Return-to-Campus FAQ

As more members of HSDM's workforce return to campus, HSDM has convened a Return-to-Campus Task Force to provide guidance during this transition period. Please see answers to frequently asked questions from the HSDM community below. 

Vaccinations, Testing, and Masking

Are members of the Harvard community required to be vaccinated?

  • Yes, all Harvard students, faculty, staff, and researchers are required to have a COVID vaccination and booster.  
  • All Harvard community members who will have an on-campus presence are required to provide verification of COVID vaccination to Harvard University Health Services (HUHS). If you have not yet submitted your vaccine information, there is an updated process using your HarvardKey to access the HUHS Patient Portal. This process is available to all Harvard students, staff, faculty, and researchers, even if you are not an HUHS patient. Instructions for submitting are available on the Verify Your Vaccination webpage. If you have already submitted your vaccine card to HUHS, or if you received your vaccination through HUHS, you do not need to submit any further information, as HUHS already has your information on file. HUHS keeps individual medical information secure and confidential.
  • Any incoming students (AGE and DMD) should plan to be fully vaccinated before returning to campus for the upcoming semester, meaning that at least two weeks have passed since the final dose of an FDA-authorized or approved vaccine (currently Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson) or  vaccines that have been authorized for emergency use by the World Health Organization (e.g., AstraZeneca/Oxford). You can read more about the requirement and how to submit documentation on the Harvard University Health Services (HUHS) website.
  • For international students and any others unable to access an FDA- or WHO-authorized vaccine before the fall, the University plans to offer vaccination on arrival. Please note, however, that these students may be subject to additional requirements, such as more frequent testing, until they are considered fully protected by a vaccine. Students may contact HUHS with questions.

Am I required to wear a mask at HSDM even if I’m vaccinated?

  • As of March 7, 2022, masks are now optional in HSDM and HMS buildings. There are some exceptions where masks will still be required, including: healthcare facilities, including HSDM clinical facilities; public transit; University and MASCO buses and shuttles; and large indoor gatherings, events, and classes with more than 250 persons. Those who prefer to continue wearing a mask for their protection should do so. Surgical-style masks remain available for the time being at the security desks in the HSDM building.

  •  Indoor masking will still be required at large indoor gatherings, events, and classes that exceed more than 250 guests. 

Will daily health attestations (Crimson Clear) be required?

Daily Crimson Clear attestations for those working on campus are no longer required except for individuals working in patient care. Faculty, students and staff working in the Harvard Dental Center should continue doing Crimson Clear daily. For anyone who may be concerned that they have been exposed to COVID or are experiencing symptoms, please complete Crimson Clear. Harvard University Health Services (HUHS) will then contact you to provide guidance.

What other safety and testing protocols will I need to follow?

  • You will also need to register for weekly COVID testing if you are on campus more than 4 hours a week. Contact HSDM Facilities a minimum of a week in advance of returning to campus to be registered for testing. Create a profile in Color at Testing frequency is once per week for those who are authorized to come to campus for work or academic activities. For those residing on campus, testing is twice per week (on nonconsecutive days).
  • Self-test pickup: There will be one daily self-test distribution time Monday through Friday 12-1pm in the REB Lobby.
  • All HSDM community members are required to test weekly when on Campus. To review your cadence, go to .
    If you are not onsite or unable to make these distribution times, please contact or visit the Office of Administration & Finance in the Main Building, Room 100 (617-432-1405).
  • In addition to wearing a mask inside all HSDM clinical facilities – with the exception of HSDM labs, and the HDC clinics – six-foot physical distancing is still required at this time. This policy may be revised when the University receives confirmation of higher vaccination levels.

What happens if I test positive for COVID-19?

  • Stay home and communicate with your supervisor. The Harvard University Health Services (HUHS) contact tracing team will be in touch with the process to be followed for  isolation/quarantine and contact tracing. The HSDM Facilities team concurrently follows up with decontamination required of physical spaces.
  • HUHS will begin contact tracing for the greater Harvard community. Anyone with known exposure to a positive case will be expected to work with our contact tracing team. Fully vaccinated individuals will not need to quarantine provided they have submitted to HUHS a copy of their vaccine record. All other individuals who are not fully vaccinated or do not have documentation on file will be required to quarantine and may need additional testing, as these individuals may also be infected.
  • See Harvard University’s HR policies on the use of sick time and paid time off for care of dependents (both sick and well) that reflects temporary changes for Harvard staff during the COVID-19 emergency.

Onsite and Hybrid Work

What is the timeframe for administrative staff and non-clinical faculty to return to campus?

Many HSDM staff and faculty are already on campus or are returning to campus in support of clinical, educational, and research programs. There will be a variety of flexible approaches and varied return-to-campus dates across the University based on business and academic needs for onsite coverage. HSDM’s Office of Human Resources has created tools and resources to facilitate departmental planning, working in tandem with the Return-to-Campus Task Force.

Will flexible work arrangements be available (work from home or hybrid)?

  • Planning is underway by department, office, and unit leaders to determine the most appropriate work arrangements based on their specific business and academic needs. Managers are encouraged to have one-on-one conversations with their teams to assess needs and determine coverage options. There may be variability across and even within each unit depending on the requirements of the work itself and on various interdependencies. In the initial months of employees returning, we anticipate a variety of hybrid schedules that may include some days in the office, as well as days at home. This planning is supported by guidance from the Office of Human Resources and Harvard Human Resources. A toolkit, manager’s questionnaire/checklist, and workshops will be available to managers to assist with planning. Managers communicated their plans for coverage with the Office of Human Resources in June and are encouraged to have a check in with their employees in September to evalaute how flex schedules are working.
  • Employees requesting hybrid schedules (some days onsite and some remote) should consult with their supervisor and fill out a Flexwork Schedule which should also be submitted to HR.

What measures are in place to ensure a safe work environment?

  • HSDM has been following all Harvard University COVID protocols on testing, mask-wearing, social distancing, etc. and has remained extremely safe throughout the pandemic with no COVID cases related to community spread. All community members are expected to be vaccinated and continue to follow all Harvard University guidelines to keep our community safe.
  • Additionally, the Harvard Dental Center clinics have implemented extra PPE, snorkel units, temperature checks, etc.
  • If you do not feel well and are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, even other than typical COVID symptoms, please refrain from coming to campus. Staying home when sick is protective of community members whose immune system may be compromised, and/or who are already feeling anxiety about coming back to campus.

What options do I have for parking and transportation?

  • Your commuting needs may have changed based on different schedules and frequency of coming to campus. Please see the latest parking and transportation options available. Discuss options with your supervisor if you are considering a flexible commuter schedule to avoid peak hours.
  • Plan several weeks in advance of your return to campus to ensure your commuting needs are covered. Parking arrangements for HMS parking garages need to be made up to two weeks in advance, MBTA passes need to be purchased monthly.
  • There is a new online one-day parking permit system available beginning June 22 that can be used for parking on either the Longwood or Cambridge campus. Currently the cost for Harvard Longwood Campus is $18/day (discounted until the end of the year from $25/day). 

Where can I eat and drink on campus?

  • Eating and drinking is allowed within private offices. In cubicles drinking is allowed, but food consumption should be limited to when others are not in your locality.
  • REB 109, REB 211, Main 011 are all designated eating areas (please comply with the posted maximum capacities) – REB 302 and REB 502 are also being used as break rooms for researchers. With nicer weather, outdoor seating is also available on the Quad and in the courtyard of the T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
  • The HMS Courtyard Café is open daily, along with other local restaurants with takeout options. Food trucks have also returned to campus and are located outside of the REB most weekdays.

If I moved out of state, when will I be required to move back?

  • Once the Massachusetts state of emergency is lifted, employees will need to return to a campus work location or work predominantly in a Harvard-registered state within 90 days in order to remain on Harvard payroll and retain related benefits. Harvard is continuing the plan to register in, withhold taxes, and provide benefits in other New England states and New York when the emergency order expires, with an assessment of other states to follow.
  • Those employees who do not return to a campus work location or continue their work predominantly in a Harvard-registered state may be moved to a third-party payroll provider, dependent on business needs. Harvard will communicate next steps to employees when the public health emergency has been lifted based upon their home address on file with the University. The assumption during the public health emergency is that the home address in PeopleSoft reflects the location (state/country) where employees working remotely are working the majority of their time.

Meetings & Events

Can I meet with a colleague(s) in person if we are on campus?

  • Yes, you may hold meetings in person, indoors. Physical distancing and face coverings are no longer required as of March 7, 2022, however please be mindful of the comfort level of your meeting attendees. Some individuals may still feel more comfortable wearing a mask in group settings. 

What about in-person events?

  • As of March 7, 2022, in-person events with less than 250 attendees can resume at HSDM. Guests are not required to wear face coverings. Food and drink is allowed.
  • Masks must still be worn in large indoor gatherings and events (including classes) that exceed more than 250 guests. Guests are permitted to remove face coverings while actively eating and drinking.

IT Support and Equipment

If I work a hybrid/flex schedule what computer equipment is available to me?

  • One Harvard workstation (either a laptop or desktop) per employee will be issued/supported.
  • For individuals on HSDM campus 3+ days/week) the user will have a workstation (desktop OR laptop/docking station) located in their office/assigned space
  • For individuals participating in the Flex Work program and are on campus 2 days (or less), they are eligible for an “HSDM Mobile Package” (laptop, carrying case, and wireless keyboard and mouse); a docking station will be installed at their office/assigned space on Campus (as soon as feasible given the long lead times on IT equipment).
  • Users issued an HSDM Mobile Package as their primary workstation are required to bring the device with them to and from Campus as needed to conduct their work.

What IT support is available to me while working from home?

  • You should continue to email HSDM-Support to report any technical or computer issues while working either from home or in the office. Many issues can be resolved remotely.
  • If your Harvard-issued computer/device requires in-person support/repair, you will need to make an appointment to bring your device on campus for a Tech to complete the work.
  • Employees are still able to utilize their own personal devices from their remote office if they wish, however please be reminded that personal devices are not supported by Harvard or HSDM IT and users are responsible for configuring and supporting their own devices and software and ensuring the necessary Harvard Information security protocols are in place.

Can I get a loaner laptop for short-or-long term use while outside the office?

  • Short term loaner laptops will be issued to an employee if a device needs a quick repair that takes more than a day to perform. Specialty software and specialized configurations from the user’s primary workstation will not be available on short term loaner laptops.
  • IT is not able to ship devices to or from remote employee’s homes, so individuals who require a loaner laptop should plan to come into the office to pick it up.
  • Longer term, only one Harvard workstation (either a laptop or desktop) per employee will be issued/supported, so consider your computing needs when deciding on the equipment that works best for you.

Is the home office furniture and/or equipment I purchase for working from home reimbursed?

  •  The University is still evaluating and developing Flex Work Program guidelines. As such, HSDM’s policies and guidelines related to IT equipment and reimbursement will continue to be evaluated as necessary to align with University policy.
  • Employees participating in the Flex Work program are doing so on a voluntary basis. As such, employees are responsible for outfitting their home offices with the necessary furniture, equipment and IT essentials that make their work experience most productive.
  • The following peripherals and supplies are the responsibility of the employee: Printers and Ink (Employees who need to print large jobs, flyers, etc., are encouraged to come into the office to perform these tasks); Extra monitors; Adapters; Home office supplies (paper, pens, staples, etc.). Employees are encouraged to come into the office to come into the office as needed to obtain the few incidentals they may need to perform their work tasks offsite.

Research and Lab Activities

What are the physical distancing requirements in labs?

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.

Will the laboratory occupancy limits be relaxed after May 29?

Yes, the laboratory occupancy limits will be removed after May 29, 2021. There are no remaining % occupancy caps.


What is the status of lab-reopening plans submitted by labs?

With sector-specific requirements lifted by the Governor, the requirement for labs to maintain their laboratory reopening plans is removed. 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.

Educational Programs

Will classes be offered in-person or remain virtual?

Harvard University's physical distancing protocols were updated on Friday, June 25, to allow for in-person learning. The new guidance allows vaccinated persons in the Harvard research community (lab and non-lab) and in educational programs whose academic year begins in July, to no longer follow physical distancing in situations where distancing negatively impacts scientific or academic progress. Masks are still required in indoor settings.

We will move forward with plans to expand classroom and research support spaces to full occupancy, and have more robust onsite activities in the weeks to come. We are preparing classrooms and other designated student spaces for the transition to more in-person educational activities. Until then, it is likely that courses will remain flexible in their mode of instruction and will blend both in-person and remote instruction dependent on the content and format of individual class sessions.

What access will students have to labs and resources?

Beginning Wednesday, June 2, access was restored to the Pre-Clinical Learning Center (PLC), Prosthodontic Lab, and Digital Dental Lab as previously provided in the evenings and on weekends without occupancy restrictions. Students should continue to access the School via the REB entrance during evening and weekend hours and must continue to adhere to current PPE requirements (including gowns, gloves, masks, and face shields) while working in these settings.

What about clinical schedules?

We are encouraged by the news that we have been approved to increase capacity in the Harvard Dental Center (HDC) and look forward to increasing chair availability in the Teaching Practice and Faculty Group Practices in the upcoming weeks. Changes to the Predoc and AGE clinic session schedules will be announced soon.


What is Harvard’s policy for HSDM-related work travel?


  • For travel beginning July 15 or later Harvard-affliated persons who are fully vaccinated may engage in Harvard-related travel, without a petition unless you are traveling to a country rated  Level 4 for COVID-19 by the CDC. See Harvard University Travel Guidance for futher details.
  • Travelers are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their final dose of an FDA-authorized vaccine (currently Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson) or a vaccine authorized for emergency use by the World Health Organization (e.g., AstraZeneca/Oxford).
  • Travelers are required to attest that they are fully vaccinated at the time of travel and that they have submitted proof of their vaccination to Harvard University Health Services (HUHS) at
  • Travelers should learn about public health conditions and relevant restrictions at their destination and adhere to any required health and safety measures while in transit and upon arrival, which may include testing, quarantining, mask wearing, hand washing/sanitizing, and physical distancing.
  • As always, undergraduate, graduate, and professional students must also comply with the student pre-departure requirements for any Harvard-sponsored international travel.
  • We are closely monitoring CDC and DPH guidance, global incidence rates, and the feasibility of travel, and we will update the criteria to petition as conditions warrant.

Managing Stress and Anxiety

What resources are available for faculty and staff regarding mental health and overall well-being?

Your mental health is important for your overall health and well-being. Here are some available resources:

  • Watch the HMS Coping with Coronavirus web series for help dealing with daily stress, anxiety, and a range of other emotions
  • Reach out to the Ombuds Office, which is available to support HMS, HSDM, and Harvard Chan School faculty, staff, students, and trainees, as well as affiliate institution appointees, with any issue impacting work or studies, including concerns surrounding COVID-19. Ombuds Melissa Brodrick and Justin Neiman are available for Zoom, phone, and Skype appointments. Call 617-432-4041 or email Robin Cheung.
  • Review the Harvard University Health Services guide to help manage fear and anxiety.
  • Participate in webinars and remote workshops offered by the Harvard Longwood Campus Office of Employee Development and Wellness.
  • Access the free Coronavirus Sanity Guide, including meditations, podcasts, blog posts, and talks offered by Ten Percent Happier.
  • Contact the Employee Assistance Program to speak with a mental health professional.


Also see the Harvard University Keep Harvard Healthy website, and FAQ for additional guidance.