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COVID-19 Guidelines and Travel Guidance Updates

Dear Members of the Harvard Community,

This week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provided guiding principles for fully vaccinated people. If you are fully vaccinated, you can resume many activities that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic, though additional state, local, and campus restrictions may apply, including physical distancing. We continue to urge all community members to get vaccinated, for your own safety as well as for the safety of those around you.

Massachusetts also announced that as of today, April 30, you don’t need to wear a mask outdoors as long as you can maintain a distance of six feet from other people. Starting May 10, the state will begin relaxing some of its capacity restrictions for certain industries and activities. For the time being, however, on-campus capacity limits and mask requirements will remain unchanged at Harvard. The University is reviewing federal, state, and local government guidance in order to update public health approaches on campus. You can find the latest information on the University’s coronavirus website

Updated Travel Guidance Effective May 15
With all adults in the U.S. now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, the CDC recently announced that fully vaccinated people can travel at low risk to themselves. These developments have led us to conclude that certain Harvard-related travel can resume while continuing to protect our community and the communities to which we travel. 

The current University travel guidance remains in effect through May 14.

For travel that begins May 15 or later, the following travel guidance and petition process will apply for Harvard-related travel.

Who can travel without petitioning:
Harvard faculty, students, postdoctoral fellows, and staff who are fully vaccinated may undertake Harvard-related travel within the U.S., or to any country rated Level 1 or Level 2 for COVID-19 by the CDC.
  • Travelers are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their final dose of an FDA-authorized vaccine (currently Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson) or a vaccine authorized for emergency use by the World Health Organization (e.g., AstraZeneca/Oxford). 
  • Travelers are required to attest that they are fully vaccinated at the time of travel and that they have submitted proof of their vaccination to Harvard University Health Services (HUHS) at  
  • Travelers should learn about public health conditions and relevant restrictions at their destination and adhere to any required health and safety measures while in transit and upon arrival, which may include testing, quarantining, mask wearing, hand washing/sanitizing, and physical distancing.
  • As always, undergraduate, graduate, and professional students must also comply with the student pre-departure requirements for any Harvard-sponsored international travel.
Who must petition to be able to travel:
Harvard faculty, doctoral students, postdoctoral fellows, and staff who are not fully vaccinated or who wish to travel to a country rated Level 3, Level 4, or Level Unknown for COVID-19 regardless of their vaccination status, may petition for an exemption to Harvard’s travel restriction if they meet certain criteria.

Please note that the travel policy and petition process do not apply to affiliates or visitors who are traveling inbound to the Cambridge/Boston area for approved work or for moving into or out of on-campus housing. 

We recognize that some community members have already arranged for remote summer experiences and that summer travel may not be feasible now because funding is not available or because logistical arrangements cannot be changed. Individuals may wish to work with their funding or program contacts to discuss whether adjustments are still possible.

As always, we will continue to monitor public health conditions and adjust the University’s travel guidance and petition process accordingly. We appreciate the patience, understanding, and care that our community has shown in helping to minimize the spread of the coronavirus. As more members of our community and the world’s population are vaccinated, we are optimistic that the global public health situation will improve. That will enable us once again to pursue academic, research, and professional interests wherever they might lead. 


Alan M. Garber

Katie Lapp
Executive Vice President

Mark C. Elliott
Vice Provost for International Affairs

Giang T. Nguyen
Executive Director, Harvard University Health Services