COVID Isolation and Quarantine Policies

 If you test positive for COVID-19. 

COVID Isolation Protocol

If you test positive for COVID-19, you will need to isolate in your assigned suite to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

Please note that students are expected to follow all policies related to COVID-19. For more information, see the Harvard College Student Handbook.

  • If you test positive through a Color test, HUHS will receive the notification and reach out to you.
  • If you test positive outside of Color (through a rapid antigen test or a PCR test away from campus), immediately report your positive test to HUHS using Crimson Clear.

We strongly advise that every student prepare a self-isolation kit upon their arrival to campus. It should include the following: acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil), thermometer, snacks, prescription medication, personal care items (cough drops, contact lens fluid, tissues) etc. 

When in isolation you may not leave your room except to pick up meals, use the bathroom, or for a pre-approved appointment at HUHS. You may not do laundry.  

Notifications and Guidelines
  • You will receive an email from HUHS with specific guidance. Be sure to review the following points: 
    • Who to call list  
    • How to Manage Symptoms   
    • Instructions for isolating in place   
  • You can find more about HUHS's process on the Harvard University COVID-19 website, as well as answers to Frequently Asked Questions.
  • Questions about Packages/Mail: Consider asking your suitemates and friends for help with picking up mail, and other items. They should drop these items at your door.
  • Bathrooms: If you have a bathroom in your suite, please use that one. If you use a hallway bathroom, please make sure that you are masked unless showering, bathing, or performing facial grooming or oral hygiene tasks. Please limit your time in the bathroom to the minimum time that is necessary and remain masked while entering and exiting. If possible, time unmasking activities to when restroom is unoccupied. Hallway bathrooms will continue to be cleaned and disinfected by custodial staff daily – please do not enter the space while the custodial staff are working.  
  • Isolating Elsewhere: If you choose to isolate elsewhere (whether at home or off-campus), your plans must meet the following expectations: you do not use public transportation, you do not use a hotel for isolation, you do not put vulnerable people at risk of infection, and you have access to food, medicine/medical care, and supplies to last you at least five days. If you choose to isolate elsewhere, please notify College Housing ( of your plans. 
  • Masking: You must wear a well-fitted face covering or mask any time you are leaving your room or suite during isolation. Use high-quality disposable masks such as the 3-layered surgical style mask that has been provided to you, worn in a way that minimizes air gaps around the edges (e.g., knot the ear loops, or double masks with a cloth or second mask).  
  • Trash Removal and Laundry: You can drop off your trash at the trash room nearest to your suite. Please time any exits for trash removal to coincide with other trips (bathroom, food delivery pick-up)  to minimize the amount of time outside of your room. You may not do laundry while you are isolating in place.  
  • Meals: HUDS has arranged several meal pick-up locations for students who are isolating in place. You can find the list of locations here
  • Take care of yourself: It can be stressful and lonely to be separated from others, particularly if you have concerns about your health. In addition to the HUHS number above, you can contact Counseling and Mental Health Services at 617-495-2042 and select the “CAMHS Cares Line” 24/7 to speak with a counselor.  
  • What to expect from HUHS while in isolation: If you are a student isolating in place, you may contact HUHS if you need immediate assistance by calling 617-495-5711 to speak with a Triage Nurse. There is information on the HUHS website on how to care for your symptoms with common “over-the counter medications.”   
  • Remain in the room except to pick up meal deliveries, to dispose of your trash, and to attend necessary medical appointments. Avoid any socializing or mingling with any other students, faculty or staff when leaving your room or suite for these purposes.
  • Questions about Packages/Mail: Consider asking your suitemates and friends for help with picking up mail, and other items. They should drop these items at your door. 
  • Whom do I contact for help? 
    • Medical emergency: 911 
    • Non-emergency medical advice: contact HUHS at 617-495-5711 or Counseling and Mental Health Services: 617-495-2042 CAMHS Cares line 24/7 
    • Harvard Chaplains :
    • Routine building maintenance issues: Please contact your designated Building Manager or, if you are living in the Yard,  Yard Ops . For building-related emergencies or after-hour maintenance issues, please contact the Harvard Operations Center at 617-495-5560.
    • Academic Matters: For students in the Houses, your Allston Burr Resident Dean; for first-year students, your Resident of First-Year Students. 

You cannot attend class in-person as long as you are in isolation. Students are responsible for ensuring that they keep up with their courses when they go into isolation for COVID.

Specifically, students should:

  • Make arrangements with other students to exchange notes if they have to miss class.
  • Notify their instructor as soon as possible to coordinate alternative methods of learning. Students are not required to show a doctor’s note to be granted an excused absence from class. Instead, they are encouraged to email their instructor to let them know that they are unable to attend class due to a Crimson Clear designation and copy their Resident Dean. 
  • Important: Per the Harvard College Student Handbook, if a student misses a final exam for medical reasons, they are still required to show a doctor’s note.  
  • Let their instructor know if they are not feeling well enough to carry on with their work to see what flexibility might be possible.  
  • Connect with their Resident Dean to discuss a plan to stay on top of their coursework or if they run into any challenges in maintaining academic continuity during their isolation or illness.
  • We anticipate that most students will be in isolation for at least five full days, unless otherwise directed by HUHS.
  • You will not be able to have any visitors, but you should keep in touch with your friends and family electronically. Let them know that you have access to health services.  
 If a peer tests positive 

Assumed COVID Exposure Protocol

If you've heard through a peer that they have tested positive and you have interacted with them in the past few days, you should take precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

  • If you are worried that one of your peers has tested positive for COVID-19, you should review the Harvard University guidelines for COVID-19 exposure
  • If you are experiencing symptoms, you should “FAIL” Crimson Clear and wait for contact from HUHS. 
  • You can find out more about HUHS's process on the Harvard University COVID-19 website
  • Do not assume that you need to isolate without a positive test result. You are always able to make thoughtful choices about your interactions at any time. For example, you may want to minimize your social interactions, take your meals grab and go, avoid being unmasked around other people and monitor yourself for symptoms.  
  • You can ask your roommates to drop off food. 
  • You can pick up meals from the dining halls if you double mask (as long as you remain symptom free, and have not tested positive). 
Masks and Testing
  • You should double mask when entering dining halls.  
  • You should take a Color test and drop it off immediately. 
  • Minimize social interactions - do not spend longer than 15 minutes in any one space or with any one person. 
  • You may want to wait for the PCR result before making decisions about attending class. If you do need to attend class, you can do so if you are double-masked.

Harvard College COVID Quarantine Guidance

If you are required to quarantine, please visit the HUHS COVID-19 Documents webpage for the latest information. Refer to the COVID-19 Exposure and Quarantine Guidance section for the Harvard College Quarantine Guidance.