Student Message (11/18/21) – Additional COVID Testing After Recesses

Dear Harvard Chan students,

The School is pleased with how well the members of our community—students, staff, faculty, and other academic appointees—are following our COVID-19 health and safety protocols. As a result, we have had very few cases of COVID-19 at Harvard Chan School.  Thank you!

As we look forward to the Thanksgiving and Winter recesses, when many people will be traveling and spending time away from campus, we wanted to let you know that the School will require additional COVID-19 testing when people return to campus after each of these breaks.

The upcoming break periods for students are the following:

  • Thanksgiving Recess:  Wednesday, November 24 – Sunday, November 28, 2021
    • School reopens on Monday, November 29, 2021
  • Winter Recess: Saturday, December 18, 2021 – Sunday, January 2, 2022
    • School reopens on Monday, January 3, 2022
  • WinterSession: Monday, January 3, 2022 – Friday, January 21, 2022
  • Spring semester: Begins: Monday, January 24, 2022

In accordance with our standard practices, students are not permitted on campus during the Thanksgiving or Winter recesses unless you are specifically authorized (e.g., working in a wet lab), and the cafeteria will be closed.

The School’s requirements for COVID-19 testing are outlined and explained below:
COVID-19 Testing for Students During Recesses and When Returning to Campus

Thanksgiving Recess
Wednesday, 11/24 – Sunday, 11/28 Campus access restricted, as always
School re-opens Monday, 11/29 Test first day back on campus
Winter Recess and WinterSession: All students will be switched to “intermittent” testing schedule
Winter Recess
Saturday, 12/18 – Sunday, 1/2 Campus access restricted, as always
School reopens Monday, 1/3 Test first day back on campus
WinterSession: Monday, 1/3 – Friday, 1/21 If on campus, test first day back, and then resume normal testing cadence
Spring semester: Starts Monday, 1/24 If returning to campus for the first time, test first day back, and then resume normal testing cadence

When you return to campus for the first time after the Thanksgiving Recess and after the Winter Recess, the School is requiring that you complete a COVID-19 test through COLOR on your first day back to campus, even if this day is not part of your regular testing cadence. However, you do not need to have a confirmed negative test result before coming back to campus or attending classes.

After this “first day back to campus” test, you should return to your standard testing cadence day(s) as noted in Crimson Clear. Depending on your regular testing day(s), this means you may be doing an extra test during the first week you are on campus after each of these breaks. For example, if you normally test on Wednesday and your first day back on campus is Monday, you will test on Monday and Wednesday of the first week back.

*Note: An email went out to COLOR users last week that not everyone may have received or had a chance to read. As noted in the email, COLOR users at Harvard are not allowed to add a dependent to their COLOR account.

Testing during WinterSession: We know that many of you will be away from campus for an extended period during WinterSession. In order to make sure you do not become non-compliant when you are away, we plan to do the following:

  • We will switch all students to an intermittent testing schedule from December 18 through January 24: This means that you will not be required to test unless you are on campus.
    • However, if you would like to continue to test during WinterSession (1/3 – 1/23) even if you are not taking a course or participating in other activities on campus, you are welcome to do so.
  • If you are on campus during WinterSession for an in-person course or other activities (including using the building for studying), you should test in accordance with your regular testing cadence during the periods you are on campus.
    • For example, if you take a course that meets only during the first week of WinterSession, you should test on the first day that the course meets, and then on your normal testing days. If you are not on campus for the next two weeks, you do not need to test. However, you are required to test on the first day you are on campus for the Spring semester.
  • All students will return to their normal testing cadence on Monday, January 24, 2022 and be expected to test their first day back to campus.
  • If you live in Harvard Housing, please follow the specific directions you have been given about remaining in testing compliance with the requirements of your housing during these recess periods. Otherwise, you should follow the general instructions above for return to campus testing.

If you have any additional questions regarding testing during these recess periods and WinterSession, please be in contact with Sarah Stillman, the Harvard Chan COVID-19 Student Testing Coordinator at

Nancy and Sarah

Nancy Turnbull, Senior Associate Dean for Educational Programs
Sarah Stillman, Office of Education Course Manager