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 72 hours, you must create a Color account before you can activate your test kits.

Contact Sarah Stillman, stillman@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 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?

The University has an extensive contact tracing process, both to support individuals who have tested positive and to notify those who may have been exposed to a COVID-positive individual. Individuals determined to be close contacts will be notified by the contact tracers. Learn more here.

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 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 don’t have my vaccine yet. Is Harvard offering them?

Yes, Harvard University Health Services (HUHS) is holding weekly vaccine clinics in the Monks Conference Room, located on the 6th Floor of the Smith Campus Center, 75 Mount Auburn St., Cambridge, MA, on the dates below. Please note, HUHS will continue to update this list as additional vaccine clinic dates are added. More information, including how to schedule a vaccine appointment, can be found here. Upcoming dates:

    • Wednesday, November 10, 2021
    • Thursday, November 18, 2021

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, and high-traffic restrooms
  • 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 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?

 Classroom objectives and the physical spaces for courses vary and therefore options for changing health and safety protocols will need to be considered on a course-by-course basis. 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?

 No. Lecture capture must be requested. It is not automated until a request has been submitted. Then, a member of the Media and Educational Technology Services (METS) team will enter your classes into the system to be captured. The majority of our classrooms have the recording capabilities integrated (see more here). 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 questions about recording options, please contact METS (mediaservices@hsph.harvard.edu).

If I test positive, will my instructor make accommodations so that I can keep up in my class?

 Yes. Instructors will be informed that you are eligible for accommodations by the Office of Student Affairs if you test positive (they will not be told the reason why you are eligible for accommodations).

What if many of my students aren’t regularly showing up for the class I teach, choosing instead to watch the recorded videos? Doesn’t that negate the entire notion of meeting in person?

Courses vary in their requirements but without a formal accommodation or arrangement, the expectation is that students should be showing up and participating in person.

Do I have to wear a mask when I teach? I am concerned that students will have a hard time hearing me through the mask.

The School is requiring all instructors and students to wear masks indoors. We do have a limited number of Environmental Health & Safety-approved transparent masks. If you would like to try using one of these, write to Danny Beaudoin, dbeaudoi@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 Monday-Thursday from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm, with food service stopping at 2:30 pm. Friday hours are 8:00 am to 3:00 pm, with service stopping at 2:30 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, but only in designated indoor eating areas, which include the Kresge cafeteria, Rosenau Atrium, 2nd Floor Lounge, and the FXB Atrium and Mezzanine. Fully vaccinated individuals can remove masks to eat and drink in these areas without physical distancing. Individuals who are not fully vaccinated are asked to maintain six feet of physical distance while eating and drinking indoors. Everyone must put on their masks again as soon as they finish. Eating and drinking is also permitted outdoors.

NOTE: The University has mandated that there be no eating and drinking allowed in classrooms. Students are permitted to take occasional sips of a beverage through a straw inserted under their masks.

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.

Is a cloth mask sufficient to meet the indoor masking requirement at the School?

Harvard Chan School is requiring anyone who enters our buildings to wear a School-provided mask. You’ll find free, pre-approved, three-layer “procedure masks,” individually packaged in white sandwich bags, in the lobbies of the FXB and Kresge buildings, and at the entrances to Harvard Chan School locations in the Landmark building (3D and 4W entrances). Those who wish to add an additional cloth mask over our provided “procedure masks” are welcome to do so. The CDC guidance for how to improve mask fit (including double mask recommendations) is a helpful resource.

Are there guidelines around meetings? If we’re in the office, should we Zoom into meetings from our desks? Or can we hold meetings as long as we are masked and distanced around a conference table?

The guidelines for meetings are the same as the guidelines for classes and for being in our buildings. People must wear masks. There are no physical distancing requirements for vaccinated people. No eating is allowed at meetings.

Are the HMS Countway and Quad tents available for use? Can I reserve the tents for events?

The tents are available for use as break space for members of the Harvard Longwood community and cannot be reserved for use. Classes, meetings, and other events are not permitted in the tents.

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.