FAS Return to Campus FAQs

Page Last Updated

January 28, 2022

Building safety and space procedures


Q: How will I feel safe in my building and my workspace?

Harvard Environmental Health & Safety has published FAQS around building safety that we encourage you to review for specific guidance.

FAS shared office spaces may be equipped with supplimental portable HEPA units. High touch areas in FAS spaces are regularly cleaned 2 - 3 times throughout the day by custodial teams, and FAS will be working with departments to provide supplimental cleaning supplies for other spaces, such as offices, as needed. 

Q: How frequently will high-touch spaces be cleaned?

In FAS spaces, your building managers will with their custodial supervisors to ensure that all high-touch surfaces within spaces have been identified and added to the regular cleaning and disinfection procedures. All high touch surfaces will be regularly cleaned 2 - 3 times, per day. 

You can also visit the EH&S FAQ on cleaning protocols for more details.

Q: Are there specific guidelines for in-person interactions on campus?

Yes, Keep Harvard Healthy has a detailed and frequently updated Guidance for on Campus Activity website. We encourage you to check this website for your specific questions around campus activities.

Q: Who is allowed on campus? Can I hold events on campus?

Please review the university guidelines around events on campus to determine if your event meets and adheres to the criteria.  You can also review all campus access protocols on the Keep Harvard Healthy site. FAS has also published the Return to Campus Space Prioritization guide and the Updated FAS Visitor Guidance for Spring 2022 which contains guidelines for on campus visitors based on the University standards.

Q: What is advisable for shared kitchen space?

Eating and drinking may only take place in rooms that have been designated for such use, including rooms that have been repurposed for breaks, mixed-use/common spaces, or events that will include food and beverages. Individuals may also eat and drink in their personal workspace, provided they are alone and are able to maintain six feet of distance from all others. Please ask your manager or Department Administrator, or see the EH&S eating and drinking section of the Guidance of on Campus Activity for more details. 

Q: How do I book space for the spring?

FAS has published guidance on Return to Campus Space Prioritization which contains recommendations for prioritizing space based on teaching and learning needs.

Vaccinations, testing, masking


Q: Are vaccines required for returning to campus?

The University is requiring COVID vaccination for all Harvard community members, including faculty, staff, researchers, and students. This includes students, faculty, staff, and researchers. Campus-wide vaccination is the best defense against the coronavirus. Combined with masking and regular viral testing, a high vaccination rate in Harvard’s community is a critical component of the University’s multi-layered heath and safety measures to protect our community and return to as much in-person learning, research, and activity as possible. Updates and information regarding the University’s vaccine requirement can be found at the University’s vaccine webpage.

In an email from President Bacow dated December 18th, verification of your COVID-19 booster is required by January 31. If you are not yet eligible to receive the booster, your deadline will be 30 days after you become eligible. Individuals who received their primary vaccine series outside the United States should seek a booster with any WHO-approved vaccine that is available to them. Mixing of brands is acceptable. If you have an approved exemption, you will not need to submit additional documentation but should remember that lack of vaccination increases risk for infection and medical complications. Detailed directions for submitting your COVID-19 booster verification to HUHS appear on the University’s Verify Your Vaccination webpage.

Community members must submit verification of vaccination to HUHS. Any community member who is already vaccinated and has not yet submitted verification of vaccination to HUHS should submit this information immediately because these data will inform additional policy decisions. You can submit a copy of your vaccination card to the HUHS vaccination portal by following the detailed instructions on the University’s Verify your Vaccine webpage. Persons who have been vaccinated by HUHS do not need to submit such documentation, which is already on file there. HUHS keeps individual medical information secure and confidential.

Q: How do I submit verification of my vaccination to HUHS?

Follow the instructions listed on the FAS Return to Campus planning page to submit your vaccination record using the HUHS secure portal.

Q: How do I check my vaccination status in the HUHS portal?

  1. Go to the HUHS Patient Portal. Login with your HarvardKey
  2. Enter your birthdate, click “Proceed”
  3. On left hand navigation, click on “Medical Clearances”
  4. Scroll down the page. If HUHS has received, reviewed, and confirmed your vaccination, your status will read as “Compliant” and your details will read as “Satisfied”

An image of a compliant vaccination record in the HUHS patient porrtal

Q: There is an error in my vaccination record, or I submitted my record and I do not see my status? Who can I contact?

Please allow five business days for compliance to be fully processed after submitting your vaccine record. If five days have elapsed and you believe there is an error in your record, please contact HUHS at healthservices@huhs.harvard.edu.

Q: Do I tell my manager that I am vaccinated? Or that I am not vaccinated?

You are not required to tell your manager your vaccination status. However, HUHS requests that you submit a copy of your vaccination card to the HUHS vaccination portal by following the detailed instructions on the University’s Verify your Vaccine webpage. HUHS keeps this information secure and confidential. Submitting your vaccination record will help the University understand the level of protection in our community to make decisions about future policies and protocols. For the most up to date guidance vaccine status questions, please visit the Harvard HR FAQs on returning to campus.


Q. Can I ask my coworkers if they have COVID-19 or if they have been vaccinated?

A. You should not pressure anyone into revealing personal and/or medical information. What they choose to disclose will depend on your relationship. You can ask your colleagues how they are feeling in general but should not inquire about a specific illness or vaccination status.


Q: Do I have to wear a mask at work?

Yes. All FAS staff members must wear a mask indoors while at work, as required by current Harvard policies. FAS is providing face masks for our community - ask your Department Administrator where these are located in your building. When on campus, masks must be worn indoors when in public and in the presence of others, even if physically distanced, and when in common spaces at Harvard. Additional protective measures may be required in some work environments. FAS provides masks to be worn at while work. For more details, see the FAS Face covering mask policy

As of May 29, 2021, fully vaccinated persons are no longer required to use masks outdoors, regardless of distancing. For unvaccinated persons, outdoor use of masks is only required if they cannot maintain distance from others. Harvard will continue to require masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status, until we can determine the level of COVID vaccination across our community. Meanwhile, all community members should carry a mask when coming to campus in the event it becomes necessary to wear it. Individuals may also choose to wear masks in settings where masks are not required.

Please note: For at least the first two weeks of the spring term, indoor social gatherings will be limited in size and individuals must wear face coverings. No food is allowed at FAS gatherings, though “grab-and-go” is allowable. Outdoor gatherings will be allowed.

Q: Who should be tested, and at what frequency? Will I be required to test?

All Harvard affiliates with any on-campus presence are required to test at their assigned cadence. Keep Harvard Healthy has published information around testing, which is determined in part by state and local guidelines.  You should plan to test when you come back to campus and you can check your individual testing cadence in Crimson Clear.  Visit the Harvard University Health Services Viral Testing page for more details, or watch an overview on how to self-administer a test

FAS is providing test kits at several locations on campus, and test kits are also dropped off to most departments on Wednesdays by Harvard University Mail Services. Ask your Department Administrator where to find these test kits in your department or visit the Test Kit Pick Up and Drop Off page to locate a test kit at a central pick up location.

Q: I have a new employee starting. How can I add them to the testing program?

Incoming employees are not automatically to the University's testing program. You or your Department Administrator should follow the instructions on the Adding an individual to the testing program page once your new employee's position is finalized in Aurora and you have their name and HUID. We advise adding the new hire to the testing program a day or two before their start date so they can create a Color account on their first day. There is a one business day delay between when someone is set up in Harvard's testing eligibility file and the overnight tranfer to Color; please plan accordingly. 

Q: How do I start testing? What is Color?

Color is an online test administration tool that the University is using to manage our testing program. To test, activate a test kit online and follow the on screen prompts. Color sends email and text reminders and notifications to individuals in our testing program when it is time for their next test, or when their results are ready.

Follow the instructions on the Creating your Color account page to begin testing. 

Q: What email address does Color have on file for creating my account?

If you have multiple Harvard email accounts, login into Crimson Clear using your Harvard Key: https://crimsonclear.harvard.edu/ to check which account Color has on file. Once you login, scroll down to the Covid Testing Information screen. You should see your Color Provisioning email here. This is the email to use for your Color account.

If you have difficulty creating your Color account and are using the email listed in Crimson Clear as your provisioning email address, please contact ithelp@harvard.edu for support.

Q: I am not scheduled to be on campus on my next test day - what should I do?

The University does not expect you to come to campus just to test. Please test again on the first day you return to campus. If you receive any Color notifications during this time, these can be safely ignored so long as you plan to test on your first day back on campus.

For an extended absence (leaves of absence, sabbaticals, off-campus research) or if your on campus schedule has been reduced (<1x/month), please contact your Department Administrator who will consult with your division's testing coordinator about changing your test group.

Q: What if my child, myself, or other family member has COVID-19-related symptoms, or have been told we must quarantine?

Staff members who are experiencing COVID-related symptoms should stay home and notify their manager. We ask that you use Crimson Clear to report when you are experiencing COVID symptoms, have a recent exposure to a positive case, or test positive outside of our program. Harvard’s temporary policies that allow for expanded and more flexible use of sick time by staff will remain in effect until further notice.

Q: What if a staff member does not follow the Harvard COVID-19 policies and guidelines?

At Harvard/FAS, each employee is expected to meet certain expectations in job performance and conduct. This is clearly stated in the Personnel Manual and the HUCTW contract. Additionally, the University will take disciplinary action against staff who violate federal, state, or local laws. We recognize that the global pandemic has brought on countless new laws, policies, and expectations and that it can be difficult to navigate. However, this does not change the expectation that staff will follow the policies, procedures, and practices of Harvard and/or the employee’s department. Failure to do so will result in disciplinary action, just as it would for any other violation.

Flex work and hybrid work


Q: What if I’m called back to work and don’t feel comfortable returning to campus?

COVID has raised many concerns and changed daily routines for all of us, and this can present a challenge for returning to work. If that’s a concern for you, please reach out to your manager, your HR Consultant, or FAS HR Leaves Consultant Jeanette Sanchez Kamieneski to discuss potential options.

In some instances, it may be possible to modify your work, such as relocation to a more isolated workspace, scheduling adjustments so you aren’t commuting during peak hours, or shifting teams so that coworkers’ work shifts don’t overlap. Resources are also available if you have child- or eldercare responsibilities that make returning to campus an obstacle.

However, if your work requires you to be on campus and alternative arrangements can’t be made, you could a) take personal/vacation days to maintain your pay while taking time off, b) voluntarily reduce your hours, or c) apply for an unpaid personal leave, subject to manager approval. (This may have an effect on your Harvard benefits.)

Q: What guidance is available for setting up and managing flexwork?

First, please review the Harvard HR Flexwork Policies

Harvard HR has developed a Flexwork Toolkit that you can reference as you and your employees discuss flexwork planning.

If you have specific questions related to setting up a flexwork arrangement within your department, contact your HR consultant.

Q: I am getting a lot of questions - where can 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

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. Managers should refer to the Being on Campus During Covid-19 HR FAQs and the Being on Campus During Covid-19 Manager Checklist

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: CampusReturn@fas.harvard.edu

Q: 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.

Q: What if I have researchers working with me who are out-of-state or abroad?

If your researchers are currently out-of-state (in a state where Harvard does not conduct business) or overseas, there may be payroll implications starting in mid-September, 2021 (see: Payroll Processes for Summer/Fall 2021 for more details). Please contact Bob Daley, Associate Director of Payroll Services, daley@fas.harvard.edu, for payroll in the United States and Krister Anderson, krister_anderson@harvard.edu, or Blagomira Ovcharova, blagomira_ovcharova@harvard.edu, in Global Support Services for payroll abroad. You will be responsible for any additional fees associated with out-of-state payroll services.

For other faculty or research related question, you can consult the FAS Faculty Affairs Return to Campus FAQs.

Q: Do I need new technology in my conference room to host hybrid meetings?

If departments want to invest their funds in AV technology, all purchases will need to be vetted by the Learning Spaces Steering Committee to ensure: 

  • Appropriate technology is selected that meets departmental needs and integrates with Harvard's network and IT infrastructure
  • Support model is available (ESS staff will not be available to support all spaces)​
  • Appropriate funding is allocated for support, maintenance, repair and future enhancements​

Please fill out the FAS Department AV Purchases form and return to Katherine Gates, kgates@fas.harvard.edu, to start the assessment.

Q. Will Harvard pay for my internet to work remotely?

A. No. Harvard’s business expense policy does not permit reimbursement for household utilities including internet service.

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

Visit the HUIT Return to Campus website for more information about what to expect for your workstation equipment when you return to campus.

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





Q: What options do I have for parking on campus?

Please visit Harvard transportation services to review FY21-FY22 parking rates and options, including new flexible parking arrangements such as 3 day permits and daily rates.  

If you have specific questions about your commute, you can discuss your particular commute options with Harvard CommuterChoice. Fill out the CommuterChoice form to start an inquiry.

Q: I am concerned about using the T. How do I cancel my transit pass and switch to parking?

Transportation Services has a tutorial on how to cancel your commuter benefits and sign up for parking. 

Q: Is University-related travel permitted?

Yes, but with restrictions. Visit the Keep Harvard Healthy: Travel Guidance page, review updated Travel and Reimbursement guidance and consult with Harvard Travel Services if university-related travel is required.

FAS Operations


Q: I have reached my vacation 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 ResourcesHarvard HR: Paid Time

Q: I have 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, and consult the FAS Onboarding Toolkit. Remember to add your new employee to the university's testing program and verify their vaccination. You may find this checklist helpful to acclimate your new employee to coming to campus

Q: 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.

The Interim Payroll Policy has been extended through May 31, 2022. There have been no changes to the policy.


Payroll processes have been updated for the Spring 2022. There are no major changes to the process except to reflect that Harvard now has payrolls in New England (CT, ME, MA, NH, RI, VT) as well as California, New York and Maryland. Instructions on how employees show complete appropriate state tax forms and state tax distributions can be found on the Interim Payroll Policy website as well as in the Training Portal.


Harvard continues to assess registrations in additional states during the return to campus transition. Until further notice, however, for employees who have relocated to a state not listed above and who do not change their work location to a state where Harvard is registered, the expectation is that they will transition to a payrolling provider such as AllSource if appropriate.

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

Q: 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

Q: Are new corporate cards being mailed to home addresses? Where can I go if I have questions about corporate cards?

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. 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.).