FAS Coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQs

General Operations

What COVID-19 testing will the University provide?

The university will be asking those who will be on campus for more than 4 hrs/week to get a swab test at one of the two HUHS locations: Longwood Medical Area, or Harvard Stadium. The university will not be providing antibody tests.  Visit the Harvard University Health Services Viral Testing page for more details.

Please note: only those who have been officially approved for on campus access are eligible for COVID testing through the University. Do not schedule a test or arrive at one of the testing locations unless you have been asked to work on campus.

Will there be in person meetings or academic seminars in 2020/2021?

No in person meetings, academic seminars or staff meetings should be taking place; the University is asking us to remain remote in our work as much as possible.  Please continue to avoid coming to campus unless you are authorized to be working on campus, and if so, keep your gatherings small.

Guidence on Fall 2021 on campus activities is currently being developed. Please refer to Dean Claudine Gay's message from March 22, 2021 for the latest return to campus update, which includes anticipated plans for allowing students, faculty, and staff on campus in Fall 2021.

updated: April 19, 2021

How much in-person access will students have to administrators?

Students who have not been asked to return to campus will not be allowed on campus and will not have access to administrators or department space. Administrators will need to think about how best they can make themselves available remotely to students.

Will my parking be refunded or can it be put on hold?

 Visit the Permit Parking Options during COVID-19 university work policy website or email Parking Services with additional questions: parking@harvard.edu.

Related Harvard University Coronavirus FAQ: Can I cancel my Harvard Parking Permit?

Additional Resources:
Harvard Transportation and Parking

updated 09/04/20

How do I put my T Pass on hold?

If you do not plan on using your T pass and would like to receive credit for it, please visit Transit Commuter Options During COVID-19 University Work Policy for passholder-specific guidance. For future transit orders, visit Harvard Commuter Choice, emai: commuterchoice@harvard.edu, or call (617) 384-7433. 

Related Harvard University Coronavirus FAQ: Parking and Transit: I'm an essential employee and would like to start driving to work instead of taking public transit. Can I cancel my MBTA pass and get a parking permit?

Additional Resources:
Harvard Commuter Choice
Transit Commuter Options During COVID-19 University Work Policy

updated 06/10/20

When we return to work, what is being considered for transit?

Visit the Campus Services Commute to Campus toolkit for transportation options during this time. When an employee is called to come back to campus, their transportation to campus is their responsibility. There are no current restrictions about taking public transit. More information about on campus parking can be on the Campus Services Transportation page.

updated 09/04/20

Will visiting scholars (not at Harvard) be able to come?

No, visiting scholars should avoid coming to campus.  Any exceptions to our remote environment will need to be carefully vetted.

Human Resources

I am getting a lot of questions - where do I go for help?

We encourage you to leverage the following University-wide resources as a first stop for all COVID-19 related questions and updates. Keep in mind that the information on these websites changes and evolves on a regular basis, given the unfolding circumstances around COVID-19.
-    Harvard Coronavirus Updated HR policies
-    Harvard Coronavirus website 
-    Harvard Coronavirus FAQs   
-    Harvard Coronavirus Workplace Policies
-    Harvard Voluntary Programs for Staff 

The health and safety of the FAS community is our highest priority, and we want to ensure that FAS managers have the resources and information they need to plan for necessary on campus staffing. To this end, FAS has developed a Being on Campus During COVID-19 Toolkit for FAS managers and department administrators.

We ask that you use your best judgment about when to escalate questions to your department, divisions, HR consultant, and FAS administration.  For more specific questions, email: adminops@fas.harvard.edu and Administrative Operations will triage your request.

updated: 09/22/20

As a manager, how should I be approaching remote work?

We recommend reading the University's FAQ, "Advice for leaders, managers, and staff working remotely" for guidance on how to approach remote work.

Additional Resources:
​​​​​​​HUIT Work Remotely​​​​​​​

Will my employees get paid during this time?

Employees who can work from home should continue to do so and report time if necessary; they will be paid for performing their role remotely. If your employees cannot work from home, please refer to pay continuation guidance posed on the Coronavirus main page on updated Human Resources policies in response to COVID-19.  For information on Payroll procuedures during this time, please visit the Office of the Controller's Payroll Processes During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency page.

updated: 01/22/2021

How should I be entering my time (including absences)?


Please continue to report your normal worked hours in Peoplesoft, and submit to your time approver on time, if appropriate. 

For absences, please refer to the University-wide guidance on the Coronavirus Workplace Policies page on how to report absences in PeopleSoft, including use of the 30-day emergency excused absence. If you would like more information about the use of sick time and dependent care sick time, visit the Corornavirus Workplace Policies: Use of Sick Time and Dependent Care Sick Time

Additional Resources:
Harvard HR Enhanced Workplace Policies
Reporting Time and Absences in Peoplesoft
COVID Dependent Care Information Sheet

updated 09/22/20

What happens if I get sick, or need vacation time?

Working from home does not change the previous guidance given by your local manager for submitting or approving vacation, sick, or personal time. If you are not feeling well, please report this immediately to your approving manager and please be in touch with health services if you believe you have COVID-19. HUHS: healthservices@huhs.harvard.edu. For more guidance, visit the University FAQ under the health section, "What should I do if I feel sick?"

Related Harvard University Coronavirus FAQ: Health --> What should I do if I feel sick?

Additional Resources:
HUHS Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Information and Updates

updated 01/22/21

I have reached my vacation day maximum - what should I do?

While we recognize that it may be difficult to take vacation days right now given COVID-19, we would encourage staff, especially those with accrued and unused vacation days at the maximum level, to continue to use their vacation days to the extent possible.  While you might not be able to travel currently, and venturing out is limited, time away from an employee’s remote work arrangement is still possible. There are no current plans to change vacation maximums or the way in which vacation days accrue for those with a maximum balance. 

Keep in mind that once a staff member reaches their vacation maximum and no longer accrues vacation days, there is a negative impact on both the staff member and the department if the accrued and unused vacation days are not taken. Staff members lose the chance to rest and to recharge, and there is a negative financial impact for the department which has paid (for vacation time) into the Harvard-wide vacation fund and is not able to obtain credit for vacation time used. 

Additional Resources:
Harvard HR: Paid Time

​​​​​​​updated 09/04/20

How do I process an I-9 for a new employee?

The Central Payroll and Nonresident Alien Tax Compliance teams have made operational changes for payroll time entry/approval, paper check distribution, form I-9 collection, nonresident alien onboarding, and glacier tax compliance. See the Office of the Controller website. For information on completing the form I-9, see the Guidance Regarding I-9 Collection During COVID-19 page.

Additional Resources:
Guidance Regarding I-9 Collection during COVID-19
Central Payroll
Payroll and NRA Emergency Operations Changes

updated 09/04/20

I had a new employee starting next week, what should I do?

It is possible for a new employee to start work despite working remotely. Department administrators can work with FAS Human Resources and HUIT to facilitate remote onboarding.

Can I process an approved hire or PMF for an existing position?

FAS has rolled out a process to assess whether hiring meets a critical need at this time. Please visit the FAS HR page on the Critical Position Review (CPR) process.

A position is designated as critical when “its responsibilities include non-deferrable services that must be performed despite an emergency closure or work curtailment.” Simply put, critical positions are a small handful of jobs that will have a strategic impact on our ability to continue our FAS mission and essential operations in the immediate future.

updated: 06/10/20

My department would like to make a faculty hire. What do I do?

For questions regarding Faculty hiring please contact FAS Faculty Affairs.

What happens for employees on leave? Can I process a backfill?

The University at this time has not changed their short-term and long-term benefits which include maternity leaves.  Consult Harvard HR Leaves for more information about leaves.

If you want to move forward with a backfill hire that you feel is strategic and critical please take the following steps outlined on the FAS HR page on the Critical Process Review (CPR).

updated: 09/04/20

Who is eligible to receive unemployment benefits?

Unemployment eligibility is determined by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Insurance eligibility criteria. Visit the Commonwealth's dedicated site around COVID-19 for unemployment information.

Where can I go for help with personal challenges?

Harvard’s Office of Work/Life, as well as the EAP and other resources are working to meet our needs. For both managers and employees, if you have a specific request, please reach out to the  EAP to talk through and explore options. 

You can reach the EAP any time for personal or work-related concerns at 877-EAP-HARV (877-327-4278). Explore this section for specific ways in which the EAP can help. You can also visit the EAP online.


How are we handling I-9s, invoices, cash receipts and wires?

Strategic Procurement has developed guidance for invoice and payment processing, expense report processing, and CITI card usage in order to minimize disruption to payment processes. Accounts Payable has closed the Cash Receipts Office until further notice and has issued guidance on processing cash, checks, and credit vouchers during this time. Learn more about these important Accounts Payable guidelines. The SLA has been extended to 5-7 days for processing payments.

The Central Payroll and Nonresident Alien Tax Compliance teams have made operational changes for payroll time entry/approval, paper check distribution, form I-9 collection, nonresident alien onboarding, and glacier tax compliance. See the Office of the Controller website. For information on completing the form I-9, see the Guidance Regarding I-9 Collection During COVID-19 page.

Related Harvard University Coronavirus FAQs: Work Remotely - Financial Matters

Additional Resources:
AP Operations Guidance
Office of the Controller
Central Payroll and I-9 Guidance
Travel Operations Guidance
Guidance Regarding I-9 Collection during COVID-19

updated 09/04/20

How do I use the COVID-19 activity code?

To help departments track Coronavirus/COVID-19 related costs, we have created a new activity code “799680 – COVID-19 nonrecurring charges” within the chart of accounts. This code is designed to track unusual activities and expenses relating to our response to this incident and can be used for expenses such as travel cancellation fees, non-refundable conference fees, support of distance learning, or costs associated with transitioning students off campus. 

Please keep in mind:

  •     This activity code should NOT be used for charges to sponsored awards.
  •     We recommend that everyone add “COVID-19” to the transaction description to help further track these costs.

Departments should use the unspecified subactivity of 0000 instead of a specific subactivity code. If you use a specific subactivity with the COVID-19 activity code, it will not work. 

If you are using this code in HCOM, Concur, or with PCards, you many need to validate the code. Use the Chart of Accounts Validator tool. Once validated, it will be available for usage within 24 hours of the submitted  validation request. 

Additional Resources:
FAS Finance Chart of Accounts Validator Tool

Can I use a sub-activity code with the COVID-19 activity code?

No. Departments should use the unspecified subactivity of 0000 and nothing specific. If you tried to use a specific subactivity with the COVID-19 activity code, it will not work. Remove any specific subactivity code with the COVID-19 activity code.

Additional Resources:
FAS Finance Chart of Accounts Validator Tool

Will the FAS pay for my wifi or home office equipment?

Schools across Harvard are discouraging use of school funds to pay for an individual's wifi, and HUIT has published a list of reduced cost wifi or cellular data allowances. 

University policy prohibits the purchase of office/peripheral equipment and supplies for use at home. Any exceptions to this policy must be approved by the FAS Finance Dean prior to any purchase made.

Additional Resources:
Harvard Business Expense Reimbursements Policy

What if my employees is out sick and hasn't entered their time?

FAS Payroll has measures in place to ensure employees are paid in this situation. FAS Payroll will continue to send out reminders about missing time. 

Please remind your staff that time entry should continue to occur as normal, even while working remotely.

Where can I go if I have questions about corporate cards?

For questions about Corporate Cards, please visit Harvard Card Services and FAS Card Services.

Contact Harvard Card Services: fad_corporatecard@harvard.edu
Contact FAS Card Services: Joshua Dunn, dunn@fas.harvard.edu

You can also contact Citi Customer Service: 1-800-248-4553 (call collect 1-904-954-7314 when dialing from outside the U.S.).

Are new corporate cards automatically sent to home addresses?

New corporate cards will be mailed to home addresses as long as the University’s work-from-home advisory remains in place. Applications will only be submitted to Citi during this time if they contain a home address.

Where should I go for questions about business travel changes?

Travel Cancellation and Reimbursement Guidelines and FAQ’s can be found on the Harvard Travel Website FAQs.

Additional Resources:
Harvard Travel Services

Physical Resources

Will Harvard be providing masks or supplies for return to work?

The University has procured masks and other critical supplies for a safe return to campus for those who are authorized to return to campus. Departments do not need to buy these supplies. Do not procure these items on your own. 

Please see the FAS Face Covering Policy for detailed information. FAS will be providing approved face masks to all staff, students, residential affiliates, faculty and TAs/TFs/CAs who are asked to return to campus for use in all indoor and outdoor on campus spaces. 

updated: 02/04/21

What happens if I need to access my office or lab?

Based on Governor Baker's advisory, we are urging employees to stay home and not enter Harvard buildings. We will be limiting public access to facilities by requiring a Harvard ID Card for entry, and building access logs will be reviewed by Divisional Deans for appropriateness. Before going to your building, you should check with your manager to ensure it is absolutely necessary. If you are an essential employee and need to access these spaces for mission critical work, we urge you to follow social distancing guidance when accessing buildings. 

If you are in an academic division or with the Harvard College Libraries, before going to the office, you or your manager will need to notify your Ad Dean - Science Division: Russ Porter; Arts & Humanities: Mathilda van Es; Social Sciences: Beverly Beatty; Harvard College Libraries: Vaughn Waters.  If you have approval from your manager and your division, follow the steps outlined on the Keeping Harvard Healthy: Facilities, Office & Lab Requirements page before coming to campus

updated 09/04/20

Research Administration

Will FAS Research Computing resources be available?

Yes, we expect to sustain access to FAS Research Computing resources during this time and office hours will be held remotely.  Visit FAS Research Computing for more information. 

Additional Resources:
FAS Research Lab Operations FAQs

My employee is funded on sponsored funds-how will they get paid?

Refer to guidance from the Harvard Office of Sponsored Projects around charging employees to sponsored grants. For additional guidance or specific questions, reach out to your FAS RAS grants manager. 

Additional Resources:
Harvard OSP FAQs for COVID-19 - Sponsored Research
Harvard OSP: COVID-19 Research Releated Information and Websites

Are LHT's doing research w/faculty restricted from being hired?

While federal agencies and sponsors have not issued guidance on hiring, we urge you to handle research hiring on a case by case basis, and consider if the nature of the work is conducive to remote work, and if the project is still running. 

Also remember that if you want to move forward with a staff hire that you feel is strategic and critical please follow the FAS Critical Position Review process.

updated 06/10/20

What about work on grants by out-of-state/country researchers?

We are waiting for the Office of the Controller to provide University wide guidance for foreign hires working outside the U.S.

updated 06/10/20


What is the best way to get help with a technology issue?

Visit the HUIT Work Remotely website for more information about available tools and resources for remote work.

Contact the HUIT Service Desk for specific IT questions or concerns: 
Submit a ticket or live chat with HUIT support online: huit.harvard.edu/ithelp
Email: ithelp@harvard.edu
Phone: 617-495-7777

How and where can I get resources to help me work from home?

You can take your Harvard provided laptop, monitor, and docking station home. If you have desktop machine but we ask that you contact your manager and HUIT for other alternatives.


HUIT Service Desk

If you have technology questions or needs, please contact the HUIT Service Desk at 617-495-7777 or via chat at http://huit.harvard.edu/ithelp for the fastest service. Calls are immediately triaged with remote assistance, and on-site support is provided as needed. You can also schedule a remote, 30-minute computer “tune-up” with a technician to ensure that your system and software are up-to-date, secure, and ready to use going into the fall.

Technology Loaner Program

For faculty, students, or teaching staff who are teaching or learning remotely, HUIT has partnered with FAS to provide loaner equipment such as laptops, iPads, webcams or screens to address essential hardware needs for teaching. Additional information is available here.

Technology Tools for Teaching, Learning, and Community

To foster excellence in remote teaching and community engagement among students, the College, GSAS, and HUIT have partnered to provide a streamlined set of technologies and services this fall. With broad input from the FAS community, multiple working groups analyzed a variety of use cases and solutions. Please see the most up-to-date list of supported tools for the term ahead.

Related Harvard University Coronavirus FAQs: Technology Support

Additional Resources:
HUIT Work Remote

updated 09/04/20

Will FAS Research Computing resources be available?

Yes, we expect to sustain access to FAS Research Computing resources during this time and office hours will be held remotely.  Visit FAS Research Computing for more information. 

Additional Resources:
FAS Research Lab Operations FAQs