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The health and safety of the entire community, as well as the institution’s commitment to education and research, will continue to guide Harvard University’s and Harvard Law School’s planning process for a phased transition back to campus. HLS understands that community members have many questions about what the return to campus will look like. While many of the answers are still being developed, and public health guidance is expected to continue evolving over the weeks and months ahead, the FAQs below include preliminary answers to many of the most common inquires. Please check back regularly, as the information will be updated and expanded in the weeks ahead.

HLS has adopted the following public health policies related to our on-campus operations.

Last updated on 9/17/21.

Health, Safety, and Wellbeing

Health, Safety, and Wellbeing

Is Harvard University offering COVID-19 vaccines?

Yes. Please visit Harvard University’s COVID-19 Vaccine Information page for the latest information on getting a vaccine.

Are students, staff, and faculty required to be vaccinated?

Harvard University is requiring that every person with an on-campus presence be vaccinated, with exemptions permitted, by submission of a formal request, for medical or religious reasons.

As noted by the University, unvaccinated individuals may be subject to additional public health measures above and beyond what is required of vaccinated individuals. Updates and information regarding the University’s vaccine requirement can be found on the University’s vaccine webpage.

Community members are urged to complete their vaccination as soon as possible and to submit verification to Harvard University Health Services. If you have not yet done so, please update your vaccination status immediately using the HUHS secure portal, which can be found here. All vaccines authorized by the World Health Organization (WHO) or U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will meet the University’s vaccine requirements. HUHS is offering vaccinations to any students, faculty, staff, and researchers who are unable to receive one prior to arrival on campus. For more information, please visit Harvard University’s COVID-19 Vaccine Information page.

Where on campus do I have to wear a mask?

The current guidance from the University is that masks will be required for everyone indoors, regardless of vaccination status. Among the exceptions are individuals alone in private spaces with closed doors (such as offices or conference rooms of sufficient size). In addition, and in accordance with University guidance, face coverings must be worn in designated eating areas until seated. Face coverings may only be removed when actively eating and drinking, and must be replaced as soon as you are finished eating, and before you leave the chair. A “quick sip” exception is currently permitted in HLS classrooms, the library, and other non-designated eating areas. Masks must be promptly replaced. As a reminder, no consumption of food of any sort is permitted in classrooms, the library, or in other indoor areas that have not been designated as eating areas.

Outdoors, unvaccinated individuals are still expected to wear masks if they cannot maintain distance from others. In accordance with University guidance, fully vaccinated persons should consider wearing a mask in crowded outdoor settings and for outdoor activities with close contact with others who may not be fully vaccinated. For more information, please see this page on the University website.

How often do I need to take a COVID-19 test?

Everyone is required to test on a regular cadence, using easy, self-administered tests provided by the University. If you are vaccinated, you must test every week. If you are unvaccinated, you must test twice per week. For more information, please also consult the University Testing and Tracing page.

Where do I pick up and drop off the test kits?

Test kits are available for pickup in the Hark Concourse Monday through Friday from 10:00am-4:00pm (in the corridor between the Harkness and WCC buildings). Test collection bins are available in the same Hark location, as well as at the back Langdell entrance between Langdell and Areeda. The last pickup from the collection bins is at 3:00pm each weekday and 10:00am on Saturday and Sunday, however, you can drop a completed test kit in a collection bin at any time, and it will be collected during the next scheduled pick up.

Will I be notified if a classmate, fellow dorm resident, or teaching team member tests positive for COVID-19?

If an individual tests positive for COVID-19, Harvard University Health Services (HUHS) will begin contact tracing and notify close contacts within the Harvard community. For more information on HUHS’s contract tracing process, please visit this page on Harvard University’s COVID-19 website.

If I am identified as a close contact, am I required to quarantine?

Close contacts who are identified by health officials as fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and symptom-free will not be required to quarantine. Close contacts who do not meet these requirements will need to quarantine. In both instances, close contacts may require additional testing, as directed by HUHS. For more information on quarantine procedures and the support services available, please consult the Contact Tracing and Quarantine and Isolation pages on Harvard University’s COVID-19 website.

If I believe I have been exposed to the COVID-19 virus, or begin experiencing symptoms, what should I do and who should I tell?

If you are feeling unwell, you should complete the Crimson Clear Attestation on your Color account and follow the guidance provided. If instructed by Harvard University Health Services to quarantine, students should notify the Dean of Students Office at dos@law.harvard.edu, staff should notify their direct supervisor, and faculty should contact Catherine Claypoole, Dean for Academic and Faculty Affairs. It is also important to remain responsive to the HUHS contact tracing team, who will notify all community close contacts and communicate proper protocols directly – explaining their exposure and level of risk and providing guidance, all while maintaining anonymity. Though each individual may choose whether to share their health status with others, it is the responsibility of HUHS, and not the affected individual, to identify, inform and advise close contacts.

If a student tests positive for COVID-19, what support will be provided?

If a student tests positive or is otherwise required by Harvard University Health Services to isolate or quarantine, HUHS will conduct daily health and wellness checks. The HLS Dean of Students Office will provide additional support, including working with faculty members to secure recordings of missed classes, and helping troubleshoot and address other needs. Dorm residents will also be contacted regarding support for the isolation or quarantine period. For more information, please see the Quarantine and Isolation page on Harvard University’s COVID-19 website. Students who receive a positive COVID-19 test result will not be expected to test again for the following ninety days.

What happens If I’m a student out of compliance with vaccination or testing requirements?

In accordance with University policy, unless they can demonstrate that they are eligible for a medical or religious exemption, students who do not provide the Harvard University Health Services-required documentation of COVID-19 vaccination and/or decline, refuse, or fail to be tested for COVID-19 at the cadence specified for them by HUHS may be placed on an involuntary leave or, at the School’s discretion, may face other consequences including, but not limited to, exclusion from participation in certain School or University activities, an instruction not to enter upon University property, the loss of access to University housing, or denial of registration.

How can I stay up to date on the University’s COVID-19 efforts and what I can do to help keep myself and the Harvard community healthy?

Visit Harvard University’s COVID-19 website for regular updates and its related Health & Wellbeing page.

Building Operations & Student Services

Building Operations & Student Services

Who can access HLS buildings?

Subject to the special arrangements discussed below, at this time, access to Harvard Law School buildings, including the HLS Library, is limited to HLS and Harvard community members in order to reduce the number of guests and non-community members on campus amid the ongoing pandemic. All faculty, staff, students, and HLS visiting scholars/researchers will have access to HLS buildings via Harvard University ID card readers.

Special arrangements can be made for official, authorized visitors, which include those whose physical presence is key to critical operations, research, teaching, or related activities—such as clinical clients, someone coming for a late-stage job interview, authorized contractors, guest speakers for classes, or a speaker whose presence on campus will bring distinctive value relative to appearing remotely. Please see the visitor policy and procedures for more information.

Can members of the general public come to campus?

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, HLS buildings are currently closed to the general public, and we are minimizing the number of visitors to campus at this time.

Special arrangements can be made for official, authorized visitors, which include those whose physical presence is key to critical operations, research, teaching, or related activities—such as clinical clients, someone coming for a late-stage job interview, authorized contractors, guest speakers for classes, or a speaker whose presence on campus will bring distinctive value relative to appearing remotely. Please see the visitor policy and procedures for more information.

Because managing access to campus facilities is part of our effort to keep our community healthy, all members of the HLS community are urged not to allow people (other than authorized visitors) without a HUID card access to HLS buildings.

Where can I eat and drink on campus?

At this time, eating and drinking on campus is allowed only in designated areas or outdoors.

Designated eating areas are listed here and visible on this map:

  • 2nd floor WCC Harkness Dining Rooms
  • 1st floor WCC Harkness Fireside Lounge and Gameroom
  • 1st floor WCC: The Pub
  • 2nd floor WCC: Student Organization Workroom
  • Jarvis Tent
  • Any outdoor areas

In accordance with University guidance, face coverings must be worn in designated eating areas until seated. Face coverings may only be removed when actively eating and drinking, and must be replaced as soon as you are finished eating, and before you leave the chair.

In accordance with University guidance, we are currently allowing a “quick sip” exception in HLS classrooms, the library, and other non-designated eating areas. Masks must be promptly replaced. As a reminder, no consumption of food of any sort is permitted in classrooms, the library, or in other indoor areas that have not been designated as eating areas.

Unvaccinated attendees should take steps to protect themselves when eating and drinking by remaining physically distanced from others when possible.

May I take a sip of a drink in the classrooms or the library?

Yes. While teachers and students will be wearing masks in classrooms, in accordance with University guidance, we will be allowing a “quick sip” exception in classrooms and in the library. Masks must be promptly replaced. As a reminder, no consumption of food of any sort is permitted in classrooms or the library.

May I eat and drink in a journal office or student organization office?

An individual may eat and drink in a student organization office or journal office if they are alone and face coverings are promptly donned when anyone else enters the space.

Gatherings & Event Space

Gatherings & Event Space

When and where will students be able to reserve spaces for social and in-person gatherings, including for student organizations?

All students, faculty, and staff will be able to reserve spaces for events through the Events Management System (EMS) beginning Wednesday, September 29. The first day for which events may be scheduled through EMS is Monday, October 4. Students will be able to reserve spaces through the last day of classes.

The Jarvis Field tent is currently considered an outdoor space and is reserved for all community members to eat lunch every day between 11am – 2pm. Unless otherwise in use for an academic program or community event, the tent is now available to be reserved during the next two weeks outside the community lunch hours for two- to four-hour blocks.  Please contact the Events team to request use of the tent between now and October 4 at events@law.harvard.edu or 617-495-3129. Information required to request a tent reservation may be found hereon the Events Schedule and Support page on the HLS website.

Please note the following guidelines for reserving spaces when the system opens on September 29:

  • Indoor event spaces:  Spaces that may be reserved will include small indoor spaces (study spaces and boardrooms) and larger indoor spaces (classrooms, seminar rooms, and conference spaces). Those planning and attending indoor events must abide by all University and HLS public health policies, including masking and dining restrictions. Event organizers wishing to provide food may arrange with Harvard University Dining Services for “grab and go” meals, which participants must take to a designated eating and drinking area to consume after the event. Food may not be consumed in any indoor event space that is not designated for eating and drinking.
  • Outdoor event spaces:  In addition to these indoor options, a number of larger outdoor spaces (including the Crossroads, Kumble Plaza, and Holmes Field) also will be available for events by reservation. These and other outdoor spaces are considered designated eating and drinking areas where meals may be consumed.
    • Jarvis Field Tent:  Although the tent is currently considered an outdoor space, please be aware that when the weather turns colder, the open-air mesh sides will be replaced by glass and the tent thereafter will be considered an indoor space. As such, it will then be subject to indoor masking and dining restrictions. We currently anticipate the glass installation date will be November 12. Also, please note that when EMS reopens, we will continue to prioritize academic programming and broad community uses within the Jarvis Field tent.

Can I provide a meal at my school-sponsored event?

Yes. Grab-and-go meals may be offered as part of an event or meeting, but attendees must pick up their meals at the conclusion of the event and take them to a designated eating area.

Can I use the extended lunch hour to host events?

Yes. However, any event hosted on campus during the lunch hour should be limited to 30 to 45 minutes to allow time after the event ends for lunch pick up (if applicable) and to clear and clean the room before the next instructional period begins.

Can I bring in guest speakers for my student organization events?

Although access to HLS buildings will be limited this fall to HLS and Harvard community members in order to reduce the number of guests and non-community members on campus, special arrangements can be made for authorized visitors, including guest speakers whose presence on campus would bring distinctive value relative to appearing remotely.

All visitors must have an HLS host, who will be responsible for completing the steps necessary for visitor authorization. The host is also responsible for the visitor’s compliance with HLS’s health protocols and visitor procedures, including notifying the visitor of the University’s “COVID-19 Safety Awareness Training: Protection/Prevention Practices” and “Post-Travel Covid Testing and Quarantine Policy.”

All HLS student organization and journal hosts must contact the Office of Community Engagement, Equity, and Belonging (ceeb@law.harvard.edu) two weeks in advance of an event date to discuss whether a guest or speaker meets the authorized visitor criteria.

At least two business days prior to a visitor’s arrival, the host must complete the HLS Visitors Questionnaire, through which they will share information such as their name and contact information, the visitor’s name and contact information, and the date, time, length and purpose of the visit. After completing the form, the host will be provided with a checklist of steps they and their visitor must take to be in compliance with the University and HLS visitor policies. In an emergency, a shorter notice period may be allowed.

Visitors are encouraged to receive a COVID-19 test on the day of arrival through a local health clinic or pharmacy at their own expense and report their result to their host. Additional policies related to the clinical program are under development and will be shared soon.

Can I use school funds to host official visitors?

Yes, as long as all visitor procedures and public health requirements are met.

Can HLS funding be used for events and meals off-campus?

Off-campus events hosted by faculty, staff, or student organizations may involve meals paid for with HLS funds as long as they are in outdoor settings. At this time, funding cannot be used if meals are consumed indoors at restaurants or other venues. Further guidance on use of HLS funds for off-campus events and meals will be shared later in September.

Can HLS funding be used for student organization retreats?

Off-campus overnight retreats are permitted as long as each individual attending has a single bedroom behind a closed door (shared bathrooms are permitted). As with HLS dorms and other indoor locations across campus, wearing a mask is required at retreat locations when walking through common areas, including but not limited to hallways, kitchens, and living rooms. Unvaccinated individuals also should continue to maintain social distance, when possible. Consistent with the policy regarding funding for off campus meals, all food at the retreat must be consumed in outdoor settings. Further guidance on use of HLS funds for off-campus events and meals will be shared later in September. Please note that guests are not permitted at HLS-funded student organization retreats.

Early Interview Program & Public Interest Interview Program & LL.M. Job Fair

Early Interview Program & Public Interest Interview Program & LL.M. Job Fair

Will recruitment programs like the Early Interview Program (EIP) and the Public Interest Interview Program (PIIP) and the Overseas-Trained LL.M. Interview Program (“LL.M. Job Fair”) be offered in-person or virtually?

These programs will be offered virtually in the 2021-2022 academic year, as previously announced. Visit the Office of Career Services and the Office of Public Interest Advising websites to learn more about these programs and the resources that are available to help you prepare.

Housing

Housing

Can HLS students take advantage of other Harvard housing?

Yes. HLS students can also apply for housing through Harvard University Housing (HUH), which is operated separately from HLS Housing and which offers a range of housing options. If you are interested in applying for HUH housing, please visit the Harvard University Housing website. As always, there is no cost to apply for HUH housing and no obligation to commit until you have selected a unit and signed a lease. Students can view and select currently available units now.

Can I have visitors in HLS housing?

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, no visitors will be permitted to stay in HLS housing at this time. This policy, which is designed to protect the health and safety of all residents, as well as the broader HLS community, will be reexamined after September in light of the public health situation at that time.

Do I have to wear a mask in HLS housing?

Masks are required indoors in all common areas in HLS housing (such as elevators, hallways, kitchens, lounges, and stairwells). Students may only enter a dorm or residence hall if they are already wearing a mask.

Do any common areas – such as lounges and kitchens – qualify as designated eating areas?

To protect the health and safety of all residents, HLS housing residents should avoid eating and drinking in any HLS housing common area (except when taking a quick sip with masks promptly replaced).

Are there specific event policies for HLS housing?

Yes. There is a 10-person limit on the size of any gathering inside an HLS housing facility. All attendees must wear a mask. Hosts of all gatherings must monitor attendance and must cooperate fully with contact tracers in the event of a positive COVID-19 case. Under no circumstances may fire safety or occupancy limits be exceeded.

Where can I find more information about the policies that pertain specifically to HLS housing?

Please consult the HLS Housing Handbook for additional information.