Skip to main content

Essential Personnel Protocol

Dear Members of the Harvard Community,

Today Governor Baker issued an emergency order requiring all businesses and organizations that do not provide essential services to close their physical workplaces and facilities as of Tuesday, March 24th, at noon. At Governor Baker’s direction, the Department of Public Health also has issued a stay at home advisory. The order will stay in effect for two weeks until noon on Tuesday, April 7th, though of course it may be extended as circumstances evolve. While the order is not significantly different than the measures we have already implemented for remote teaching, learning, researching, and working, it does have additional implications for the University’s operations and critical personnel.

These state-wide measures are designed to compel residents to stay in their homes and limit movement to obtaining food, gas, or other essentials, to receiving necessary health care, or to provide essential services and functions, as defined in the emergency order. All workers performing essential services and functions must maintain social distancing protocols and follow any other applicable guidance from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. The Governor has also further restricted meetings from 25 to 10 individuals.

In response, our emergency management team has been preparing protocols and defining the list of critical personnel—those who absolutely must remain on campus—in the context of this public health crisis. Note that the definition of “essential” under the Governor’s emergency order may differ from past lists. Please contact your manager if you have any questions about your role, and heed additional guidance from your School or Unit leadership. 

This development is no doubt adding to heightened anxiety and concern as we are all dealing with new challenges compounded by uncertainty. Whether you have already stopped coming to campus, will now be required to stop coming to campus, or will remain on campus in an essential function, we are grateful for the work you are doing to keep the University operational, and our community members safe.

Again, please look for additional guidance from your School or Unit and be in contact with your manager or local HR office with any questions. You can also visit the remote work section of the University coronavirus website for updated information.


Katie Lapp

Executive Vice President