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



"This guidance only applies to labs in FAS or SEAS buildings. We discourage off-campus undergraduate students from working in labs at Longwood or other local institutions during Fall 2020.” How should I understand this? I think one of the main reasons I got permission to return to campus was because I indicated that I intend to pursue research in my lab at HMS. I am a rising junior. Can you please clarify whether I will need permission to commute to my lab daily?

Please consult the College about any restrictions on undergraduate travel from the Cambridge campus to Longwood, and for your particular circumstancesTo find more detailed information, please visit here:


Commuter pass order for August are coming up (have to be ordered by July 10). Any update on parking policy after July 31th? (currently the parking website is still only indicating free parking until July 31st)

Harvard Parking Services has extended the no charge daily parking offering through Saturday, August 15, 2020. Employees who typically commute via transit or occasionally drive to campus are eligible for no charge daily parking at select Harvard facilities in Cambridge and Allston. All Harvard I.D. holders will have access to the HBS Surface Lot, the Webster Lot (Athletics area), the Observatory Lot, 52 Oxford Street Garage, Littauer Lot, SEAS Lot, and William James Lot. Please continue to visit the website for updates:


Does MA require or recommend a 14-day quarantine for out-of-state travelers before returning to the lab? Does Harvard have a policy that overrides the state policy or do we follow the exact same policy?

Guidance from Harvard’s Office of the General Counsel is that the 14-day quarantine remains in effect for individuals travelling to Massachusetts from domestic or international locations, with the exception of those cases detailed below. 

1. Workers who commute to campus daily from out-of-state (e.g. NH and RI) do not have to self-quarantine.

2. Workers who have been staying in a neighboring state since the University closed its physical spaces, and are now returning to their Massachusetts residences to resume work. do not need to quarantine. 

All others returning or travelling for the first time to Massachusetts must self-quarantine for 14 days, including: individuals who traveled out of state for personal reasons (e.g., a vacation or sabbatical);  individuals who have been staying and working in a non-neighboring state during the pandemic; and  individuals returning to the U.S. from international travel

Harvard will continue to monitor the state travel advisory and public health guidance for changes. 

Is there a shuttle to the testing location?

As of June 11th, there will be a Daytime Van Service to cover the testing hours of 10am to 4pm Monday to Friday. This will be a similar “general service” transportation to what was offered prior to shutting down the daytime van service at the end of April. The service will be available for faculty, staff and students who request rides through the app (only): Note, although it says evening van app, it is meant to be used for this service at this time.


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: 

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

To review shuttle services, please visit here:

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: and here:

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:

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.

Can an international postdoc go back to their home country and work remotely from there?

There may be tax and visa/immigration implications.

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: