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


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 July31st).

There are deeply discounted parking rates available, please check the Harvard Transportation & Parking site for more info:

The new return-to-work policy states that, “Harvard is not registered to do business or employ workers in states other than Massachusetts and California. Therefore, if you wish to continue to live and work outside of these states after the end of 2020, and your manager agrees to this arrangement, you may need to resign and become employed by an outside, third-party payroller. This company would provide your compensation and benefits for your work for Harvard. Benefits offered to payrolled workers are not the same as those provided to those directly employed by Harvard.” Should remote work policies be extended after 2020, will Harvard be changing this rule?

Employees will need to directly consult with Human Resources:

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,


Starting in August, Massachusetts appears to be changing its rule on quarantining after travel. If you get a negative test 72-hours before returning or get a negative test upon return, you do not need to quarantine for 14-days. Will Harvard also adopt this policy.

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:


"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:


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: