Dear Members of the Harvard Community,
Last week Governor Baker announced that he will lift all remaining COVID-19 restrictions in Massachusetts effective May 29. This welcome news reflects an improving public health situation that permits the state to ease restrictions and enable communities to reopen more fully. For the Harvard community, this represents another step forward in safely resuming more on-campus academic and work activities.
With this timeline now established, we are assessing Harvard’s guidelines and protocols. We write today to update you on summer operations and activities, as well as planning for the fall semester.
Changes to Health and Safety Guidelines and Protocols
The following guidelines reflect information available now. As we obtain data indicating higher levels of COVID vaccination within the Harvard community, we expect to be able to resume additional activities. Restrictions may be relaxed earlier in some settings and Schools that have demonstrated higher vaccination rates.
Crimson Clear: Beginning May 29, we will no longer require daily Crimson Clear attestation for everyone coming to campus. However, you should complete Crimson Clear if you are concerned that you have been exposed to the coronavirus, have tested positive for the coronavirus, or are experiencing symptoms. Harvard University Health Services (HUHS) will then contact you to provide guidance and support. You may need to use Crimson Clear if you work in a setting that specifically requires it (e.g., a hospital-based research lab). Please note that the Massachusetts Department of Public Health still requires persons working in a healthcare setting to complete self-attestation every day they are on-site.
Masks and Face Coverings: Outdoors, fully vaccinated persons are no longer required to use masks, regardless of distancing. For unvaccinated persons, outdoor use of masks is only required if they cannot maintain distance from others.
Harvard will continue to require masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status, until we can determine the level of COVID vaccination across our community. With confirmation of high vaccination levels, we expect to issue revised indoor mask-wearing policies. Meanwhile, all community members should carry a mask when coming to campus in the event it becomes necessary to wear it. Individuals may also choose to wear masks in settings where masks are not required.
Physical Distancing: With exceptions as noted below, physical distancing is required inside Harvard buildings for the time being. This policy is subject to revision when we receive confirmation of higher vaccination levels. As noted above, fully vaccinated persons are no longer required to maintain distancing outdoors, but unvaccinated persons should maintain distancing if unmasked. Details regarding indoor and outdoor gathering sizes are being reviewed and will be announced soon.
COVID-19 Testing Requirements: Beginning May 29, the frequency of testing for anyone residing in undergraduate on-campus housing will be reduced from three times per week to twice per week (on nonconsecutive days). All others who are authorized to come to campus for work or academic activities will be required to submit a test once per week.
Labs and Healthcare Facilities: Research laboratories were among the first spaces reopened on campus and by design are highly controlled settings. Some restrictions that have been in place there, such as physical distancing, can be safely lifted. Harvard-operated healthcare settings continue to be governed by restrictions from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, but some restrictions will also be loosened. Details are being communicated directly to the laboratory and healthcare communities.
For more updates and information, please see the latest interview with the leadership of HUHS and Environmental Health and Safety in the Harvard Gazette.
As previously announced, Harvard will require COVID vaccination for all students who will be on campus this fall. As we work to reach the high levels of vaccination needed to protect our community, we are now extending that vaccination requirement to all Harvard community members, including faculty, staff, and researchers, who will have any on-campus presence. Exceptions will be provided for medical or religious reasons. Note that unvaccinated individuals may be subject to additional public health measures (e.g., masking, testing) above and beyond what is required of vaccinated individuals. Updates and information regarding the University’s vaccine requirement can be found at the University’s vaccine webpage, and additional details will be added when available.
Community members are advised to complete their vaccination as soon as possible and submit verification of vaccination to HUHS by July 15. Any community member who is already vaccinated and has not yet submitted verification of vaccination to HUHS should submit this information immediately because these data will inform additional policy decisions. You can submit a copy of your vaccination card via email to email@example.com or use one of the encrypted options described on the University’s Verify Your Vaccine webpage. Persons who have been vaccinated by HUHS do not need to submit such documentation, which is already on file there. HUHS keeps individual medical information secure and confidential.
Harvard Vaccine Clinics
HUHS will hold a COVID vaccine clinic on June 2 at the Murr Center and then weekly at HUHS (75 Mount Auburn Street, Cambridge) throughout June and July. More dates will be added for August. Vaccine appointments are open to all students, staff, faculty, researchers, and HUHS patients and can be scheduled through the HUHS patient portal with your HarvardKey. More information, including scheduling instructions, clinic dates and times, and FAQs, can be found on the HUHS vaccine webpage.
Planning for the Fall Semester
Our planning for the fall semester is ongoing. We are eager for the return to more robust on-campus activities, but we also realize that many questions remain regarding what we should expect when we come back to our classrooms, residential facilities, and workplaces. With that in mind, we will continue to assess and update our guidance over the course of the summer and to share updates with the community, including through the University’s Coronavirus webpage.
The resilience of our community over these past 15 months has been extraordinary. You have adapted to a seemingly endless set of challenges and continued to find ways to fulfill our academic and research mission. Thank you again for all that you have done and continue to do as we take steps to expand activities on campus this summer and look to the full return of our students in the fall.
Lawrence S. Bacow
Alan M. Garber
Executive Vice President
Giang T. Nguyen
Executive Director, Harvard University Health Services
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