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COVID Update – Winter Session Travel

Dear Members of the Harvard Community,

With the rapid increase in COVID-19 cases locally, nationally, and around the globe—now driven by the highly transmissible Omicron variant—there is a much greater chance of experiencing travel disruptions in the next few weeks. Additionally, travel can increase the risks of exposure for you and the communities you visit.

At present, there is no change to existing policy on University-related travel. However, given current developments, if you are planning University-related domestic or international travel in the next few weeks, we urge you to reconsider those plans. Ask whether the travel needs to occur now or if it can be delayed. If it is necessary, please be certain to register your international travel as required and review Harvard Global Support Services’ advice for developing a safe travel plan, including the following:

  • Pay close attention to the specific public health requirements for your destination and return location. They are changing rapidly. Check with your airlines and travel providers about last-minute changes.
  • Follow destination-specific testing requirements and take a COVID-19 test early enough to ensure that you have a result before you leave.  Test again upon your return. This reduces the chance that you will expose other travelers along your journey.
  • Abide by local health mandates, wear your mask properly, maintain distance when possible, and practice good hygiene.  During travel, try not to remove your mask to eat or drink when others nearby are unmasked, such as during meal service on planes.
  • Have a contingency plan for travel disruptions or prolonged stays if you test positive for COVID-19. Many hospital systems in the United States and abroad are now or may soon be overwhelmed, compromising access to testing and medical care.
  • Around the globe, governments may implement tighter border restrictions, entry/exit requirements, and internal measures (e.g., stay-at-home orders) to slow the spread of COVID-19. They may do so with little to no notice. Those changes could make it difficult for you to access necessities and services, to accomplish the goals of your trip, and to return on schedule.

Many community members face decisions regarding personal travel. Your decision to undertake travel for personal purposes is not subject to University policy and should be based on individual considerations. Please take the necessary steps to reduce the risk of contracting and transmitting the virus that causes COVID-19 for yourself and others, which includes getting a vaccine booster, masking, minimizing contact, distancing, and testing, whether you travel or not.

Thank you for your commitment to maintain the health and safety of our community and the communities to which you travel.

Sincerely,

Alan M. Garber
Provost

Katie Lapp
Executive Vice President

Giang T. Nguyen
Executive Director, Harvard University Health Services

Mark C. Elliott
Vice Provost for International Affairs