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COVID-19 Guidance Update and University Travel Update

Dear Members of the Harvard Community,

We are writing with updates on our evolving COVID-19 policies. We continue our daily monitoring of cases and other key indicators, including hospitalizations.
While we have seen recent increases in cases, they are not as high as what we saw in January, and the increases are consistent with virus levels that the state of Massachusetts is reporting through its tracking of sewer wastewater. Thanks to our community’s high vaccination and booster rate, recent cases continue to be largely mild. However, you should still take steps to avoid getting infected, just as you would want to avoid getting the flu.

Public Health Practices
Each of us controls what steps we can take to protect ourselves. Use the knowledge about local disease prevalence to inform your own behavior, especially if you or a household member is at high risk due to age, lack of immunization, or medical issues. If you are concerned about potential exposures, you can reduce your own risk by wearing a high-quality mask that fits securely without air gaps. We must also respect the decisions of those who choose to wear a mask in unmasked settings; each person’s situation and risks are different. If you test positive, please note that masks should also be worn for the full 10 days after a positive test.
If you feel the need to wear a mask for your own protection, or to protect someone close to you, you should do so. Everyone should continue carry a mask when coming to campus in case it becomes necessary to wear it.
See mask guidance here.
It is also important to practice proper hand hygiene. Hand washing can reduce the risk of catching a wide range of illnesses. To review proper hand hygiene, visit the CDC website. If you feel sick for any reason, please stay home and avoid interacting with others in person.
Please do the following:

  • If you have symptoms or exposure, test yourself using Color or a rapid antigen test.
  • If you test positive, follow strict masking for the full 10 days, even after you are finished with home isolation. Please follow the University’s guidance provided on the Keep Harvard Healthy website.
  • Let HUHS know (via Crimson Clear) if you test positive outside of Harvard’s testing program.
  • Let HUHS know if you are admitted to the hospital so we can understand the severity of illness in our community, and so we can offer support and guidance.
  • If you are at high risk for complications and test positive, please contact your healthcare provider as soon as you have even mild symptoms, because early treatment can prevent worsening of disease.
  • Activate MassNotify on your phone to participate in voluntary electronic contact tracing. 

Travel Policy Updates
Since the onset of the pandemic, we have adjusted our travel guidance as needed to protect individual travelers, the Harvard community, and the communities to which we travel. With a high vaccination rate and low infection rate in our community, we write with two updates to our COVID-19 travel guidance, effective immediately, removing the requirements for petitions and attestations:

  • First, Harvard travelers who are not vaccinated are no longer required to submit travel petitions for their Harvard-related travel within the United States or internationally.
  • Second, vaccinated and boosted Harvard travelers are no longer required to submit a vaccination attestation form.

As travel still poses risk, individuals should take appropriate precautions before deciding to travel domestically or internationally. Travelers must adhere to the COVID-19 travel requirements before, during, and after travel, as well as supplemental School or Unit policies. The University remains committed to facilitating travel, which is critical to many of our academic and professional pursuits, under safe conditions. We will continue to adjust the University’s travel guidance and requirements in response to changing conditions. 

International Travel Registration is Required
Students, faculty, staff, and researchers who are traveling internationally must register their Harvard-related international travel with International SOS, the University’s emergency response provider. You can learn more about the benefits of registering international travel with the University’s emergency response provider.
Travel Reimbursement Policy 
Proof of registration is required for international travel reimbursement. Travelers booking tickets through a Harvard preferred agency will automatically be registered with International SOS. The latest travel and reimbursement guidance details the reimbursement process.
We thank you for your continued adherence to policies and for your flexibility when changes occur. We will continue to monitor COVID-19 and update you with any changes when necessary.

Giang T. Nguyen
Executive Director, Harvard University Health Services
Mark C. Elliott
Vice Provost for International Affairs