FAQs for FAS Managers

  • Q: What do I need to do to facilitate my staff being on campus?
    A: Consider health and safety protocols as you plan for how to return staff to campus. Review which staff members’ work requires them to be on campus and which staff members can continue to work remotely. When possible, stagger on-site schedules so staff members can maintain appropriate physical distance. Review information on HARVie about how to manage onsite staff presence.

    Where appropriate, post standard COVID-related signage to remind staff members and any visitors about health and safety measures.

    Refer to the Being on Campus During COVID-19 page on the FAS HR website, which includes up-to-date information and materials to share with staff members before they come to campus.
  • Q: How many staff members are allowed to be in one office/workspace at a time?
    A: Based on current Massachusetts guidelines for office spaces, no more than 50% of the building’s maximum permitted occupancy is permitted. Specific guidelines for other workspaces can be found on the Massachusetts Department of Public Health website. Your department may have implemented stricter guidelines on permitted occupancy.

    Information about Harvard building resources and guidelines are available on Harvard’s department of Environmental Health & Safety website.
  • Q: Who approves requests for returning to work?
    A: Approval by your ad dean/unit leader is required before any staff member may return to work.
  • Q: Will I be notified if a direct report receives a positive COVID test?
    A: Not necessarily. If a direct report receives a positive COVID test and you may have been exposed, you will be contacted by HUHS as part of a contact tracing procedure. You will not be informed about the specific identity of the person.

    However, a direct report may decide to notify you that they have received a positive COVID test. Managers should not identify a person who has tested positive or is ill and presumed to have COVID-19, nor should they advise other colleagues of potential exposure. This is considered personal, confidential information.
  • Q: If someone in my department gets COVID, what safety procedures are required for our office and for anyone who might have come in contact with the them?
    A: If someone in your department received a positive COVID test result, HUHS will contact anyone who might have come into contact with the individual as part of contact tracing. All FAS staff members should participate in contact tracing as necessary, in order to ensure the safety of our community.

    If you’re concerned that you may have been exposed to COVID-19 but do not have symptoms, review Harvard University Health Services' (HUHS) guide for self-isolation/quarantine.

    You may also wish to reach out to Harvard's offices of Environmental Health & Safety and Physical Resources for guidance related to additional cleaning and other safety procedures.
  • Q: Will FAS provide personal protective equipment and if not, who will pay for the use of personal protective equipment (e.g., masks, gloves, etc.) in FAS?
    A: Work with your building manager to procure necessary cleaning supplies and PPE. Your building manager can also provide guidance and resources if you need to make any physical adjustments to your work environment, such as adding dividers between workspaces.
  • Q: Who should I talk to if I have concerns about safely returning staff members to campus?
    A: Reach out to your HR Consultant with any concerns about making sure you and your staff can safely return to work. Building managers can also provide help and guidance, especially for questions related to space, PPE, and other physical resources.
  • Q: Are departments required to follow a specific set of cleaning or hygiene practices?
    A: Facilities and space planning professionals will have responsibilities to prepare the workplace for the first phase prior to and throughout re-occupancy. In addition, significant responsibility falls on individuals to take necessary precautions including social distancing and good hygiene. Managers will also play critical roles in the planning and training of employees on how to adjust to the new dynamic.

    Information about specific cleaning and hygiene practices can be found on Harvard’s department of Environmental Health & Safety website.
  • Q: Can FAS resume face-to-face meetings, attendance to conferences, or resume staff business travel?
    A: We strongly urge canceling non-essential events or meetings of 10 people or more. This social distancing measure will limit the spread of illness. For gatherings of any size, take steps to lower risk: use video- and teleconferencing options such as Zoom, and remind attendees to practice social distancing and avoid shaking hands. Ensure easy access to handwashing facilities and have alcohol-based sanitizers readily available.

    All University-related travel, both international and domestic, is prohibited until further notice and should not be planned or scheduled at this time. This applies to all community members—students, faculty, staff, postdoctoral fellows, and other academics. We encourage you to explore creative options for alternative study, research, work, and collaboration. We also strongly discourage personal travel, both international and domestic. More information about travel can be found on Harvard’s COVID travel guidance page.
  • Q: What if a staff member is unable or unwilling to return to campus?
    A: Reach out to your HR Consultant and FAS HR Leaves Consultant Jeanette Sanchez Kamieneski to discuss potential options for addressing this situation. This could include an alternate schedule, working in a lower-density area, or finding alternate transportation. Resources are available if the employee has child- or eldercare responsibilities that make returning to campus an obstacle. You can also share information about the Harvard Voluntary Programs for Staff to allow them to reduce their hours over a period of time.

    If someone is called back to work and is unwilling to return to campus, they may no longer be eligible for the COVID excused absence pay.
  • Q: What if a staff member doesn’t want to get tested or wear a mask?
    A: According to Harvard policy, all staff members are required to get tested and wear a mask if they return to work on campus. Consequences for not complying with this policy may include revoking access to Harvard facilities, which may result in loss of work and pay, and other disciplinary actions. Reach out to your HR Consultant to discuss options for ensuring safety for all FAS staff.