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Update on return-to-campus planning

We are all hopeful that anticipated broader availability of vaccine in the coming months will result in improved public health conditions that allow us to gradually increase activities on campus into the summer and fall. Guided by public health expertise, we aim to welcome as many students as possible this fall, and the Schools will be sharing updates with their respective communities. Our highest priority will remain the health and safety of every member of our community, and we will continue to engage in contingency planning so that we are prepared and can adapt if the public health situation changes.

For our staff, faculty, and researchers, we will target Monday, August 2, as the date when all will be authorized to return to campus. We are continuing to review our Coronavirus Workplace Policies, and they remain in place. It is important to emphasize that there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to this transition period. Individual Schools and Units will take the lead on planning for the return of their remote employees to campus based on their departmental needs and priorities, adopting a variety of flexible approaches and varying return-to-campus dates. We are grateful to those who have returned to campus already to support the student population and activities requiring access to physical resources. Certain summer and fall activities will require additional individuals to return to campus before the beginning of August. The goal with this no “one-size-fits-all” approach is to enable us to carry out our work, while also being responsive to employee considerations and compliant with relevant public health guidelines. Please be guided by updates and direction from local leadership.

We will continue to update you as plans evolve. Considerable effort has gone into ensuring a safe campus under the current Harvard University Guidance for On-Campus Activity set forth by Harvard University Health Services and the Environmental Health and Safety team, and we see this as a strong foundation to build upon. We will be working with School and Unit leadership to ensure the necessary support services and systems are in place, including those related to ongoing health and safety protocols, the expansion of COVID-19 testing to include those who have not already been working on campus, and vaccine availability. Our near-term planning efforts are taking place amidst conversations regarding updates to our workforce and human resources policies to ensure we are in step with the realities and opportunities of the post-pandemic work environment. Thank you for the feedback that you have provided to date through local employee surveys and conversations. It has now been over a year since the majority of us shifted to remote work, and we once again thank each of you—those remote and those currently reporting to campus—for your resilience, patience, and commitment. You adapted to a rapidly changing environment and made it possible for the University to deliver on its mission to offer the highest quality learning and research opportunities for our students. We look forward to the days ahead as we prepare for our safe return to campus.


Lawrence S. Bacow

Alan M. Garber

Katie Lapp
Executive Vice President