[edited 3/30] Social and Community Aspects

I need an "employment confirmation letter" from SEAS, which I need for my job application documents. Can you issue this kind of documents?

Please contact SEAS Faculty Affairs if you are a researcher, or HR for staff employment verification and other requests, https://www.seas.harvard.edu/office-human-resources



I've been analyzing all the data from the recognized/trusted sources and the overwhelming evidence shows the vast majority [not all] of the serious cases requiring hospitalization and possible ICU treatment are from our elderly population and those persons with underlying health issues [heart disease, diabetes, compromised immune system, heavy smokers, etc.]. Why don't we shelter in-place those individuals and practice common sense social distancing with the remainder of the population? This way we can really concentrate our resources on the group that really has the most need, our fellow Americans who are actually at the highest risk of infection and hospitalization?

We appreciate you considering these issues and many research opportunities are emerging to help tackle these complex topics (see NSF). As for our social distancing practices, we have instituted policies in order to keep the community safe and to abide by governmental guidelines.


Will SEAS department still move to Allston in 2020 Fall as planned? Because I need to rent an apartment for next academic year and this information is important.

The move will likely be affected, but currently no decisions have been made.

Hello, I had a suggestion for more transparent communication that I hope you will find useful. Many of the communications we've received lately are 'blind copied" so we have no idea who the recipients are. In the cases where the recipient list is bcc'd it would be so helpful if the message started by telling us who the audience is that is receiving the communication. I do realize this makes a bit more work but I hope you find this suggestion helpful.

Great idea! Thank you.


I have a technical problem with Zoom. Where can I send my question to get an answer?

You may contact the HUIT Service Desk at 617.495.7777 or by submitting a ticket. Zoom also provides helpful information here: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us


How does the governor's order today impact already reduced operations at Harvard, if at all?

Our policies remain unchanged and in place. In compliance with the order we will continue to work and teach remotely; decanal approval is needed for access to buildings for essential personnel. To learn more about the Governor’s order, visit here: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-essential-services.


It extremely frustrating to receive emails from [so many different people] which are all similar but slightly different. I have found it difficult to focus on what's important in these emails because there are so many of them. Can at least SEAS and FAS consolidate the number of emails being sent as it seems that SEAS and FAS are working together in lock step? I believe that this would greatly simplify the communication streams for both faculty and staff.

We appreciate this issue, and we are striving to streamline communication.


Is it known how the move-in schedule for the Science & Engineering Complex in Allston will be impacted?

It will likely be affected, but currently no decisions have been made.


Can some people with Covid-19 experience symptoms so mild that they recover without ever knowing for sure if it was Covid-19 or just a cold/flu?

Please refer to the resources provided by the CDC, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html


Can the virus be absorbed into the body through a small cut or abrasion such as one from dried out hands that are being frequently washed?

Please refer to the resources provided by the CDC, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/prevention.html.


If a stay-at-home order goes into effect, is there anything special set up for people taking care of organisms to document their need to go to work?

Yes, and Decanal approval is required. Approved individuals will receive additional information.


Will the offer deadline for grad programs be extended due to the ambiguity of the schedules afterwards, for example in case the remote lecturing continues until Fall semester?

GSAS can provide you with more information on deadlines.


Up until now, I have been pretty calm and not too worried. Recently, however, I’ve really started to feel concerned and upset. What should I do?

Harvard’s health plans offer comprehensive coverage for both physical and mental health care.  In addition, all employees are invited to contact the Employee Assistance Program at 877-EAP-HARV (877-327-4278) for help with feelings of stress or anxiety about these events. Harvard fully supports and encourages self-care in these stressful times.

I seem to have offended someone whose hand I didn’t shake. Why are they reacting this way?

Not everyone appreciates our community’s opportunity to attenuate the transmission of germs by avoiding person-to-person social contact. You might explain that your action is not a reflection of your relationship, but rather just following current guidelines from experts (some of whom we are proud to have on the faculty at Harvard).

Should we worry about adverse effects on ethnic or national groups?

We should all be aware of the possibility that individuals might be apprehensive of possible biases as a result of nationality or ethnic origin, and any such bias is clearly inconsistent with the values of the Harvard community. We will work together to slow the spread of this disease, using an evidence-based appropriate response that draws upon the advice of experts.

Is Health Services still open?

HUHS will be temporarily shifting its operations effective Wednesday, March 18, 2020. There will be on-site services as well as remote access. For specific department information, visit here: https://huhs.harvard.edu/sites/default/files/HUHS_Operating_Hours_Effective03182020.pdf 

What about snail mail delivered to university addresses? Any provisions for getting it stored, forwarded, scanned, etc?

We are accepting deliveries as usual for now; our loading docks and shipping/receiving are open normal hours until we receive further instructions to shut it down or limit the hours. Starting early next week, we will be paring down our staff to only 1-2 building managers a day for limited hours to patrol the buildings in my portfolio, so we are actively trying to line up deliveries with the times we will be onsite and asking everyone in our building to limit non-essential deliveries while the university is closed.

My understanding is that construction projects will still be taking place and that contractors will still be entering our buildings to work. That seems to send a mixed message. Will work on some of these projects be paused?

We have transitioned to remote work and teaching. Decanal approval is needed for access to the building for essential personnel. 

With school closing for at least 2 but more likely 8 weeks, many are trying to scramble to find care for children. Schools are not currently planning on putting any content online, which results in an unacceptable amount of time without education for our children. Some individuals are in the process of hiring help to provide care. This will hopefully allow parents time to work from home without the constant distraction of the kids. Many parents are concerned about how they’re supposed to work and take of their children. Does Harvard provide support or assistance – financial or otherwise – in cases like this?

FAS is reviewing policies to address this, for now, please do the best that you can.

The FAS has decided that all major academic deadlines, including Senior Thesis due dates, will be extended by one week – does this mean the entire semester is extended by 1 week, with final exams and grading shifted as well?

Please visit the Harvard College Coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQ for the most recent updates.

Some students in my course have rented textbooks and they’ve asked what to do with them and how the books would be returned to the bookstore at the end of the semester if they took them home at the end of this week. I’ve instructed them to take the books home with them, since they will need the books during the remainder of the semester. Will Harvard be able to pay or reimburse the cost of mailing the books back to the bookstore at the end of the semester, or are the students stuck with that cost?

Please see the Harvard College Coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQ - https://dso.college.harvard.edu/coronavirusfaq.