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Coronavirus: HGSE Looks Forward

HGSE’s top priority during the COVID pandemic has been the health and safety of community members, their families, and the public. This remains our top priority. As guided by the CDC and the University, our approach to safety includes required vaccination and booster and optional testing. Please find more information below about our specific policies and procedures. For additional questions about HGSE's safety plans and precautions, please, please contact hgse_reopening@gse.harvard.edu.

HGSE's Community Compact

HGSE’s Community Compact spells out our shared responsibilities for maintaining a healthy community. Read the compact.

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HGSE's Latest Updates

HGSE’s Revised Visitor Policy
April 25, 2022
The University will cease to require regular surveillance testing, beginning on April 28 for non-residential and May 10 for residential community members. Testing will continue to be available on an optional basis, and anyone with symptoms or known exposure should continue to test. Read the full announcement from President Lawrence S. Bacow.

University-Wide Testing Dashboard
View the latest testing results on Harvard's COVID-19 testing dashboard

Important Policies and Procedures

COVID-19 Vaccination and Booster are Required

Harvard University requires COVID-19 vaccination for all community members who are working and studying on campus. Harvard also requires all community members to receive a booster shot by January 31, 2022, or within 30 days of their eligibility. See the step-by-step guidance to verify your booster through the HUHS Patient Portal. Vaccination and boosters are effective ways to protect yourself against COVID-19, and they severely decrease the likelihood of serious health outcomes requiring hospitalization. Learn more about Harvard's vaccination policies.

Optional COVID Testing

The University will cease to require regular surveillance testing. Testing will continue to be available on an optional basis, and anyone with symptoms or known exposure should test, and those who test positive should notify HUHS through Crimson Clear. The transition to optional testing will be phased in as follows: 

  • April 28 – Non-Residential: Students, faculty, staff, and researchers who do not live on campus will no longer be required to participate in regular COVID testing.
  • May 10 – Residential: Students, faculty, staff, and researchers who live in campus-based residential housing will no longer be required to test for COVID regularly.

Symptomatic testing remains important while COVID continues to circulate in the community. Although regular testing will no longer be mandatory, we encourage testing when circumstances warrant, using Harvard’s Color testing program or rapid antigen tests that are now widely available. For an overview of Harvard's testing process works, read the University's COVID-19 Testing Protocol Guidance.

Optional Indoor Masking

Effective March 14, with limited exceptions, face coverings on campus will be optional in all indoor spaces on Harvard’s campuses. If you feel the need to continue wearing a mask for your protection, you should do so. We should all respect those who continue to wear a mask. No one should be marginalized or made to feel unwelcome because they chose to wear a mask. Please accommodate the requests of those who ask you to wear a mask when in close proximity.

Please take note of the following situations in which masks are still required: 

  • Indoor events with more than 250 people 
  • For individuals completing isolation or quarantine  
  • In classes where instructors have decided to require masks   
  • Healthcare facilities
  • Public transit, including University buses and shuttles

Additional instances of required masking may arise. For that reason, we recommend that everyone continues to carry a mask for settings where masks are still required. 

Masks are highly effective in reducing transmission risk regardless of vaccine status. The University will continue to monitor COVID-19 conditions and will update masking requirements for the community or for targeted populations when necessary. 

Responding to Positive Test Results

The University has updated its practices regarding contact tracing and reporting cases from non-Harvard testing, as well as isolation and quarantine protocols to align with the recently modified guidance from the CDC and Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Of note, infected individuals with no symptoms or resolving symptoms and no fever may end strict isolation after 5 full days (isolation ending on day 6) but must wear a mask at all times when leaving their homes or around others (this means no dining with others and no other mask-free activities) until after 10 full days (strict masking ending on day 11). Regarding quarantine for close contacts, vaccinated individuals who have not received their booster shots must now quarantine for five (5) days when they are exposed. University protocols will be modified to maintain compatibility with changing local, state, and national guidance. Read more about testing and tracing at Harvard.

Healthy Habits 

As we all continue to cope with fatigue from COVID-19, please remember to be kind to and patient with each other, and take advantage of the health, mental health, and wellbeing support services the University has in place for our community members. HGSE is continuing to employ enhanced disinfectant measures throughout campus. All community members should abide by healthy habits proven to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. This includes washing your hands often, avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, coughing/sneezing into a tissue or your sleeve, and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces. Read more about healthy habits that help curb the spread of COVID-19.

HGSE’s Visitor Policy

Beginning on Wednesday, March 30, HGSE faculty and staff may host a visitor(s), provided that the visitor attests that they are fully vaccinated and are not experiencing or displaying any known symptoms of COVID-19. Beginning on Monday, April 11, the campus will be open to all guests provided the visitor meets the same requirements and completes the attestation processRead HGSE's Visitor Policy.

HGSE’s Policy for Professional Education Participants

All HGSE Professional Education participants are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to attend on-campus programs. Read more about accepted vaccinations, vaccine documentation, and other Professional Education COVID-19 health and safety policies.  

Course Auditors and Cross-Registrants

HGSE is not permitting auditors in face-to-face courses, whether the person is a Harvard affiliate or not. This restriction helps to keep classroom spaces less dense and focus our monitoring efforts on students taking the course for a grade. HGSE will permit cross-registrants from around Harvard University depending on course availability. Additionally, we will permit cross-registrants from MIT and Tufts University, just as they are accepting our students into their courses. Cross-registered students will be subject to all the same protocols as an HGSE student. For HGSE students seeking to cross-register elsewhere: Contact the registrar’s offices of the other school to confirm policies for incoming cross-registration.

Visit Harvard’s coronavirus website for detailed information about vaccination and boosters, testing, travel guidance, and other university policies and communication.
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Education and the Pandemic

The pandemic has upended the field of education and the lives of students, educators, caregivers, and community leaders. HGSE has responded by offering an immersive series of broadcasts and useful resources. Explore our Education Now initiative to watch episodes on timely topics. See below to explore content on teaching, leading, and parenting

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Teaching Amid Crisis

Empty classroom with sun shining in

With local schools facing severe staffing shortages amid a pandemic surge, HGSE students step up to help.

Education Now: Teaching and Leading with Compassion

Finding empathy, battling compassion fatigue, and teaching amid uncertainty — a conversation exploring some of the challenges teachers are confronting in classrooms today.

Outdoor learning

The pandemic moved classes outdoors. We should keep them there.

Leading Amid Crisis

Teacher in classroom with student, both in masks

A panel explores new research on the impact of remote and hybrid learning and discusses federal, state, and district strategies to lift student learning and support social-emotional needs.

Hand stopping dominoes from falling

What district leaders need after a few tough years.

High school class taking test in masks

Professor Tom Kane shares what research tells us about planning catch-up efforts in response to pandemic learning loss.

Parenting Amid Crisis

Illustration of face mask

Navigating peer pressure to take off the mask in school.

Preschool student

A discussion of concrete ways to support children and adults in developing their capacities to weather the challenges brought on by the pandemic.

A Turning Point for Social-Emotional Learning

How a focus on social-emotional learning can better help children — in school and at home — as we cope with recent challenges and begin to emerge from the pandemic.

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