Frequently Asked Questions

The FAQs on this page reflect the University’s current coronavirus policies and resources. We will continue to update our guidance and add to these FAQs as needed. In addition to the University-wide information, you should also review your School and Department-specific FAQs for local guidance:

A.R.T. | Business | College | Dental | Design | Divinity | Education | Extension | FAS | Government | GSAS | HIO | HUH | HUITHSCRB | Library | Law | Medical | OFAPublic Health | Radcliffe | SEAS & FAS Division of Science

Campus Operations and Contingency Planning

Is the University closed?

The University remains open and operational with appropriate measures to protect the health of the community.

Effective March 10, Harvard will begin transitioning to online instruction for all graduate and undergraduate classes, to the greatest extent possible. Additionally, all students are asked not to return to campus after the Spring Recess and to meet academic requirements remotely until further notice; for many students, this may mean moving home. Students who need to remain on campus will also receive instruction remotely and must prepare for severely limited on-campus activities and interactions. All graduate students will transition to remote work wherever possible. Our goal is to have this transition complete by the time classes resume following Spring Recess, on March 23. See Teach Remotely and Learn Remotely for more information.

Beginning the week of March 16, Harvard's Schools and Units will transition to remote work and research to the extent they are able until further notice. Approaches and timelines may vary across the Schools, Units, and labs. We recognize certain critical staff must be on campus to sustain research and labs, support the residential population still on campus, and keep the University healthy and secure. Because the situation is constantly evolving, all employees should follow the guidance of their local School or department. See Work Remotely for more information.

What is the University doing to protect the community?

The health and success of our community, on and off campus, is at the forefront of our decision making. Please know that we have been actively contingency planning across our Schools and Units for a range of operational scenarios. Our goal in transitioning to remote teaching, learning, researching, and working is to protect the broader community. By reducing the number of people and opportunities for transmission of the virus on campus, we also make it possible for those who must work on campus to effectively employ social distancing strategies. These are not decisions we made lightly, but ones that we felt were right to slow the potential transmission of the virus and protect vulnerable populations from exposure. All members of the Harvard community are asked to help in these social distancing efforts. We will continue to make informed decisions based on the latest science and what is best to protect the health of all members of our community while sustaining the University's central operations in support of our teaching and research mission.  

Have any decisions been made about summer programs or travel?

Not yet. The coronavirus pandemic is evolving daily, and we simply cannot predict what may occur in the next few weeks and months. We are currently focused on transitioning classes online, helping students move off campus, and contingency planning for workforce scenarios that support our mission of teaching and scholarship. The University will provide updates regarding summer at the appropriate time.

How can I donate personal protective equipment (PPE) and supplies?

The global Harvard University community has united in its response to the unprecedented challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic—including offers of assistance and donations of supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE) from faculty, researchers, staff, students, alumni, and friends. See PPE and Supply Donations for the latest guidance on how you can support these efforts.

Classes, Coursework, and Clinicals

How long will classes be online only?

Effective March 10, Harvard will begin transitioning to online instruction for all graduate and undergraduate classes, to the greatest extent possible for the weeks ahead. Our goal is to have this transition complete by the time classes resume following Spring Recess on March 23. Given the hands-on nature of certain classes and clinical requirements for degree completion, individual Schools are working closely with their faculty and will communicate their specific instruction plans to students. 

Can I attend classes in person if I live nearby?

No. Effective March 10, Harvard will begin transitioning to online instruction for all graduate and undergraduate classes, to the greatest extent possible. Given the hands-on nature of certain classes and clinical requirements for degree completion, individual Schools will communicate their specific instruction plans to students and faculty. Although there may be extenuating circumstances for some students to remain on campus, their instruction will be remote, and they will need to be prepared for severely limited on-campus activities and interactions. See Teach Remotely and Learn Remotely for more information.

What if I don't have reliable internet access at home, or my connection is slow?

Check out Harvard University Information Technology's (HUIT) tips for getting online during the COVID-19 period, including providers who are offering free or discounted internet and increased data allowances. If you have internet at home, review the tips for improving connection problems.

How will time zone differences be handled?

If you know you will be in a time zone that will make the regular class time difficult for you to attend, we advise you let the faculty and teaching staff know as soon as possible. This will help them to make alterations to the teaching plan that will best accommodate the geographic spread of the students.

If class meetings are scheduled at a time that you cannot attend, write directly to the faculty and teaching staff to ask about expectations for attendance and alternative options.

How will clinicals and in-person requirements be handled?

Schools are working closely with faculty to determine how courses can be meaningfully completed remotely. Should there be components of the class that simply cannot be done that way, Schools are working with faculty on alternate arrangements. Given the hands-on nature of certain classes and clinical requirements for degree completion, individual Schools will communication their specific instruction plans to students and faculty. For questions about specific courses, students should contact the instructor of the course.

Dining and Housing

Also see: Harvard University Housing FAQs

I can’t move home. Can I stay on campus?

We know there will be difficult and extenuating circumstances for students who cannot leave campus by March 23 or do not have another place to go. Harvard will provide you the help you need to stay safe, secure, and continue with your academic work. We ask you to communicate with your School to make appropriate on-campus accommodations. Current Harvard University Housing (HUH) residents should contact the HUH leasing team at leasing@harvard.edu with questions. If you're not a current HUH resident, you may also wish to visit Off Campus Housing Partners to explore options in the area. Please note that these listing are not inspected, verified, or endorsed by HUH.

Students who need to remain on campus may need to relocate to a different room or unit. Although you may remain on campus, your instruction will be remote, and you will need to be prepared for severely limited on-campus activities and interactions. We encourage you to review your School-specific coronavirus page for more information.

I live in HUH with a signed lease. Can I break the lease and stop paying rent if I leave campus?

Yes. For residents who wish to terminate their current HUH lease or housing contract, rent will be pro-rated if you vacate the apartment and leave campus. All obligations under the lease will end on your vacate date. Contact leasing@harvard.edu with questions.

Will the cafes and dining halls remain open after spring break?

On March 15, 2020, Massachusetts Governor Baker announced that beginning on March 17 and effective until April 6, all food and drink must be taken to go and may not be consumed on-premise in support of the social distancing protocols set forth by the Department of Public Health. This includes our dining halls. All students remaining on campus will be asked to utilize the dining halls for takeout only during this time.

For retail cafes operated by Harvard University Dining Services (HUDS), updates regarding openings, closings and altered hours will be posted on the HUDS website.

How do I forward my mail?

See Harvard Mail and Print Services for instructions on how to forward your campus mail.

Employees and Workforce

Also see: HR's coronavirus workplace policies | HR's updated health plan enhancements

Can employees work remotely?

Yes. Although approaches and timelines varied across the Schools and Units, most staff already began working remotely the week of March 16 and will continue to do so until further notice. 

Effective March 24 at noon and in accordance with Massachusetts' stay-at-home advisory, only those staff who are designated as critical personnel in the context of this public health crisis should come to work if they are well. Certain critical staff must be on campus to sustain research and labs, support the residential population still on campus, and keep the University healthy and secure.

Because the situation is constantly evolving, all employees should follow the guidance of their local School or department. See Work Remotely for more information.

If I can’t work remotely, will I still be paid?

Yes. As a general principle, Harvard is committed to sustaining the pay continuity for our dedicated and talented workforce. The University continues to place its highest priority on the health, safety and wellbeing of the Harvard community. Toward that end, and effective immediately, Harvard's workplace policies have been enhanced.

  • People who continue working (remotely or on campus) will be paid as they are normally.
  • For Harvard employees (core staff including administrative/professional, support staff, and service and trade workers) who are well and available to work, but their duties cannot be performed remotely or because of the shifts in population on campus they no longer have work to perform, the University will guarantee their regular pay and benefits through May 28, 2020.
    • Additionally, we will expand eligibility for this guarantee of pay and benefits to part-time contingent employees who are less than half time (LHT).
  • For contract employees of Harvard’s 14 major suppliers working in dining, custodial, and security roles, the University will provide financial relief in the form of pay and benefits between March 10 and May 28, 2020, if they are well and available for work but displaced from their contract assignments due to the COVID-19 public health emergency and unable to obtain new assignments. The University is working with these suppliers to ensure its financial support will be used for the direct benefit and financial relief of contract food service workers, custodians, and security guards.

See additional enhanced workplace policies on the HR website for full details. Given the rapid changes concerning COVID-19, HR will continue to review and revise the policies as the situation evolves.

Does the guarantee of salary until May 28, 2020 cover Harvard paid research assistants, postdocs, fellows, PhD students and research associates?

Yes, all research scholars, including, but not limited to fellows, postdoctoral fellows, research fellows, PhD students, and research associates (referred to as non-faculty academic appointees), who receive payments from Harvard, whether stipend or salary, also are included.

How long will pay and benefits (if applicable) be guaranteed for eligible Harvard-paid non-faculty academic appointees?

Until May 28 (Harvard’s Commencement day), except for those who were scheduled to terminate, or whose appointments end, sooner. A paid excused absence may be used to ensure pay continuity if work is unable to be performed remotely, up to the regular or standard workweek for the position. The excused absence option will end on the day of a previously scheduled termination or other appointment end date if it is earlier than May 28.

When an hourly staff member is getting a paid, emergency excused absence, are they entitled to a shift differential on that pay, when they normally work hours that entitle them to one?

Yes. If staff members are well and available to work, but are not working because their work cannot be done remotely or because of a curtailment in Harvard operations, then they are eligible for a paid, emergency excused absence. The emergency excused absence pay will include a shift differential if their regular Harvard job was during hours that always or usually entitled them to a shift differential.

Staff members who continue to work hours that entitle them to a shift differential (on-campus or remotely) should continue to be paid a shift differential. However, staff members who continue to work, on campus or remotely, but not during hours that entitle them to a shift differential, will get regular pay. This is true even if, before the COVID-19 emergency, they were working hours that paid a shift differential.

If students are no longer on campus, shouldn’t all employees work from home?

Not necessarily. The work of certain critical staff requires them to be on campus to support the academic mission and activities of the University, including assisting the residential population that remains on campus and keeping the University healthy and secure.

For critical staff who must remain on campus, Harvard is focused on measures that will be most effective, including promoting good hygiene practices, extra surface cleaning, social distancing, and restrictions on travel, meetings, events, and visitors. See Work Remotely for more information.

Can job interviews for open positions be conducted in person?

No. Job interviews for open positions should be conducted remotely via video- or teleconferencing tools like Zoom, or by telephone. Whatever approach you take, use it consistently with all applicants to the same job, so none are disadvantaged. Using fair hiring practices remains important.

Should I come to work if I’ve had direct or indirect contact with a person diagnosed with or under investigation for COVID-19?

Review Harvard University Health Services' (HUHS) guide to determine whether you should self-isolate.  If you're unsure whether to come to work, we encourage you to email HUHS, healthservices@huhs.harvard.edu, for additional guidance. HUHS clinical staff and medical professionals are best equipped to offer advice based on factors such as how direct or indirect the contact was, travel or exposure to travelers, health history, and symptoms.

For employees who do not receive their care at HUHS: If you’re being tested for COVID-19, or if you’ve received a positive test result for COVID-19, please immediately notify HUHS at healthservices@huhs.harvard.edu. We appreciate your help in protecting our entire community. 

If you're concerned about potential exposure to individuals who have been tested or tested positive: Contact investigation and notification is overseen by the local Department of Public Health. Any persons who have had close contact with those individuals in question have been notified by the Department of Public Health in accordance with standard public health principles. If you have not been notified, then you are not deemed to have an increased risk because of exposure to these individuals.

How do I know if I’m an essential or critical employee?

Your manager will communicate with you about defining the list of critical personnel—those who absolutely must remain on campus—in the context of this public health crisis. Because Harvard is a 24/7 residential university, many employees must work on campus to provide essential services for residential life, campus health and safety, critical research, the protection of physical and intellectual assets, or the continuity or resumption of academic programs and operations. Note that the definition of “essential” under Massachusetts' emergency order may differ from past University essential personnel listsPlease contact your manager if you have any questions about your role, and heed additional guidance from your School or Unit leadership.

HR is working on enhanced measures and policies to support all employees. Review the HR coronavirus workforce policies, talk with your manager about your concerns, and consult with your local HR office.

Can I be refunded for a cancelled trip or event?

We understand the University's coronavirus-related policies have financial implications. Some transit providers are offering travel waivers or waiving cancellation fees in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

For staff and faculty travelling on University business, the Harvard Travel Policy allows for reimbursement of cancellation or change fees with a valid reason. The current Coronavirus pandemic meets this requirement. Review FAD’s travel cancellation and reimbursement FAQs for more information, including for sponsored and non-sponsored funds.

Harvard’s Financial Administration is working with each School’s and Unit’s financial staff on guidance. In the interim, you may want to use the March 6 University-wide email and the information on harvard.edu/coronavirus in cancellation or reimbursement discussions with travel and event vendors.

Can I have department mail delivered off campus?

Since so many University staff are working remotely and there's a strong desire to reduce close contact on campus, Harvard University Mail Services (HUMS) is offering the following:

  • Each department can have departmental mail sent to a single home address of its choosing.
    • This will include USPS Parcels, First Class mail, or mail with endorsements requiring forwarding.
    • This will not include standard/marketing mail, periodicals, or non-profit pieces.

Mail will be bundled and shipped USPS First Class/Priority mail unless otherwise requested. We can also provide a tracking number so you can monitor the progress of your package. Again, each department can select ONE off-campus address to have this material sent. To learn more, visit the HUMS website.

Events and Meetings

Also see: Meeting & Event Guidance

Should I cancel my on-campus event or meeting?

We strongly urge canceling non-essential events or meetings of 10 people or more. This social distancing measure will limit the spread of illness. For gatherings of any size, take steps to lower risk: use video- and teleconferencing options such as Zoom; and remind attendees to practice social distancing and avoid shaking hands. Ensure easy access to handwashing facilities and have alcohol-based sanitizers readily available.

Events with speakers invited from off campus—whether the speakers are international or domesticshould be cancelled, postponed, or conducted remotely. The purpose of this guidance is to reduce the chance of transmitting illness into or out of the Harvard community.

When and how can employees use Zoom for meetings?

Given the extraordinary additional demand anticipated, and our need to prioritize academic use, below are some basic guidelines for employees using Zoom sensibly:

  • Consider whether you need to hold a meeting.
  • Use alternative means to communicate when possible (telephone, Slack, Microsoft Teams, email).
  • If you hold a Zoom meeting, keep it short.
  • Video calls are most effective when they are 45-min or less.
  • Consider adopting a 10-min “stand-up” approach—a meeting not long enough to sit down—and focus on priorities of the day
  • Close out of your Zoom session when you are done. Do not host a persistent Zoom session.
What is the plan for Commencement?

The 369th Commencement Exercises must be postponed, but we will come together online on Thursday, May 28, to award degrees so that everyone will graduate as expected. Each School at Harvard will also host its own special online event and afterwards deliver diplomas through the mail. We plan to host an in-person celebration sometime later, once we know it is safe to bring people together again. See President Larry Bacow's Commencement email to the Harvard community and FAQs from the Commencement Office for more information.

Financial Matters for Students

Also see: Student Health Insurance FAQs

Will my tuition be refunded or discounted for the Spring semester?

Our goal is to ensure that instruction continues throughout the semester. In that case, as long as instruction continues, tuition will not be refunded.

What about room and board costs?

Room and board costs will be pro-rated for the remainder of the year for all students leaving campus and completely vacating their housing. Additional information on calculating and processing refunds will be forthcoming.

What about activity and/or student fees?

Activity and student fees will be reviewed on a school-by-school basis.

Will my Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) work if I am away from the University?

The Student Health Insurance Plan provides coverage for hospitalizations, specialty care, mental health, and prescription medications throughout the United States and abroad. For more information on the Student Health Insurance Plan benefits and coverage, you can view the Harvard University Student Health Program (HUSHP) website or contact HUSHP Member Services at 617-495-2008.

The Harvard Student Health Insurance Plan provides coverage for mental health inpatient and outpatient services outside of Harvard University Health Services (HUHS). Students can find a participating in-network provider by searching the Blue Cross Blue Shield of MA (BCBSMA) Find-A-Doctor website (the network is PPO or EPO) or by calling the BCBSMA Behavioral Health Coordination Line at 877-566-2583. The representatives answering these calls are trained to help you find the right provider based on your concerns and the location where you wish to receive care. Students who waived the Harvard Student Health Insurance Plan should check with their private insurance for questions about their provider network, coverage rules, and potential out-of-pocket costs.

Do I still have to pay the Student Health Fee?

Harvard University Health Services (HUHS) will remain open, and services that can be provided by a telephone call will shift to remote delivery for the continuation of many medical services that students can continue to use while away from campus. In-person Urgent Care hours are from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week. Visit the HUHS website for details on this temporary new model of care. We have no current plans to rebate the Student Health Fee at this time.

I cannot afford a plane, bus, or train ticket. Will my moving/transportation/local storage costs be reimbursed?

We recognize that our efforts to ensure the safety of the entire community have raised unanticipated challenges. We are fully committed to ensuring that we help students who need support with unanticipated costs. If you are currently receiving financial aid, please reach out to your local School’s financial aid office for guidance.

I live in Harvard University housing (HUH) with a signed lease; can I break the lease and stop paying rent if I leave campus?

Yes. For those residents who wish to terminate their current lease or housing contract, rent will be pro-rated if you vacate the apartment and leave campus.

I am an undergraduate student and have a job on campus. Will I continue to be paid if I’m not at work?

If you can continue to perform your job in a remote setting, you will continue to be paid without changes or interruptions. Talk with your supervisor about the tasks that you can continue to do safely from a distance, and be clear about how to report your time.

If you held a position that you are unable to continue in a remote setting, we encourage you to visit the Harvard College Student Employment Office website and review other opportunities for the remainder of the term. Consult with the Student Employment Office about how to apply for and be hired into a new job.

As indicated in the Harvard College Dean of Students Office Coronavirus FAQs, all undergraduate students who had a term-time work expectation as part of their financial aid packages for this semester will have one half of that expectation removed from their financial aid packages. For example, a spring term-time work expectation of $1,750 will be reduced to $875 and the corresponding amount replaced with additional Harvard scholarship. Undergraduate students will see this as an increase of Harvard scholarship aid on their student account.

Will financial aid decisions be reconsidered for Spring 2020 or Fall 2020 given the emerging economic changes?

We are always open to discussing changes in student circumstances and needs they may have. Consistent with prior years, students should be in touch with their local financial aid offices to discuss any material changes to their individual or family financial status.

I am a graduate student. Will I still receive my stipend?

Yes.

I am a graduate student worker. Will I continue to be paid?

The University continues to evaluate the shifting administrative landscape during the coronavirus pandemic. Graduate student work, as part of that landscape, is an essential driver of the University’s mission. Where possible, the University expectation is that the work that graduate students are compensated for should continue. If work assignments are not possible to complete using online or distance learning technologies, supervisors are encouraged to find other opportunities for graduate student workers to complete their work commitments, including shifting jobs and job descriptions to alternate assignments in order to fulfill their employment obligations. If this is not possible, graduate student workers who are unable to work due to the pandemic will still be compensated to the end of work expectation within the spring 2020 semester.

Health

Also see: Student Health Insurance FAQs | HR's updated health plan enhancements

How can I protect myself and others?
  • Practice universal social distancing measures, including maintaining a six-foot distance from others, respectively staying away from sick people, limiting your movements, and avoiding public spaces and large, crowded gatherings. Universal social distancing is critical to protecting everyone.
  • Promote good, basic hygiene, including washing your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds; avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth; coughing/sneezing into a tissue or your sleeve; avoiding close contact with those who are sick; and staying home when you are sick. 
  • Know when and how to wash your hands and use sanitizer.
  • Take steps to lower your risk at meetings and events, including holding video- or teleconference meetings, modifying in-person interactions, and maintaining a 6-foot distance.
  • Review Harvard University Health Services' (HUHS) guide to determine whether you should self-isolate.

For employees who do not receive their care at Harvard University Health Services (HUHS): If you’re being tested for COVID-19, or if you’ve received a positive test result for COVID-19, please immediately notify HUHS at healthservices@huhs.harvard.edu. We appreciate your help in protecting our entire community. 

If you're concerned about potential exposure to individuals who have been tested or tested positive: Contact investigation and notification is overseen by the local Department of Public Health. Any persons who have had close contact with those individuals in question have been notified by the Department of Public Health in accordance with standard public health principles. If you have not been notified, then you are not deemed to have an increased risk because of exposure to these individuals.

What should I do if I feel sick?

COVID-19 symptoms include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. If you’re concerned that you may have been exposed to COVID-19 but do not have symptoms, review Harvard University Health Services' (HUHS) guide for self-isolation/quarantine.

If you have symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) or need further advice, contact your Primary Care Provider or email HUHS at healthservices@huhs.harvard.edu.

Anyone with flu-like symptoms should contact their Primary Care Provider or HUHS at healthservices@huhs.harvard.edu for advice. Your Primary Care Provider or HUHS will help you determine whether to get assessment or treatment. Medical professionals are best equipped to offer advice based on factors such as how direct or indirect an individual’s contact with coronavirus was, recent travel history, an individual’s personal health history, and any symptoms that person may be experiencing.

For employees who do not receive their care at HUHS: If you’re being tested for COVID-19, or if you’ve received a positive test result for COVID-19, please immediately notify HUHS at healthservices@huhs.harvard.edu. We appreciate your help in protecting our entire community. 

If you're concerned about potential exposure to individuals who have been tested or tested positive: Contact investigation and notification is overseen by the local Department of Public Health. Any persons who have had close contact with those individuals in question have been notified by the Department of Public Health in accordance with standard public health principles. If you have not been notified, then you are not deemed to have an increased risk because of exposure to these individuals.

Should I self isolate if I've been in contact with someone being tested for COVID-19 or who has tested positive?

Review Harvard University Health Services' (HUHS) guide to determine whether you should self-isolate.  Then contact your Primary Care Provider or email HUHS, healthservices@huhs.harvard.edu, for additional guidance. Medical professionals are best equipped to offer advice based on factors such as how direct or indirect an individual’s contact with coronavirus was, recent travel history, an individual’s personal health history, and any symptoms that person may be experiencing.

For employees who do not receive their care at HUHS: If you’re being tested for COVID-19, or if you’ve received a positive test result for COVID-19, please immediately notify HUHS at healthservices@huhs.harvard.edu. We appreciate your help in protecting our entire community. 

If you're concerned about potential exposure to individuals who have been tested or tested positive: Contact investigation and notification is overseen by the local Department of Public Health. Any persons who have had close contact with those individuals in question have been notified by the Department of Public Health in accordance with standard public health principles. If you have not been notified, then you are not deemed to have an increased risk because of exposure to these individuals.

How can I practice social distancing?

Social distancing is a way to reduce exposure, slow the spread, and minimize transmission of contagious diseases. We must practice universal social distancing to protect everyone. Limit your movements outside of your home. Avoid public spaces, large gatherings, and proximity in confined spaces. Maintain at least a 6-foot distance between yourself and others when you go out. Avoid shaking hands with anyone and close physical contact with individuals displaying symptoms. Use collaboration, video conferencing, and teleconferencing tools instead of holding in-person meetings when possible. All members of the Harvard community are asked to help in these social distancing efforts.

My parents are over 60 years old and want me to come home and stay with them during the COVID-19 crisis. How do I explain to them that it’s better for me to stay away?

The CDC has advised that everyone practice social distancing to prevent vulnerable people - including people over 60 - from getting sick. Symptoms take between 2 and 14 days to manifest so to be as cautious as possible, consider the possibility that you might be a carrier. Stress that staying away is one way to avoid passing on any potential infection. You could point them to these statistics about infection in people over 65. Talk with them about different ways to stay connected remotely.

I’m feeling anxious. Who can I talk to?

We recognize the anxiety and emotional strain that these circumstances may place on all of us. As information about Coronavirus unfolds and response plans are implemented, there can be a wide range of thoughts, feelings and reactions. Review Harvard University Health Services' (HUHS) resources for managing anxiety and fear.

Remember that Harvard’s student and employee health plans offer comprehensive coverage for both physical and mental health care. If you'd like to speak with a counselor or a mental health professional, contact Counseling and Mental Health Services (for students) or Harvard’s Employee Assistance Program.

We also support and encourage self-care during these stressful times. Remember that sleep and exercise promote immune system capacity.

Is Harvard University Health Services still open?

HUHS is open, however it will temporarily shift its operating model on Wednesday, March 18 until further notice. Services that can be provided by a telephone call will shift to remote delivery. Urgent Care and Internal Medicine will be open for urgent or essential visits that require in-person exams. Counseling and Mental Health Services and Behavioral Health will continue to operate, but visits will be by telephone. Mt. Auburn's Ob/gyn practice at Smith Campus Center will continue to see obstetrics patients, and GYN emergencies as needed. All other clinical services will be available for phone consultations, and in-person visits as needed.

This temporary shift will enable HUHS to reduce the density of patients in the waiting rooms, minimize the spread of COVID-19, and focus resources and support on patients who need it most.

Regardless of your location, HUHS is available to:

  • Answer your questions
  • Provide care and triage over the phone
  • Order tests
  • Help with referrals
  • Send medical records as needed
  • Provide refills
  • Assist you with other aspects of your healthcare

Visit the HUHS website for updates on clinical services. 

Is the Harvard Dental Center still open?

The Harvard Dental Center is open for emergency care only from March 16-27. Visit the Dental Center website for more information. 

International Students and Scholars

Also see: Harvard International Office's FAQs

How will online classes affect international students’ I-20 and visa status?

The U.S. government recognizes there are extenuating circumstances because these classes were not intended to be online. The Harvard International Office (HIO) received guidance from the government that they intend to be flexible with temporary adaptations to classes. Provided international students can continue to make normal progress in a full course of study as required by federal regulations, students’ legal immigration status are not in jeopardy. International students and scholars should contact their HIO advisor with any questions or concerns.

What should I do to prepare to travel home?

International students who have decided to travel home or to another location should refer to the HIO website travel page for information about the proper documents you will need for your return to the United States. Before you leave, make sure you have a valid travel signature. Contact your HIO advisor with additional questions or concerns

Instead of traveling back to my home country, may I go elsewhere in the U.S.?

Yes, as long as you maintain your student visa status while taking your full-time on-line classes, you can go somewhere else in the U.S. You must provide the address where you are residing using the HIO change of address form.

What if I can’t leave campus or go home?

We realize that leaving campus on short notice will be difficult and challenging, and there will be extenuating circumstances for some international students. Examples include, but are not limited to, if your home is in a location with a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention level 3 warning for COVID-19 or in a country subject to the federal government’s travel ban. Harvard will provide you the help you need to stay safe, secure, and continue with your academic work. If you cannot leave campus or go home, you should consult with your resident dean or the office in charge of your housing as soon as possible to discuss potential delays, waivers, and accommodations. Any students who need to remain on campus for extenuating circumstances will receive their instruction online and must prepare for severely limited on-campus activities and interactions. Rest assured that we are actively contingency planning to support your academic continuity and well-being should Harvard need to reduce its on-campus workforce. We encourage you to review your School-specific coronavirus page for more information. 

I am an international scholar, and I’m concerned my work is affected by the University’s announcement. What should I do?

Scholars should work with their departments regarding any accommodations that need to be made to allow them to continue teaching and researching.

I am an international scholar, and I have been invited to start a program at Harvard soon. Should I still come?

You should contact the Harvard department that invited you for more guidance.

Libraries, Museums, and Theaters

Also see: A.R.T.Harvard Library | Harvard Museums | Office for the Arts

Are the libraries open?

Most Harvard Library buildings are closed and many services have moved online. See the Harvard Library website for more information, including how to access a wide range of online services and resources.

Are the museums open?

The University's museums, including the Harvard Art Museums and the Harvard Museums of Science and Culture, are currently closed to the public until further notice. We encourage you to explore and utilize the Harvard Art Museums' collections online. Refer to each museum's website for more information on when the museums may be able to re-open.

Parking and Transportation

I'm an employee and would like to start driving to work instead of taking public transit. Can I cancel my MBTA pass and get a parking permit?

The MBTA has announced that bus and subway riders who don't use their April 2020 pass at all will receive full credit towards a future benefit month. For other transit modes, including the Commuter Rail, the cost of April 2020 transit passes can be credited back when certain deadlines and/or mailing documentation are met. Learn more on Harvard’s Transportation website.

Employees who typically commute via transit but are now hesitant to do so because of coronavirus are now eligible for no charge daily parking at select Harvard facilities on the Cambridge and Allston campus through April 10th.

All Harvard I.D. holders will have access to the 52 Street Oxford Garage; William James Lot; SEAS Lot; Littauer Lot; HBS Surface Lot; Webster Lot in the Athletics area; and Observatory Lot. Annual permit holders will be given priority access to facilities, and availability may be limited at select locations. Parking rules continue to apply and signage regarding reserved spaces must be observed.

View a map of Harvard parking locations: printable map or interactive map.

For the temporary no charge parking, do I need to purchase a daily permit online ahead of time?

No. You will only be required to present your Harvard I.D. to enter the parking facility.

What happens if I'm a transit pass holder and these temporary no charge facilities are full?

Annual parking permit holders will be guaranteed a space in their designated facilities. Transit pass holders will be instructed by Parking Service monitors to proceed to the closest available facility.

What if I want to park in another lot or garage that isn't included in the no charge parking?

You can continue to purchase a day pass online. Typical permit fees will apply.

What happens to daily parking rates after April 10?

The program will continue to be evaluated in concurrence with the status of Coronavirus Policies and any changes will be announced on the Parking website.

When is the deadline to update my May transit order?

The May transit pass ordering deadline has temporarily been extended to April 10. You have until April 10 to order, opt out, or cancel your May transit election. Visit Harvard's Commuter Choice website to do so, and review their guide to update your order.

I don't know when I'll be returning to work. How should I manage my transit elections?

Undoubtedly the situation is constantly evolving. In accordance with University Coronavirus policies, employees should refer to the guidance of their local school or department regarding remote work to assess future transit needs.

Can I cancel my Harvard parking permit?

Parking Services is currently offering two options for those who have had their commute and/or daily driving routine disrupted by coronavirus (COVID-19). Both options will ultimately result in the same refund or credit amount.

Option 1: Extend your parking permit

  • This is the easiest option as it requires no action on your part, you do not need to contact us, and your permit dates will automatically be extended. For example, if Harvard’s current remote work policy is in place for two months, a permit with the expiration date of June 30, 2020 would automatically be extended until August 31, 2020. In this scenario, permit holders would not be charged for the months of July and August. The actual dates are still unknown, but Parking Services will communicate with you once they are determined.
  • Essential personnel who must continue to drive to campus during this time will automatically have their permits extended.
  • If you choose to extend your permit, which again requires no action on your part, you can continue to park in your current location(s). Please display your existing permit through the new extended date.

Option 2: Cancel your parking

  • This option is recommended for people leaving the University or those who typically suspend parking during summer months. When the University resumes normal operations and begins charging again for daily parking, you will need to repurchase a permit. You will be charged prevailing rates based on the permit start date. We will make every attempt to process the new permit for your current parking location. Visit the Transportation website for more information on how to cancel your parking.
Is the Harvard Shuttle still running?

Beginning Saturday, March 14, the Harvard Shuttle will transition to its usual Spring Recess schedule. After the break, this schedule is likely to continue, however, Transportation Services will make any necessary adjustments based on the University's needs. Transportation Services is regularly cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces such as handrails and seats on all University shuttles to help ensure a safe and healthy environment.

For real-time shuttle information, visit shuttle.harvard.edu.

Research and Labs

Also see: SEAS & FAS Division of Science FAQs | HMS FAQs | HSCRB FAQs

Can graduate students and postdocs continue to work in labs?

Effective March 10, all graduate students will transition to remote work wherever possible, and many labs will begin to ramp down operations the week of March 16 to sustain only essential operations. Some lab access will be permitted only for the most critical needs, including for those working on research directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our March 10 email about reducing the on-campus population is not a decision we took lightly, but one that we felt was right to slow the potential transmission of the virus and protect vulnerable populations from exposure. All members of the Harvard community are asked to help in this effort. Graduate students and postdocs should consult with their supervisors for specifics on lab operations and continuity of research activities.

How is the University preparing for disruptions to critical research operations?

The University has identified ways to protect critical research and permit only essential operations to continue. Our objectives included compiling an inventory of sensitive research that requires continued support during a disruption; preparing a plan to provide that support with limited staff, resources, and vendor provisions; and implementing existing plans for continued care of sensitive research specimens.

My job is mainly bench-based work and requires me to be in the lab. Will I get paid, even though I have to do work that isn’t in my job description?

Please see the Work Remotely page for information about pay.

How are we dealing with issues of compliance with federal funding and other sponsored research concerns?

University personnel are in touch with the major funding agencies and have posted FAQs on the University Office for Sponsored Programs website. If you need more information or assistance, contact your School or unit’s sponsored research team.

Can I conduct research that involves physical experimentation at home?

Remote research using computers for data driven analytics, social behavior type studies that can be conducted by audio/video conferencing, etc. is allowable. The University cannot approve the use of private residence for research purposes. Such work at home raises a number of health and safety, and potential building and fire code related concerns that are subject to routine health and safety inspections and mitigation measure at the university laboratories and cannot be verified in a residential setting. These potential hazards include but are not limited to occupancy rating of the building (e.g. residential vs. research), electrical hazard associated with the use of the equipment (e.g. personnel safety, overload of circuitry, etc.), presence of untrained individuals in the research area, etc., none of which have been assessed by university.

Can I visit my lab if I am not designated “essential personnel”?

No. Unless you are designated as "essential personnel" and have a written letter/document to that effect from Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S), you cannot travel to work.

Technology Support

Also see: Work Remotely | Teach Remotely | Learn Remotely | Library remote teaching resources

What if I don't have reliable internet access at home, or my connection is slow?

Check out Harvard University Information Technology's (HUIT) tips for getting online during the COVID-19 period, including providers who are offering free or discounted internet and increased data allowances. If you have internet at home, review the tips for improving connection problems.

Can Harvard's network and IT systems support the increased demand of online courses?

Harvard University's Information Technology (HUIT) staff have been working around the clock to prepare the tools and resources necessary to support remote teaching and learning. HUIT is working closely with key vendors, including Zoom, to support continuity and stability of services throughout this period of exceptionally high demand from the Harvard community. HUIT is also closely monitoring network infrastructure and is prepared to quickly expand capacity of their support services to meet increased demand.

When and how can employees use Zoom for meetings?

Given the extraordinary additional demand anticipated, and our need to prioritize academic use, below are some basic guidelines for employees using Zoom sensibly:

  • Consider whether you need to hold a meeting.
  • Use alternative means to communicate when possible (telephone, Slack, Microsoft Teams, email).
  • If you hold a Zoom meeting, keep it short.
  • Video calls are most effective when they are 45-min or less.
  • Consider adopting a 10-min “stand-up” approach—a meeting not long enough to sit down—and focus on priorities of the day
  • Close out of your Zoom session when you are done. Do not host a persistent Zoom session.
Where can I get technology help?

If you have any questions, contact the HUIT Service Desk or your local IT support.

Travel

Can I travel internationally on a Harvard-related trip?

All University-related international travel is prohibited until at least April 30. Review Harvard Global Support Services’ (GSS) international travel guidance for more information.

Should I travel abroad for a personal trip?

Harvard is strongly discouraging all personal international travel until at least April 30. Review Harvard Global Support Services’ (GSS) international travel guidance for more information.

Given the University's transition to online classes and remote instruction, students whose home is a location with a CDC level 3 warning for COVID-19 may choose to return home. At this time of uncertainty, students may prefer to be home with their families, if possible.

Harvard will consider requests from students currently on campus who are from locations with CDC level 3 warnings for COVID-19 to remain on campus. Requests for exceptions must be made to the School in which the student is enrolled.

I’m currently abroad. Should I leave?

Harvard is not currently asking any affiliates abroad to leave—including those in a location with a CDC level 3 warning for COVID-19—however, if you’re in a location where you can leave, now is the time to decide whether you stay or return home. Governments are swiftly enacting border and travel restrictions without prior notice in the hopes of slowing the pandemic's progression. Review Harvard Global Support Services’ (GSS) international travel guidance for more information.

I'm an employee in one of Harvard's international offices abroad. Can I travel for business?

Harvard's offices abroad are part of our campus community. Staff in those offices should follow the same guidance on international travel that all members of the University are asked to follow: no international travel for University business until at least April 30. Office staff can travel domestically and for personal reasons at their discretion, but are advised to be mindful of the fluid situation and follow local health and government travel advisories. The reason that Harvard's guidance applies to staff in offices abroad is, first and foremost, to protect the health and safety of all staff and those in our communities. In addition, the University's effort to reduce travel is part of a broad effort to slow the rate of transmission and be part of the solution to this global pandemic. All members of the Harvard community in the U.S. and abroad are asked to help in this effort.

Is it ok to travel within the U.S.?

All University-related non-essential domestic air travel is prohibited until at least April 30.

For personal travel within the U.S., we strongly urge you to use extreme caution and judgment. Travel can increase the risks of exposure to you and the community. Government restrictions and public health measures are changing rapidly. If you choose to travel, those changes may make it hard for you to achieve the goals of your trip and return home to resume your academic and professional activities. Check the state and territorial health department websites for the latest information.

What is University-related travel?

University-related international trips include activities that are part of academic or professional work at Harvard, including research, study abroad, attendance at a conference, academic study, travel with a student organization or trek, or a summer or January internship (or similar volunteer or work experience) if registered at Harvard the following term. An international trip is also University-related if Harvard is funding the trip or if it's at the request of a supervisor.

Harvard-related international travel does not include personal travel, such as vacations or trips home (for international students and scholars).

Who determines essential travel?

As applicable, consult with your Harvard School, program, or department leaders and funding sources to determine whether your Harvard-related domestic air travel is essential. There will be variance within the Schools and Units, but we strongly encourage you to consider alternative communication methods, like Zoom. For individuals, you may have family or individual obligations that make your personal travel essential.

Visitors

Are visitors allowed on campus?

Harvard’s goal is to reduce the number of people on campus—including visitors—in order to slow the potential transmission of the virus and protect vulnerable populations from exposure. All members of the Harvard community are asked to help in this effort.

Events with speakers invited from off campus—whether the speakers are international or domestic—should be cancelled, postponed, or conducted remotely.

Job interviews for open positions should be conducted remotely via video- or teleconferencing tools, like Zoom, or by telephone.

Individuals, programs, and groups are responsible for informing their guests about Harvard’s coronavirus policies. Review the meeting and event guidance. Any visitor arriving to campus from a location with a CDC Level 3 Warning for COVID-19 must follow the same guidance as Harvard affiliates: self-quarantine for 14 days in another location upon arrival/return. The CDC designation can change quickly, and anyone welcoming an international visitor should confirm the location’s CDC travel designation.

Are campus tours still offered?

No. Effective March 10, all public and private in-person tours of Harvard University have been discontinued until further notice. Harvard is taking steps to minimize the need to gather in large groups and spend prolonged time in close proximity with each other. Our actions are consistent with the recommendations of leading health officials on how to limit the spread of COVID-19. We have an online tour available for anyone who would like to explore Harvard from home.