FAQs for FAS Employees

  • Q: Who is required/allowed to be on campus?
    A: As of this time, many staff at FAS will continue to work remotely for an indefinite period, and at least through the end of 2020. Based on current state COVID guidelines, FAS will allow staff members to be on campus for work that needs to be done on-site. Decisions about which staff members should work on-site and which should work remotely, and when on-site work should take place will occur at the department/unit-level, with divisional ad dean approval.
  • Q: What do I need to do before working on campus?
    A: All FAS staff members, regardless of their position or department/division, need to complete the following steps before returning to campus:
  • Q: What if I’m called back to work and don’t feel comfortable returning to campus?
    A: COVID has raised many concerns and changed daily routines for all of us, and this can present a challenge for returning to work. If that’s a concern for you, please reach out to your manager, your HR Consultant, or FAS HR Leaves Consultant Jeanette Sanchez Kamieneski to discuss potential options.

    In some instances, it may be possible to modify your work, such as relocation to a more isolated workspace, scheduling adjustments so you aren’t commuting during peak hours, or shifting teams so that coworkers’ work shifts don’t overlap. Resources are also available if you have child- or eldercare responsibilities that make returning to campus an obstacle.

    However, if your work requires you to be on campus and alternative arrangements can’t be made, you could a) take personal/vacation days to maintain your pay while taking time off, b) voluntarily reduce your hours, or c) apply for an unpaid personal leave, subject to manager approval. (This may have an effect on your Harvard benefits.)
  • Q: Can I go back to work on campus even if my work doesn’t need to be done on-site?
    A: This may not be possible. While many FAS staff members are looking forward to getting back to campus, we also need to follow necessary health and safety practices, including appropriate physical distancing and de-densifying campus. Managers will determine which staff members need to be on campus to perform necessary work and how many staff members can safely share a given space. In order to ensure the safety of the FAS community, you may be asked to continue working remotely.
  • Q: How can I keep safe while at work?
    A: All FAS staff members are expected to follow health safety guidelines, including wearing a face mask or covering, maintaining physical distance of six feet or more when possible, avoiding touching their face, and regularly washing hands with soap and water.
  • Q: Do I have to wear a mask at work?
    A: Yes. All FAS staff members must wear a mask while at work, as required by Massachusetts, Cambridge, and Harvard. When on campus, masks must be worn when in public and in the presence of others, even if physically distanced, and when in common spaces at Harvard. Additional protective measures may be required in some work environments.
  • Q: Do I have to get tested? How often?
    A: Testing is required for all FAS staff members who will be working four hours per week or more on campus. Baseline testing is an initial COVID-19 test required of all FAS community members. Your baseline test should be taken as soon as possible, ideally within 2-3 days prior to or after the date of return to campus, but no later than two weeks after arrival.

    Ongoing testing will be required for staff members who regularly work on campus, either weekly or every three days (for staff members who work closely with students).
  • Q: What if I have COVID-19-related symptoms?
    A: Staff members who are experiencing COVID-related symptoms should stay home and notify their manager. Harvard’s temporary policies that allow for expanded and more flexible use of sick time by staff will remain in effect until further notice.
  • Q: What if I receive a positive COVID-19 test result?
    A: If you receive a positive COVID test result, you should not return to work until you are medically cleared to do so by HUHS. You can take paid sick time. Harvard’s temporary sick time policy during the Coronavirus pandemic allows for the advanced (that is, before it is earned) use of paid sick time for up to 14 days.

    If you test positive for COVID via an HUHS test, HUHS will follow-up directly to notify you of the results, provide advice, and help coordinate or refer to any support necessary for the period of isolation, based on current CDC guidelines. HUHS will also begin contact tracing, so that potentially infected individuals can quarantine in accordance with CDC and MDPH guidance. As required by state law, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health will also be notified of any positive test.

    If you test positive for COVID outside of HUHS testing, you should notify HUHS at healthservices@huhs.harvard.edu so that Harvard can begin any necessary contact tracing.
  • Q: When can I return to work after I’ve been sick or had COVID-19?
    A: Your health care provider can help determine an individualized return-to-work date for you, as isolation periods may vary based on different circumstances. When you are ready to return, please seek medical clearance from HUHS and remember to complete the symptom attestation on Crimson Clear in order to obtain an entry pass. This helps us assess the impact on our community. Employees must not come to work on campus until you are medically cleared to return by HUHS.

    Employees returning to work after recovering from the COVID-19 virus are expected to follow the same protocols and safe working practices as employees who have not had COVID-19.
  • Q: Am I required to tell my manager or coworkers if I contract COVID or have been exposed to an infected individual?
    A: No, you do not have to disclose specific health information to your manager or human resources when you request sick time, but you may choose to do so. However, if you test positive for COVID-19, you need to notify HUHS.

    Managers and HR 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: Will I be informed if a coworker gets sick or a positive COVID-19 test result?
    A: If you may have been exposed to COVID, a HUHS health care provider or contact tracer will advise others that they may have been exposed to the virus. This is one reason why it’s necessary for anyone who tests positive to notify HUHS, regardless of whether or not they test with HUHS, and for anyone in the FAS community to participate in contact tracing.
  • Q: If I’m uncomfortable taking public transportation to work. Will Harvard provide parking?
    A: Staff members who plan to drive to Harvard should check the Harvard Transportation and Parking website for the most recent information.
  • Q: Am I required to clean or modify my workspace?
    A: While you are not required to alter your individual workspace, you may wish to clean your personal space more frequently. If you must share a workstation or have a need to conduct work in shared spaces or with shared equipment, you should disinfect workspace surfaces and equipment before and after each use.

    Harvard’s offices of Environmental Health & Safety and Physical Resources have been working to ensure that FAS buildings are appropriately ventilated and that their HVAC/plumbing/etc. systems are functioning safely.
  • Q: Will FAS provide masks and cleaning supplies be provided to FAS staff?
    A: Managers and department administrators will work with building managers to provide necessary PPE and cleaning supplies to departments.
  • Q: What if a staff member does not follow the Harvard COVID-19 policies and guidelines?
    A: At Harvard/FAS, each employee is expected to meet certain expectations in job performance and conduct. This is clearly stated in the Personnel Manual and the HUCTW contract. Additionally, the University will take disciplinary action against staff who violate federal, state, or local laws. We recognize that the global pandemic has brought on countless new laws, policies, and expectations and that it can be difficult to navigate. However, this does not change the expectation that staff will follow the policies, procedures, and practices of Harvard and/or the employee’s department. Failure to do so will result in disciplinary action, just as it would for any other violation.