Community Expectations Related to COVID-19

Please read these expectations carefully and make sure that you understand them completely. 

Harvard Yard in the fall featuring "Keep Harvard Healthy" banners lining the walkways

Fall 2021

Harvard College aims to provide a residential environment that:

  1. Enables student learning at the highest levels,
  2. Provides a safe place for students during the public health emergency occasioned by the global COVID-19 pandemic, and
  3. Supports student mental health during a challenging time.

In responding to the pandemic, Harvard College is guided by evidence-based public health practices. Because COVID-19 infects individuals by spreading across and within close community networks, it is essential that every one of us in the residential community uphold a shared obligation and commitment to act prudently, safely, and in accordance with public health directives. The Community Expectations Related to COVID-19, outlined below, represent the heart of this collective project by promoting shared responsibility for safe practices among all members of the Harvard College community. 


Harvard College aims to enable student learning and provide a safe place for students to learn and thrive socially, personally, and intellectually. We recognize the seriousness of the current public health crisis and will work to ensure a secure and supportive learning environment for all students.


Note that these expectations may be updated and revised to reflect additional guidance from the city, state, and federal governments if necessary. The University has adopted these expectations to promote the collective well-being of our community, and specifically the students, staff, and faculty during this time period.

  • I will follow University guidance regarding vaccinations, access to campus, physical distancing, masking, testing and tracing, quarantine and isolation, hygiene, and travel. I understand that I will be required to participate in a University-determine testing cadence. I understand that my testing account is for my use only, and that I should only test via that account. Any instances of submitting tests for people not myself under my account or under any other account will be referred to the Administrative Board.
  • I will share truthful information with Harvard University Health Services. I understand that any information that I share with contact tracers is confidential and will not be communicated to the Community Council under any circumstances.
  • I understand that violation of any COVID-19 protocol will be considered a serious violation and will be addressed by the Community Council and that my ability to access some parts of the Harvard campus is conditioned on my adherence to these expectations.
  • These expectations exist not just for my own health, but also to protect and safeguard the health of those around me, including Harvard University Dining Services and Facilities personnel and other staff who live or work in our buildings.
  • I acknowledge and accept that these rules and guidelines may change as life on campus and public health guidance across the country evolve, and as new testing and tracing methods emerge. I agree to abide by any new rules and guidelines promulgated by Harvard for application in the campus setting.

Community Accountability

  • The Community Council will hold responsibility for reviewing serious concerns related to these expectations, such as a student’s refusal to undergo testing or failure to abide by isolation or quarantine terms.

  • The Community Council will have the authority, among other things, to remove a student from residence on campus and to remove a student’s access to some parts of the Harvard campus.

  • The Community Council and the College’s Title IX Resource Coordinators work together with the aim of removing barriers to disclosure of sexual harassment and misconduct. In order to encourage information sharing and seeking support, the College will ordinarily not hold students accountable for violations of the Community expectations if those violations also include allegations of sexual misconduct or harassment. Nor will information disclosed by a student to the Office for Gender Equity or the Office of Dispute Resolution be considered by the Community Council. Additionally, in order to encourage information sharing and seeking support, it is not the practice of Harvard College’s Title IX Resource Coordinators to share information related to Handbook violations with the College’s Administrative Board or Honor Council. This practice is maintained with respect to potential violations of community expectations related to COVID-19. Harvard College’s Title IX Resource Coordinators will not provide reports about potential violations of these expectations to the Community Council.