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Testing & Tracing

Harvard has begun to welcome back a limited number of students, faculty, academic personnel, and staff to our campus as conditions allow. We have deployed several strategies—including high-frequency viral testing for all community members who are authorized to have a regular presence on campus—to help keep Harvard healthy.

Each Harvard affiliate’s testing requirements vary based on whether you live on campus, work in residential housing, work elsewhere on campus, or have a regular presence (4 hours or more per week) on campus. Our testing plan is subject to modification if the public health situation indicates changes in community risk.

All community members, including those fully vaccinated are expected to follow our testing cadences.

All community members, including those fully vaccinated are expected to follow our testing cadences. Review the policies and frequencies for unobserved self-administered testing below.

View the latest data on positive cases and total tests

Testing Policies

Unobserved Self-Administered Testing

  • Harvard is using an unobserved PCR test for all affiliates authorized to be on campus. For Harvard affiliates who are authorized to be on campus, you’re required to test yourself at your assigned cadence, outlined below.
  • Questions about whether or not you’re eligible for testing? Contact your School or Unit’s local testing coordinator.
  • Technical questions about creating your Color account? Email support@color.com.
  • To learn more about the steps for self-testing, watch the self-swab training module linked below.

PLEASE NOTE:

Even if you aren’t in one of the testing groups outlined below, you’re still required to complete

1) Harvard Covid-19 Safety Awareness Training and

2) Crimson Clear before you may enter ANY Harvard facility.

How often do I get tested?

Three days a week
if you are:

A student living in on-campus dorms and houses. Note: Students living in apartments managed by Harvard University Housing are NOT in this group.

Faculty, staff, or academic personnel who live in on-campus dorms or houses.

Two days a week
if you are:

A student who live off-campus but are required to be on campus for work or in-person academics more than once a week.

Faculty, staff, or academic personnel who live off-campus but have high-contact with or work in spaces frequented by students (dorms, dining, library, study spaces).

One day a week
if you are:

*Effective 1/18, individuals in this group who are required to be on campus more than one day/week may take up to two tests per week. The second test is optional.

Students who live off campus but are required to be on campus for work or in-person academics only once a week.

Undergraduate students participating in the off-campus testing pilot.

Any other faculty, academic personnel, or staff who are regularly spending more than 4 hours per week on-campus but do not live in on-campus housing.

Ad hoc
if you are:

Other Harvard faculty, academic personnel, students, or staff who meet criteria to be tested but are not on regular weekly schedules

How do I get tested?

All testing is being done through unobserved self-collection.

Harvard has partnered with The Broad Institute and Color, a health testing company, to administer the University’s testing procedures, including providing testing kits, managing alerts for regular testing, and delivering test results to individuals.

A critical first step in this process is for you to create your Color account. You will need to use your Harvard email account to create your Color account. If you have questions about creating your Color account, please contact: support@color.com.

To learn more about the steps for self-testing, see the training module linked below.

A screenshot of a google maps near Harvard

Drop-off locations

Drop-off bins are available at multiple locations across campus to collect unobserved test samples.

Find a dropoff bin

An illustration of a hand holding a test tube with a test in it

How do I self-swab?

Watch the self-paced training module to learn every step of the process—from creating your Color account to completing the self-swab.

Watch the training

University-wide results

New Positive Cases - Last 7 Days

Vaccine Information

The University is in the process of receiving COVID-19 vaccine doses and will follow Massachusetts guidelines on prioritization. All community members with a regular on-campus presence are expected to test at the cadences noted above regardless of whether or not they have received the COVID-19 vaccine. Additional information on our COVID-19 vaccine program may be found on the HUHS website.

Community testing resources

While Harvard affiliates who are not currently approved to come to campus are not eligible to participate in the University testing program, other options include the Stop the Spread program (free to Massachusetts residents), the Cambridge Public Health Department program (free to Cambridge residents), Boston COVID-19 testing sites, and many others. Check with your local health department or your primary care physician to learn about other options. Note that most insurance plans only cover testing in the setting of symptoms or known exposure to an infected person.

A swab and a tube

COVID-19 Testing and Tracing

Data Collection and Privacy

Learn what data will be collected, how data will be used, and what the University is doing to protect your privacy.

Learn about privacy protection