Researchers' Return to Campus - Post May 29, 2021

For an archive of past questions, please see the FAQ archive

Will computational groups be able to return to their lab/office spaces?

Yes, theoretical and computational researchers may return to campus beginning on Friday, June 4th.  Please follow steps outlined for returning that were provided by Dean Stubbs, for those in FAS Science, and Dean Doyle  (please see email sent on Friday, May 28, 2021), for those in SEAS.

Can administrative staff return to campus now?

We expect staff to work remotely through at least the end of July, staff with extenuating circumstances should discuss possible earlier return with their supervisor. 

Are re-occupancy plans still requried?

No, re-occupancy plans are no longer required and do not need to be updated.  However, while the testing requirements remain in place, laboratories must continue to maintain a roster of individuals who are working onsite and ensure that the correct information is provided to HUHS for the testing process.

Are there density limits for laboratories?

No, the laboratory occupancy limits were removed on May 29, 2021.  There are no remaining % occupancy caps or per person cfm requirements. 

Can shared offices now be used by multiple people?

Yes, providing six-foot social distancing can be maintained, individuals are masked at all time (no eating or drinking), and the space has mechanical ventilation, an operable window, or supplemental air filtration.  

Are the requirements for enchanced cleaning changing?

Laboratories may return to routine cleaning protocols appropriate for the pre-COVID risk assessment for the space; however, if there has been a person who tested positive or is suspected to have COVID-19 in your facility within the last 24 hours, you should clean and disinfect the high-touch, shared surfaces that the person has accessed outside the laboratory space (e.g.: shared offices, common spaces.). See “Cleaning & Disinfection” section of Harvard University Guidelines for On-Campus Activity.

Is social distancing still required?

Within research laboratories, the physical distance requirement has been eliminated because it is understood that it is not possible to maintain the distance and work optimally at full occupancy. While there are challenges regarding configuration of equipment, workstations, etc. labs have mitigating ventilation, PPE, and risk assessment processes. 

All other indoor spaces still require six-foot social distancing until there is evidence of a high level of vaccination in the Community.  This includes private offices, shared offices, conference rooms, and other meeting spaces.

Outdoors, fully vaccinated persons are no longer required to maintain social distancing. Unvaccinated person should maintain distancing if unmasked outdoors.

Maintaining distance remains a prudent public health practice and is encouraged.

Is there new guidance for elevators and bathrooms?

New guidance is forthcoming and will be posted here when it is finalized.

Is it true that I don't have to do Crimson Clear anymore?

Yes, if you are asymptomatic, you are no longer required to do Crimson Clear daily as per President Bacow's email: "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.

Do vendors and visitors still need to do Crimson Clear?

No, Crimson Clear is no longer required for vendors or visitors. 

Are there changes to the University's COVID-19 testing program?

Yes, 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.

Has Harvard changed the COVID testing pick-up schedule?

Yes, HUH's Summer Testing Schedule is now in effect.  Tests will not be picked up or processed on University holidays (Juneteenth and Independence Day) or on Sundays.  On Saturdays test will be picked up and process only in the morning for kits droppped off before noon.

How do I change the COVID-19 Testing Group I've been assigned to?

You can request a testing eligibility review by completing the applicable testing eligibility form: 

Do I have to wear a mask while outside?

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.

Do I have to wear a mask while inside?

Yes, Harvard will continue to require masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status, until we can determine the level of COVID vaccination across our community.

What is Harvard's new vaccination requirement for faculty, students, staff, and postdocs?

On May 28, 2021, President Bacow announced the following: "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 vaccination 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."

Is Harvard providing vaccinations?

Yes, HUHS will hold weekly vaccinations clinics 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 University's vaccination webpage.

How do I submit my verification of vaccination?

You can submit a copy of your vaccination card via email to or use one of the encrypted options described on the University’s 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.