Coronavirus update: Week of March 16

Dear Members of the Harvard Chan School Community,

As you are well aware, efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus are accelerating, both here at Harvard and outside our campus. In that spirit, and with the health and safety of the Harvard Chan community as my highest priority, I am writing to announce that we are encouraging people to work from home next week (Spring Break). In addition, we request that every effort be made to have as many people as possible work from home on Friday, March 20. Beginning that day and through the weekend, this will give our wonderful custodial team the opportunity to undertake a thorough cleaning of the School. That is in addition to the enhanced cleaning they are already doing and will continue to do moving forward.

We hope that this approach will be a reasonable balance for fulfilling our research and teaching mission while giving flexibility for those who can work remotely to do so. We recognize that the Spring Break week represents a valuable time to prepare for online teaching and that support from IT is essential for allowing us time to prepare for more extensive remote teaching and research in case it becomes mandatory in the future.

At this time, the recommendation to work from home is only for the week of Spring Break.

As things are moving at a fast pace now, decisions and policies are being made daily. I know that many of you have challenges outside of work, including elderly relatives, family and friends miles away, and potential worries and health concerns yourself. I share your concerns—the unknowns around COVID-19 can be frightening. Please remember that we are a strong community and we will do what it takes to protect ourselves and to support one another.

Thank you again for everything you do every day to keep our community safe and healthy.


Michelle A. Williams, ScD
Dean of the FacultyHarvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Angelopoulos Professor in Public Health and International Development,
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Harvard Kennedy School