Planning for Campus Reopening

When and how we can all return to campus and resume on-campus activities depends on the status of the pandemic and the strategies we collectively and individually deploy to mitigate its effects. Our decisions will be informed by public health data and Massachusetts’ reopening plan but tailored to Harvard’s unique density, operations, and other considerations as a residential research university. Approaches and timelines may vary by School and Unit.

Harvard's Guiding Principles

Our plan for a phased reopening of on-campus activities is guided by two core principles:

  1. Health and safety: We will continue to prioritize the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff, and surrounding community in every decision we make
  2. Education and research: We are committed to ensuring that the teaching, learning, and research of our students, faculty, and postdoctoral fellows will continue at the highest levels of excellence. Every decision we make must be in service to this mission.

Massachusetts’s and Harvard’s Phased Reopening

On May 18, Governor Baker issued a new “Safer at Home” Advisory and announced a four-phase approach to gradually reopen Massachusetts. Pending public health data, each phase will last at least three weeks and can be reversed, if warranted. There are sector-specific protocols, including for reopening higher education.

Massachusetts four phases of reopening, described in full below.

Aligning with Governor Baker’s plan for the phased re-opening of the state, the University, as well as individual Schools and Units, are developing plans to gradually bring students, faculty, other academic personnel, and staff back to campus as conditions allow.

Phase 1

Governor Baker emphasized that Massachusetts’ higher education institutions continue to foster teaching, learning, student support, and essential research remotely throughout this time.

Academics: Harvard summer courses and programs will continue to be conducted remotely.

Research: As of May 25, Harvard’s science laboratory facilities will begin preparing to resume operations with very stringent requirements. School leaders and managers will notify a limited number of Harvard faculty and staff who might be eligible to return to the laboratories in the coming weeks. View the lab re-entry plan for details.

Harvard Library has also issued a draft plan for a phased reopening of physical libraries to support research.

Workforce: All Harvard faculty and staff who are currently working remotely will continue to do so until further notice. A limited number of workers who have been reporting to campus in an essential on-site role will continue to do so.

Phase 2

Higher education institutions may begin to allow individuals to return to campus for limited purposes in line with strict protocols.

Academics: Harvard summer courses and programs will continue to be conducted remotely.

Research: As of June 8, additional University personnel will begin to return to campus, including those who work in scientific labs. See the Steps for Lab Re-entry and updated University workplace policies.

Workforce: All Harvard faculty and staff who are currently working remotely will continue to do so through at least the end of the summer, unless directed otherwise by your local leadership and managers. Besides the limited number of workers who have been reporting to campus in an essential on-site role, additional workers have begun to return to campus, including those participating in the re-opening of laboratory facilities. Review the updated University workplace policies and the Steps for Office Re-entry.

Phases 3-4

In the coming weeks, Harvard’s working groups will continue developing customized plans and recommendations to gradually resume on-campus activities.