COVID-19 testing and vaccinations

Do I have to submit my vaccination status even if I do not plan to have an on-campus presence?

 Yes, all members of the Harvard community must submit their vaccination status regardless of on-campus presence. Knowing the rates of vaccination across our community will inform policy decisions going forward.

How do I get set up for Harvard COVID-19 testing?

Faculty, staff, researchers, postdocs, and others who require access to campus: Coordinate with your department director or administrator, who will submit your name to the Dean’s Office for testing activation via PeopleSoft. After that process, which can take up to 3 business days, you must create a Color account before you can activate your test kits.

Students: contact Amanda Andreyev Jahan, andreyev@hsph.harvard.edu

Where can I pick up COVID-19 test kits?

At the Harvard Chan School campus, COVID-19 test kits are available for pickup at the FXB, Kresge, 90 Smith Street, and Landmark Center 3rd and 4th floor security desks.

Where can I drop off my completed COVID-19 test?

Drop-off bins are available at multiple locations. At the Harvard Chan School campus, completed tests can be dropped off in the lobbies of FXB and Kresge. Tests can also be dropped off elsewhere in the Longwood area: in the HSDM Dental Research and Education lobby, in the NRB lobby, and on the 3rd floor of the Landmark Center. A list of all drop-off sites around the University can be found here.

What is the procedure if an employee or student tests positive? If a person tests positive, will others who work, are in class, or are with/near that person be notified?

If You Test Positive: As of January 2022, you will now receive an email communication from HUHS with guidance on isolation procedures and instruction to help you identify and notify your close contacts. Please note that HUHS will no longer be contact tracing and will be communicating exclusively by email at this time.

If You Are a Close Contact and Not Up to Date on Booster Shot: You must now quarantine for 5 days after a COVID exposure.

Learn more about Exposure, Quarantine, and Isolation.

It’s taking a while to hear back about my test results. What is the normal timeframe?       

 Most results are available within 24 hours and can sometimes take as long as 48 hours. You can monitor the status of a pending test by logging into your Color account.

Can I test more frequently if I’m concerned?

Yes. If you are concerned for any reason, you can test more frequently.  But if you have any signs or symptoms, please report them via Crimson Clear, and do not come to campus until you feel better, and follow any instructions provided by HUHS.

Do I need to submit a test on the same day(s) each week?

While HUHS suggests that you test on the same day(s) each week, you will not be out of compliance if you do not submit your test(s) on the same day each week.  For example, if you are on a weekly testing cadence and scheduled to test on Tuesdays but you do not plan to be on campus that day, you can submit a test on another day that week.

I haven’t received my COVID-19 booster vaccine yet. Is Harvard offering them?

Yes, Harvard University Health Services (HUHS) is offering Pfizer and Moderna booster clinics in the Monks/Bocks Conference Rooms on the 6th Floor of the Smith Campus Center, 75 Mount Auburn St., Cambridge, MA. Visit the HUHS booster clinics site for upcoming dates. The clinics take place from 12:00-3:00 PM. Appointments can be scheduled through the HUHS portal.

Building safety

What has been done to improve safety in the buildings?

  • Based on the advice of the University’s Office of Environmental Health & Safety and our School’s environmental health and safety experts, all air handler units have been thoroughly cleaned and outfitted with more efficient and effective MERV-15 filters
  • All lab terminal recirculating cooling units have been outfitted with MERV-13 filters
  • Portable HEPA filter units have been added to Kresge Café, all classrooms, high-traffic restrooms, and high-density workspaces at Landmark Center 3rd floor.
  • All VAV (Variable Air Volume) and return air fan systems have been re-programmed to operate with maximum outdoor air circulation
  • Wifi CO2 sensors have been added in all classrooms, Kresge Café, and high-density spaces to monitor/record ventilation rates to ensure optimal ventilation effectiveness
  • A real-time COVID-19 dashboard has been created for all classroom AHU (Air Handling Unit) systems to monitor/record AHU operation (temperature, humidity, damper position, on/off system status)
  • All restroom plumbing fixtures (toilets and sinks) have been changed to hands-free
  • All plumbing fixtures in unoccupied spaces are flushed weekly to avoid Legionella contamination
  • COVID-19 awareness signage has been installed throughout campus
  • Kresge and FXB entrances have been upgraded with tap-in/tap-out HUID validation readers to control access

Teaching and learning

I teach a large class and am concerned about health and safety. What are my options?

If you would like to discuss health and safety concerns in your class and explore options for addressing them, please contact Nancy Turnbull (nturnbul@hsph.harvard.edu).

Are all courses being recorded so that if we have to do more remote learning/teaching, we are prepared for that?

The options for recording and streaming depend on the classroom. Instructors in most classrooms can request lecture capture and live-streaming through IT. Instructors can also request a Zoom cart and work with IT to be trained in how to use a Zoom cart. Temporary remote teaching options might be necessary if a faculty member tests positive and could include pre-recorded sessions or synchronous Zoom sessions. If you have requests or questions about these options, please contact METS (mediaservices@hsph.harvard.edu).

If I test positive or cannot come to campus because of signs and symptoms of COVID-19 or another health reason, will my instructor make accommodations so that I can keep up in my class?

Yes. Students should inform instructors if they are unable to attend class. Students need not let the instructor know they cannot attend class because they tested positive. All instructors have been informed that students need to have a way to make academic progress even if they cannot attend because of COVID-19 and have been asked to be especially flexible during times when the number of cases at the School, University, or local area are high. Please contact Colleen Cronin, ccronin@hsph.harvard.edu, in Student Affairs if you need help making arrangements with any instructor.

What if many of my students aren’t regularly showing up for the class I teach?

Courses vary in their requirements but the expectation is that students should be showing up and participating in person if they are not restricted because of COVID-19 or another reason. You should make those expectations clear at the beginning of the course and reiterate that over time if you are seeing a pattern. If you would like help managing this issue, you can reach out to Erin Driver-Linn, edriver-linn@hsph.harvard.edu or Nancy Turnbull, nturnbul@hsph.harvard.edu.

Under what circumstances would Harvard Chan School return to remote learning?

We expect that the School will not return to remote learning unless the University, City of Boston, or Commonwealth of Mass. issues guidance to go remote. Should the state Department of Public Health mandate more restrictive measures such as a “lock-down” in the state or city, or specifically at Harvard University, the School will go remote.

Commuting and Parking

What flexible parking and commuting options are available?

Please visit the HMS Parking and Commuting services website for up-to-date information. You can also watch a webinar that has helpful information.


Is the Kresge Café open?

Yes. Sebastian’s Café in the Kresge Building is open for grab and go food options Monday-Thursday from 7:30 am to 3:30 pm. Friday hours are 7:30 am to 3:00 pm. Sebastian’s is closed on the weekend. It is open only to the Harvard Chan community.

Are there other food options available?

  • Harvard Medical School Courtyard Café
  • Countway Connection Café, located inside the Huntington Avenue atrium, is open Monday-Friday 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, featuring grab-and-go food options, a coffee barista, and an electronic POS system for after-hours purchases
  • Local food options in the Longwood Medical Area

Are we allowed to eat indoors?

Yes. Masking is optional in Kresge Cafeteria and throughout the campus. Unless the instructor or class decides otherwise, people may eat and drink in classrooms.

For people who are masking or would like more space while they eat, FXB Atrium will be a designated eating space. If you choose to eat there, please wear your mask at all times unless you are actively eating or drinking.

Visitor Policy

Short-term visitors (7 days or less on campus)

  • Must be approved by an administrative or unit director and a Visitor Pass Request Form, available on the Operations website, must be filled out.
  • Must adhere to all Harvard University COVID-19 policies while on campus
  • Does not require enrollment in Harvard University COVID-19 testing program
  • Encouraged to receive a COVID-19 test on the day of arrival through a local clinic or pharmacy at their own expense
  • Assuming they have no symptoms and no known exposure to an infected person, it is okay for them to participate in in-person activities, following appropriate masking and distancing requirements
  • Unvaccinated travelers from international points of departure should test again on day 4 or 5 (in addition to the arrival date test) and must avoid close, unmasked social activities, including social gatherings and dining with other unvaccinated people, until a negative result is received for the arrival test

Long-term visitors (more than 7 days on campus)

  • Must follow the University Post-Travel COVID Testing and Quarantine Policy
  • Must go through POI (person of interest) approval process for HUID
  • Must adhere to all Harvard University COVID-19 policies while on campus
  • Requires enrollment in Harvard University COVID-19 testing program
  • Must submit vaccination status for the purpose of determining testing frequency and other safety requirements, and keep documentation of vaccination readily available


Can I bring a minor to campus?

Minors are not allowed on campus at this time.  Minors are defined as individuals under the age of 18.

What is the indoor masking requirement at the School?

Although masking is optional, three-layer “procedure masks” continue to be available at the FXB, Kresge, 90 Smith Street, and Landmark 3 entrances. KN-95 masks are also available upon request from security staff at those locations.

Proper mask-wearing reduces the risk of contracting COVID-19 and other transmissible viruses, so we encourage anyone who wants to continue masking to do so. In addition, since some environments and situations continue to require masking, please carry a mask with you at all times while on campus.

If you are unvaccinated for any reason, we ask that you please continue to wear a mask at all times on campus for the health and safety of the community.

Are there guidelines around meetings? 

The guidelines for meetings are the same as the guidelines for classes and for being in our buildings. While masking is optional, we welcome continued mask-wearing on campus and in meetings. There are no physical distancing requirements for vaccinated people, but please be considerate of those around you.

Is the Harvard Credit Union Kresge branch open for business?

The Kresge branch of the Harvard Credit Union, which closed at the beginning of the pandemic, will not be reopened.