* Harvard College, Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS), and the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS)
General Testing Information for the FAS Community
- HUHS, EHS, HUIT, and leadership from across the University are working closely together to safely and efficiently implement campus-wide testing and safety protocols. Harvard has established a multitude of safety protocols to support the return of any community members who must use our facilities.
- Currently, all Harvard-affiliated community members who return to campus more than four hours per week must receive a COVID-19 test to help establish a clear baseline of COVID-19’s impact within our community.
- HUHS is currently formalizing plans for regular, ongoing testing for members of the university community who are on campus and will update the community on those plans as they are put in place in the coming weeks.
- Through baseline and recurring tests, we can ensure that the safety protocols we’ve established are meeting their intended goals. Should we experience an increase in positive test results, we can quickly adjust our operations to effectively mitigate any outbreaks.
* Testing, tracing and other health and safety protocols have been put in place and will continue to be updated as guidance advances to support our goal of re-opening campus first to some cohorts of our campus community, and eventually all members of our community. Please recognize that these efforts will not mean that we have zero infections or even zero clusters of disease outbreaks within the Harvard community, but rather these steps will help us prevent uncontrolled outbreaks from spreading on campus. We can only do that with your cooperation. We are all in this together and “Let’s Keep Harvard Healthy.”
Testing Protocols for FAS Students Returning to Campus and FAS Residential Staff
- All FAS students and staff living in or regularly working in on-campus housing will undergo a baseline viral test for COVID-19 upon their return.
- Students and residential staff living and working on campus can expect that they will be regularly tested for the virus, at a frequency of every three (3) days. The frequency may increase or decrease depending on the prevalence of infection within the Harvard community and region. Additional testing may be warranted if a student or residential staff member develops symptoms of COVID-19.
- Should a student or residential staff member test positive for the virus, they will be contacted by a medical professional from Harvard University Health Services (HUHS) to discuss next steps which will include a required isolation period dependent upon the clinical features of each case (based on current CDC guidelines).
- HUHS will also begin contact tracing for the greater Harvard Community. Anyone with known exposure to a positive case will be required to quarantine and may need additional testing. All students are required to participate fully in public health protocols.
- HUHS and the University are continuing to formalize plans for both baseline and regular, ongoing testing for members of the community. We will continue to share updates, including information on testing locations and other logistics, as those plans are finalized in the coming weeks.
How often are fas students or other members of the community required to be tested?
Students and residential staff living and working on campus can expect that they will be regularly tested for the virus, at a frequency of every three (3) days. The frequency may increase or decrease depending on the prevalence of infection within the Harvard community and region. Additional testing may be warranted if a student or residential staff member develops symptoms of COVID-19.
What is the difference between baseline testing and the ongoing testing that will be required?
Baseline testing is an initial COVID-19 test required of all FAS community members. Your baseline test should be taken as soon as possible, ideally within 2-3 days prior to or after the date of return to campus, but no later than two weeks after arrival.
Ongoing tests will ensure that the safety protocols we’ve established are meeting their intended goals. Should the FAS community experience an increase in positive test results, operations can be quickly adjusted to effectively mitigate any outbreaks. Baseline and ongoing tests themselves are the same.
How many testing locations will there be on campus, and where will they be located?
Current testing locations are at Harvard Stadium and at the New Research Building (NRB) at the Longwood Medical Area. When students return to campus, there will be testing sites located in our nearby FAS residential communities. More information about these testing locations will be coming soon.
Will I have to make an appointment to be tested?
More information coming soon.
What if I miss a testing date or can’t get an appointment?
More information coming soon.
If I’m living on campus, why do I have to complete Crimson Clear each day?
By attesting that you are symptom-free and have not had recent exposure to someone with COVID-19 before leaving your dorm room/suite, you are playing a key role in protecting the health and safety of your classmates and fellow Harvard community members. Should you have any COVID-related symptoms or exposure to somebody with COVID-19, your daily attestation will be provided to HUHS so that we can provide you a clinical assessment and appropriate follow-up instructions based on symptoms and medical condition.
Are face coverings required if I am living or working on campus?
Yes, face coverings are required at all times while on campus. For more information, click here.
Will Harvard provide the necessary supplies for testing?
Yes. HUHS will administer tests at no cost to students or members of the FAS community.
Will Harvard provide face coverings to anyone living and working on campus?
More information coming soon.
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- For any individual who tests positive for COVID-19, HUHS will follow-up directly to notify the individual of the results, provide advice, and help coordinate or refer to any support necessary for the period of isolation, which will be based upon current CDC guidelines.
- HUHS will also begin the contact tracing process for any positive cases, who will be advised to quarantine in accordance with CDC and MDPH guidance.
- As required by state law, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health will also be notified of any positive test.
- In order to facilitate the very time-sensitive process of result notification and contact tracing, it is essential that members of the Harvard community respond immediately to any outreach from HUHS or public health authorities.
- In addition to testing and adherence to isolation and quarantine when advised, it is also critical that members of the Harvard community maintain physical distance of six feet and wear face coverings whenever in the presence of other individuals.
- Furthermore, all Harvard community members who enter University facilities must attest if they are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19, or if they have had recent exposure to someone known to be positive for COVID-19.
- Before entering any facilities (or leaving your dorm room/suite – in the case of a student currently residing on campus and, for example, working in a lab or other facility), attestation must be completed through a web-based application developed in partnership with HUIT called Crimson Clear.
- When an individual successfully completes Crimson Clear, they will receive a “clear” pass, valid for 23 hours. If they are not cleared, they will receive follow-up from an HUHS clinician to determine next steps before they can re-enter Harvard facilities.
I live in New Hampshire or Rhode Island. Do I need to quarantine before returning to/visiting Campus?
As of July 1, all travelers arriving in Massachusetts are instructed to self-quarantine for 14 days, except those traveling from Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, or Vermont.
I have been out of state for personal reasons. Do I have to quarantine?
You should consult the University Travel Guidance webpage for updates on the travel policy. As of this writing, all travel is strongly discouraged. However, if you do travel out of state, information on the Massachusetts quarantining requirement is included below:
- Workers who traveled out of state (excluding CT, ME, NH, NJ, NY, RI, or VT) for personal reasons (e.g., a vacation or sabbatical) would have to self-quarantine as they are acting more like travelers in that context. Self-quarantining also provides an extra layer of protection given that travel may have been to any number of places with varying pandemic conditions.
- Workers returning to the U.S. from international travel should self-quarantine upon reentry as travelers, consistent with the state guidance. Additionally, the CDC and DHS have advised that U.S. residents returning from overseas travel should self-quarantine.
- Workers who have been staying and working in another state (excluding CT, ME, NH, NJ, NY, RI, or VT) during the pandemic similarly should self-quarantine as they are also more akin to travelers in that circumstance.
I have been staying in a neighboring state. Do I need to quarantine before returning to/visiting Campus?
As of July 1, workers who have been staying in RI, CT, VT, NH, ME, NY, NJ since the University closed its physical spaces, and are now returning to their Massachusetts residences to resume work, do not need to quarantine if they have not traveled elsewhere within the past 14 days.
If I am required to quarantine, but receive a negative COVID-19 test, do I still need to quarantine before returning to Campus?
A negative viral test would not override the need to self-quarantine. The state travel advisory does not create a testing exception to quarantining, and from a public health perspective, a viral test would simply record a person’s status at a particular point in time and is not a substitute for the 14-day stay at home period.