Travel

The following questions and answers are provided for the Harvard School of Engineering and FAS Division of Science communities.

 

Where can I find the latest Mass. Travel Advisory

You may review it here: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-travel-advisory

“Effective March 22, 2021, all visitors and returning residents entering Massachusetts are advised to follow the Commonwealth’s new travel advisory…The Commonwealth has made great progress to slow the spread of COVID-19 and gradually re-open the economy, and all visitors and returning residents have a responsibility to help us keep transmission levels as low as possible”.

 

There are a number of grad students and postdocs currently working in our lab who have been driving to campus because they don't live within walking distance and are not comfortable taking public transportation. Now that free on-campus parking is ending as of 8/16 and since purchasing parking permits, whether annual or daily, is prohibitively expensive for many people, what is Harvard/SEAS doing to assist people in reaching campus safely to conduct their research?

We fully appreciate that adjusting to a post-COVID reality poses many challenges. There are a variety of options, which include both public transit and on-campus parking available on the Harvard Transportation & Parking site, https://www.transportation.harvard.edu/parking

 

I have a question concerning parking for those current commuting to campus. Given the number of precautions taken on campus by researchers, the expectation that when parking is no longer available on August 15 researchers begin taking public transportations seems paradoxical. I was wondering whether the school might offer a remedy to this?

This is not a school-level decision, please continue to visit the transportation & parking website for updates & discounts: https://www.transportation.harvard.edu/parking

 

Will there be an option to buy a discounted mbta pass for the summer months?

Yes, to learn about transit options including Harvard’s 50% subsidy on monthly MBTA passes for benefits eligible faculty, staff, and postdocs, visit here: http://www.transportation.harvard.edu/commuterchoice 
 

Will there be any additional shuttle service offered off-hours?

To review shuttle services, please visit here: http://www.transportation.harvard.edu/shuttle-van-services
 

If I plan to drive to campus and I don't currently have a parking permit what should I do? Do I use the current parking permit portal?

You can find this information on the Harvard transportation and parking page, here: http://www.transportation.harvard.edu/parking and here: http://transportation.harvard.edu/parking/visitors/online-daily-permits

Can we fund proposals that involve domestic travel, from their current home to another destination by air?

All Harvard-funded domestic air travel is prohibited: https://www.harvard.edu/coronavirus/travel-guidance.

Can we fund proposals that require minimal travel, say by car or train, from the student’s home?

This would be considered personal travel, and the current policy states: “For personal travel within the U.S., we strongly urge you to use extreme caution and judgment.” Students should observe local health and safety guidelines, and use common sense to avoid situations that might endanger their health or the health of others. https://www.harvard.edu/coronavirus/travel-guidance.

Harvard has prohibited non-essential domestic air travel and all international professional travel. Does this apply to field trips for classes? 

Yes. Faculty should find alternative learning opportunities for our students which can take place online.

Can you help me understand the definition of "university-related travel".  For example, if I am giving a seminar or a public lecture, or attending a meeting, is that "university-related?" 

That is considered professional travel and therefore prohibited. 

What is considered "essential" versus "non-essential"?  If I am giving a seminar or a public lecture, Or attending a meeting, is that "essential"? 

“Essential” travel is vital to the functioning of the University, and very few trips meet this condition. Examples might include legally required depositions, and the like. Academic exchanges are (in this context) non-essential activity and the travel ban applies. 

I have been planning to give a talk outside of town. Do I have to cancel that trip? 

The University has banned all non-essential domestic air and international professional travel.  Cancel or reschedule the trip. 

Is it considered university related travel when postdocs are traveling for interviews?  

At this time, we are treating such trips as personal (provided the host is paying). However, our strong recommendation is to use extreme caution and judgement regarding all outside travel, and follow CDC guidance (quarantine, etc.). 

Is there a uniform policy on small events involving air travel by domestic, outside speakers?  For example, can previously scheduled colloquium or seminar speakers come to Harvard, are all such events cancelled, uniformly across campus, or are they to be treated on a case-by-case basis?  

Even local speakers are to give talks remotely. 

Will I receive reimbursement of cancellation costs? 

For those traveling on University business, the Harvard Travel Policy allows for reimbursement of cancellation or change fees with a valid reason. The current coronavirus outbreak meets this requirement. 

Our students were to fly out to Arizona to be trained on the large telescopes, but we have been directed to cancel all unnecessary travel.  We already paid for their plane fare, that of the faculty member and chaperones. Is there any to recoup this loss?  

In the near term let’s reassure individuals that they don’t have to bear costs associated with cancelling Harvard-related travel due to our new policies. Keep track of these expenses and we will eventually sort out how to handle the consequence. 

Are Visiting Scholars who are spending the year/semester at Harvard subject to the international and domestic air travel bans at Harvard, or are they exempt from these bans, assuming their home institutions have no such bans at this point?  

If they have a Harvard appointment then our policies apply. But if they wish to make a one-way trip home, that’s allowable. We’d consider that personal travel.   

Can we still welcome seminar speakers who are within driving distance? Or are all seminars cancelled, even those with HU speakers?  

We should defer or arrange for remote delivery of seminars. 

When do we think travel will return to normal? 

That is hard to predict.  For now, ALL University-related travel, both international and domestic, is prohibited until further notice and should not be planned or scheduled at this time. This applies to all community members—students, faculty, staff, postdoctoral fellows, and other academics. We encourage you to explore creative options for alternative study, research, work, and collaboration. We also strongly discourage personal travel, both international and domestic: https://www.harvard.edu/coronavirus/travel-guidance