for international students

What if I have health-related concerns about teaching in person?

Harvard is taking the necessary precautions to make classrooms safe. Harvard requires COVID vaccination for all students, faculty, and staff who will be on campus this fall. Harvard is also employing high-cadence viral testing and contact tracing to quickly identify and isolate positive cases and limit community spread of the virus. Indoors, everyone is required to wear a mask, regardless of vaccination status. In addition, classrooms are operating with enhanced mechanical ventilation and filtration. If you have particular concerns about returning to campus due to your health or the health of someone in your household, please reach out to the assistant dean for your division/SEAS or the GSAS. The assistant dean will connect you with Harvard University Disability Resources (UDR).



Alternatively, you may go directly to UDR:

UDR, in partnership with your assistant dean and department/area, will explore possible options for recommended modifications or courtesies. Department/area chairs should not make the determination of whether a modification or courtesy regarding in-classroom teaching is necessary.

Public Health Practices

Am I required to be vaccinated?

Yes, all students, faculty, staff, TA's and researchers who will spend any time on Harvard's campus this fall are required to be vaccinated. A small percentage of individuals in our community have not yet submitted verification of their vaccination status to HUHS. Students who are not yet compliant with this requirement are subject to registration holds (the deadline for immunization compliance was in June). Faculty, staff, and researchers who are not yet compliant have until August 31 to submit their verification. If they fail to submit verification of vaccination status, they will be subject to disciplinary measures. Please note that unvaccinated individuals, including for medical/religious exemption, will have more frequent COVID-19 testing requirements and may be subject to additional public health measures.

Am I required to be masked?

Yes. Indoors, everyone is required to wear a mask, regardless of vaccination status at this time. The FAS Mask Policy can be found here. A detailed guide has been created by Harvard’s Environmental Health & Safety Office that outlines masking and other policies for all campus-based activities. Masking is required in classrooms and the Bok Center has created a helpful guide on teaching while masked. In some pedagogical contexts, clear masks may be necessary.

Clear masks are available for language departments for instructional purposes where language, pronunciation, or vocalization are key components of the classroom. Clear masks for non-language departments are available when approved by the Academic Continuity Group. Please email to request approval before purchasing. Folks should contact University Disability Resources (faculty) or the Accessible Education Office (TF grad student) if they need clear masks because of a disability and the OUE if you need them for pedagogical reasons. Once you receive approval, please contact your department administrator to place your order through Buy2Pay. Instructions can be found here

Is it possible to test twice a week even if you are vaccinated?

Yes. The surveillance testing cadence is based upon advice and modeling from our medical and public health experts. We recommend maintaining your assigned testing cadence unless you have been directed to test additionally by a medical professional, but those with unvaccinated children or high-risk family members at home have the option of increasing their testing to twice per week.

Can two colleagues in a closed office remove masks to speak?

Harvard’s masking policy requires you to mask if you are in an office with another individual regardless of distance.

What happens if someone doesn't follow safety/testing protocols?

It is expected that everyone follows health, safety, and testing protocols every day they come to campus. Continued failure to comply with protocols will lead to your access to campus buildings being revoked.

  • If you do not follow health and safety protocols, you will receive automated emails about instances of non-compliance.
  • If you believe such messages to be in error, please contact:
    • Color Support at 844-352-6567 or for questions/concerns about testing reminders, results, and compliance notifications.
    • CrimsonClear Support at or HUIT Service Desk at 617-495-7777.
  • Monitoring of compliance will take place at the departmental/area level. However, non-compliance issues will be addressed by the Divisional Dean/SEAS Dean offices in conjunction with your department/area.

Return to Campus

Do I need to be on campus this fall?

Yes, as Dean Gay mentioned in her March 22, 2021 email, “Our fall plan is predicated on faculty, teaching fellows, and instructional staff being here and ready to teach on campus.”

If you have questions, please contact the assistant dean in your division/SEAS or the GSAS, as appropriate.


●       Arts & Humanities: Kendra Barber,

●       Science: Zoe Fonseca-Kelly,

●       Social Science: Richa Mishra,

●       SEAS: Diane Schneeberger,

●       GSAS: Noel Bisson or Sheila Thomas,

Does my research staff need to be on campus this fall?

Researchers are expected to return to normal campus schedules, as deemed appropriate by you and your unit and/or division/SEAS. We encourage you to speak with your research group to develop return-to-campus plans.

Principal Investigators: If your researchers have concerns about returning to campus for health reasons, please direct them to UDR,, or to the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs, Director of the Postdoctoral Office, Stephen Kargère,

What if I have researchers working with me who are out-of-state?

If your researchers are currently out-of-state (in a state where Harvard does not conduct business) or overseas, there may be payroll implications once the Massachusetts state of emergency is lifted. Please contact Bob Daley, Associate Director of Payroll Services,, for payroll in the United States and Krister Anderson,, or Blagomira Ovcharova,, in Global Support Services for payroll abroad. You will be responsible for any additional fees associated with out-of-state payroll services.

Will departmental/area staff be back on campus?

Your department/area leadership will have worked with faculty and staff to develop a plan for in-person and virtual staffing. Please be in touch with your department/area chair or department/area administrator for answers to any questions about the specifics of this plan.

Are in-person youth internships/employment permitted on campus?

No; minors (other than registered Harvard College students) will not be permitted to work, intern, volunteer, or job-shadow in-person on the FAS campus, including in labs, this fall. However, remote internships and youth programs are permitted, as opportunities exist and in accordance with Harvard’s Minors in Labs Policy and Policy for the Safety & Protection of Minors more broadly.