Updated guidance for the fall semester

Dear Members of the Harvard Chan School Community:

We hope you have enjoyed your summer so far and have had time to relax and recharge. We will be welcoming our new students on campus for Orientation starting August 22 and fall classes will begin a week later. As we look forward to the start of the academic year and a return to campus, we hope that you have had a chance to read Giang T. Nguyen’s message from earlier this week about Harvard University’s preparation plans, as well as information about monkeypox. We want to share some additional health and safety updates as well as information on the University’s dynamic work principles.

COVID-19 Testing

Students are required to take a rapid antigen test on the morning of Orientation or their first day back on campus. Faculty and staff are strongly encouraged to take a rapid test prior to returning to campus if they have not been testing regularly. Rapid tests are readily available at local pharmacies, and we also have rapid tests available at the security desk in the FXB lobby at 651 Huntington Avenue.

Upon return to campus, we encourage everyone to test regularly, although testing remains optional. Free PCR tests continue to be available at the Kresge and FXB security desks through September 16. If you haven’t already done so, you’ll need to create a Color account to access Harvard’s testing system. Please be reminded that if you have had COVID-19 in the past, you should wait 90 days until you resume PCR testing.

Tests are collected at the School only on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9:00 am in the FXB lobby. This means that you can drop off your completed test to the collection box in the FXB lobby from Monday morning until 9:00 am Tuesday and on Wednesday morning until 9:00 am on Thursday. If you submit a test to the FXB box during any other times, your test will be invalid and not processed.

If you miss the Tuesday and Thursday morning pickups at FXB, you can take your test to the drop-off location at Harvard Medical School’s New Research Building, at the entrance on Avenue Louis Pasteur. That drop-off location will continue to be available Monday through Friday, at any hour. Tests are picked up each day at 9:00 am.

If you test positive, are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, currently have COVID-19, or have been instructed to quarantine or isolate, please do not come to campus, and please be sure to report the results of the test and/or any symptoms to Harvard University Health Services (HUHS) through the Crimson Clear system. The University’s COVID-19 Testing page provides helpful information.

COVID-19 Vaccinations

Students must be up to date with COVID vaccinations according to the CDC guidelines, which includes the primary vaccine series and all eligible boosters. Faculty and staff must be fully vaccinated with the primary series, and we strongly encourage all employees to be up to date with eligible boosters.


Harvard Chan School is a “mask optional but welcome” campus. However, masks will be required of students, instructors, and employees participating in indoor Orientation activities on August 22-26 and during the first week of classes. Surgical-style masks are readily available on campus at the Kresge and FXB entrances, and KN95 masks are also available upon request at the Kresge and FXB security desks.


Monkeypox has been declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organization. Over 9,000 people in the USA have been diagnosed with monkeypox already, and cases have been seen in Boston and elsewhere in Massachusetts. Harvard is monitoring this situation closely and will take any necessary health and safety measures to protect our community.

To echo Giang T. Nguyen’s message, compassion and respect are central to our community values. As public health professionals, we know all too well the dangers of using any behaviors or language that may stigmatize individuals or groups with monkeypox infections. As the situation continues to evolve, we encourage everyone to visit HUHS’ website for additional information on monkeypox as well as available resources.

Dynamic Work

Harvard has developed a set of Guiding Principles of Dynamic Work—defined as the evolving ways employees can deliver their work—that aims to provide a balance between a vibrant in-person educational and campus experience with work strategies that support excellent performance and employee flexibility. We encourage you to read and familiarize yourself with these guidelines.

We hope you enjoy the rest of your summer. Thank you for your flexibility and dedication to the Harvard Chan School’s public health mission and we look forward to seeing you in the fall!


Jane and Kate

Jane J. Kim
Dean for Academic Affairs
K.T. Li Professor of Health Economics

Kate Calvin
Executive Dean for Administration