HDS Coronavirus Updates

Latest Update: November 18, 2020

The well-being of our community is our top priority, so the HDS campus is currently closed and classes are being held online. On October 20, 2020, HDS announced it will conduct spring 2021 courses online. In so doing, the School seeks to maximize community safety and to allow students to make informed plans for travel, living arrangements, and enrollment.

If you are not currently authorized to be on campus and are interested in a COVID-19 test, Massachusetts offers free testing for state residents at multiple locations. Please note that testing alone is not sufficient to keep the pandemic at bay. Please continue practicing the preventive behaviors that have helped to keep our communities safe to this point.

  • Wear a face covering over your nose and mouth whenever you are in public, on campus, or in the presence of people who are not in your immediate household.
  • Maintain a distance of 6 feet or more from anyone who is not a member of your immediate household, regardless of whether anyone is wearing a mask. 
  • Get a flu shot if you haven’t gotten one already this season.
  • Wash your hands after touching anything that other people have touched, before and after eating, and before and after touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Keep the number of people with whom you interact closely in-person to a minimum (1-5 people total in a given week).
  • Socialize outdoors. If you must meet with others indoors, keep the windows open.
  • When socializing, wear masks, maintain distance, and avoid eating together.
  • Keep in mind that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have revised their definition of “close contact” as it pertains to coronavirus. Whether or not masks are used, multiple short interactions under 6 feet can still qualify as a close contact if those interactions add up to 15 minutes during a 24-hour period. 
  • Even as we enter the holiday season, limit travel as much as possible. Staying home is the safest way to keep you, your family, and your community safe. If you do travel, please read our post-travel COVID-19 testing and quarantine policy.
  • Celebrate the holidays virtually, or outdoors if you do decide to meet in person. Here is some advice for lower-risk holiday celebrations from the CDC.

Re-entry Procedures

Anyone who will access campus buildings or who will be working on campus must follow the current re-entry procedures (PDF).

Read more about Harvard's plan for a safe campus reopening

Testing and Tracing

In Fall 2020, Harvard University will begin to safely welcome back a limited number of students, faculty, academic personnel, and staff to campus as conditions allow. The University will deploy several strategies—including high-frequency viral testing for all community members who are authorized to have a regular presence on campus—to help keep Harvard healthy.

Each Harvard affiliate’s testing requirements will vary based on whether you live on campus, work in residential housing, work elsewhere on campus, or have a regular presence (4 hours or more per week) on campus. Our testing plan is subject to modification if the public health situation indicates changes in community risk.

Please note that testing at an HUHS site is only available for employees or students who are authorized to be on campus and meet the testing requirements.

Review the current testing policies and frequency and the fall term testing policies and frequencies (effective August 16) below. And visit the Harvard University Coronavirus page for more information and updates on:

Travel Guidance

Teaching and Learning

Health and Safety

Campus Updates

  • Career Services: information on accessing services and resources
  • Admissions: on-campus admissions events are canceled. Online resources will be emailed to accepted students
  • Summer international placements have been canceled, specifically The Greeley International Internship, summer international field education placements, and Buddhist Ministry summer international study grants. 
  • Updates from the HDS Registrar on office hours, exam schedulesordering transcripts, and important deadline info. for changing grade options/withdrawing from a course.



For other questions, contact Kama Lord of IT and Media Services.


Most HDS staff have moved to remote work. Resources:

  • Teach, learn, and work remotely guidance (requires HarvardKey login)
  • Living and Working During Social Distancing (PDF), from Harvard Divinity School Human Resources, has many resources for you and your family: online feeds from museums and cultural institutions, music and educational sites, zoos and more.
  • Coronavirus Workplace Policies from Harvard Human Resources includes valuable information such as remote work preparedness, back-up dependent care, sick time, the Employee Assistance program, and more.
  • Socialize Remotely, a University-wide platform for publicizing and exploring a variety of online gatherings available to the Harvard community.

From HDS Dean David N. Hempton