FAS Coronavirus Updates

Please visit this page for the latest updates and messages to the FAS community. 

Messages from the FAS Dean's Office

Important Message for FAS Faculty and Staff - 3/27/2020

Dear FAS Faculty and Staff colleagues:
 
Earlier today, Executive Vice President Katie Lapp announced several important updates to the University’s human resources polices in response to the evolving impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on our community. These new updates build upon a number of other workplace policy enhancements announced earlier this month.

Specifically:

  • For Harvard employees (core staff including administrative/professional, support staff, and service and trade workers) who are well and available to work, but their duties cannot be performed remotely or because of the shifts in population on campus they no longer have work to perform, we will guarantee their regular pay and benefits through May 28, 2020. This includes Harvard employees providing dining and custodial services. Additionally, we will expand eligibility for this guarantee of pay and benefits to part-time contingent employees who are less than half time (LHT). 
  • For contract employees working in dining, custodial and security roles, the University will provide financial relief in the form of pay and benefits, if they are well and available for work, but displaced from their contract assignments due to the COVID-19 public health emergency and unable to obtain new assignments. Employees of Harvard’s 14 major suppliers of these services are eligible for this support, for work disruptions between March 10 and May 28, 2020. The University is working with these suppliers to ensure its financial support will be used for the direct benefit and financial relief of contract food service workers, custodians and security guards. 
  • For the six independent, non-profit childcare centers that operate on the Harvard campus, the University is providing a financial stabilization package to enable the centers to continue to operate through June 2020, ensuring employment stability for their approximately 180 employees, if COVID-19 related closures remain in place until that time. Under normal conditions, these centers serve 380 families in Boston, Cambridge and Harvard communities. 

These actions are aimed at providing greater certainty for important members of our workforce during these uncertain times. Additional details on these updates can be found on the Human Resources Coronavirus Workplace Policies webpage.
 
Thank you for your continued partnership and leadership during this challenging time.
 
Sincerely,
Leslie

Emergency Grading Policy - 3/27/20

3/27/2020

Dear colleagues,
 
With each new day, we come to understand things we were unable to imagine at the start of our response to this pandemic. As circumstances evolve and we gain experience operating in this new environment, we have had to adapt, and to do so much more quickly than ever before. At the end of our first week of remote teaching, experience has again taught us things that now require quick action.
 
First, the pivot to remote teaching has been on the whole quite successful. With a few important exceptions, the technology has cooperated. Faculty have been creative and thoughtful in adapting their materials and dealing with the logistical constraints of this shift. Student attendance has been high and the level of engagement has been perhaps the biggest and most pleasant surprise of this week. Reconnecting with faculty and classmates and returning to “the classroom” has been embraced by our students – a small return to normalcy in these uncertain times.
 
Just a few days in, we are now starting to understand what remote learning looks like for our undergraduates. After leaving campus, students returned home to a variety of circumstances. Many, like those in Massachusetts, are living under various lockdown orders, dealing with the anxiety of the escalating crisis and the frustration of trying to study with a full house of family members. But for some students the challenges have been more severe. Some have seen parent job losses, or have had to take over childcare and other household responsibilities, as healthcare and other essential workers in their families continue to provide critical support or have become ill themselves. Those who relied on the public library for internet access are struggling to find other ways to join their classmates online, as public buildings are ordered closed. Students in a time zone 12 hours away from us are feeling remote and closed off by time, and by closed borders.
 
We of course remain committed to academic continuity, but we cannot proceed as if nothing has changed. Everything has changed. I have heard from many faculty who have expressed confidence that they can teach their course material but are increasingly reluctant to assign our normal grades when students find themselves in such different circumstances. To understand this issue better, I charged the Committee on Undergraduate Educational Policy (EPC), a standing committee of the Faculty that oversees issues of undergraduate educational policy, to develop a proposal to address this situation. EPC consulted widely with directors of undergraduate studies, received input from the Undergraduate Council and the Honor Council, consulted with peers and with graduate, fellowship, and internship programs. After careful review they have recommended that, for this term only, all courses be graded on an “Emergency Satisfactory/Emergency Unsatisfactory” or “SEM/UEM” basis. This new terminology is purposefully chosen to indicate the unique nature of this semester in the archival record and to distinguish this semester’s grades from Harvard College’s standard grading system. Additionally, qualitative assessment of student learning can be documented in my.harvard to describe material that has been mastered. This proposal was discussed at length by the Faculty Council and received their unanimous endorsement. I have accepted this proposal and it is now in effect.
 
Apart from the apparent equity concerns, there are important reasons to adopt this universal grade policy and not an opt-in approach. As colleges and universities have begun to impose similar temporary grading policies for this semester, graduate and fellowship programs have signaled that they will accept these grades if they were instituted for all students. Their flexibility is less certain in any grading system that retains the option for a letter grade. Also, international students will maintain the full-time status needed for their student visas under this grading policy. This decision has many implications. The Office of Undergraduate Education has developed FAQs for faculty and students and will be communicating this decision to students later today. I encourage you to review these materials and to bring forward questions to oue@fas.harvard.edu.
 
Not everyone will agree with this policy, and I have heard reasonable arguments on all sides of the issue. That said, we are facing something that imperils the health of every human on the planet. Continuing to pursue our educational mission helps our students, academically and personally. I can’t help but be moved by how present our students want to be. But we must in this moment adjust our expectations of them. This grading policy better meets the needs of today, and I hope prepares us to face challenges to come as this situation continues to evolve. We will strive to meet each day with flexibility, perseverance, and understanding. We will continue to learn and to adapt.
 
Sincerely,
 
Claudine

Important Message for FAS Staff on Essential Personnel Protocol - 3/23/20

3/23/2020

Dear FAS staff colleagues,
 
I encourage you to read the below message from Executive Vice President Katie Lapp, which provides guidance on how Harvard will be responding to the emergency order issued by Governor Baker earlier today.
 
As Executive Vice President Lapp notes, while the order is not significantly different than the measures we have already implemented for remote teaching, learning, researching, and working, it does have additional implications for the University’s, and the Faculty of Arts and Sciences’ (FAS), operations and critical personnel. The definition of “essential” under the Governor’s emergency order may differ from past lists in the FAS. Thank you to colleagues across the Divisions and administrative units for your quick partnership in pulling together this information. Please contact your manager if you have any questions about your role.
 
Whether you have already stopped coming to campus, will now be required to stop coming to campus, or will remain on campus in an essential function, we are grateful for the work you are doing to keep the FAS operational, and our community healthy.
 
Best,
Leslie
 
Dear Members of the Harvard Community,
 
Today Governor Baker issued an emergency order requiring all businesses and organizations that do not provide essential services to close their physical workplaces and facilities as of Tuesday, March 24th, at noon. At Governor Baker’s direction, the Department of Public Health also has issued a stay-at-home advisory. The order will stay in effect for two weeks until noon on Tuesday, April 7th, though of course it may be extended as circumstances evolve. While the order is not significantly different than the measures we have already implemented for remote teaching, learning, researching, and working, it does have additional implications for the University’s operations and critical personnel.
 
These state-wide measures are designed to compel residents to stay in their homes and limit movement to obtaining food, gas, or other essentials, to receiving necessary health care, or to provide essential services and functions, as defined in the emergency order. All workers performing essential services and functions must maintain social distancing protocols and follow any other applicable guidance from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. The Governor has also further restricted meetings from 25 to 10 individuals.
 
In response, our emergency management team has been preparing protocols and defining the list of critical personnel—those who absolutely must remain on campus—in the context of this public health crisis. Note that the definition of “essential” under the Governor’s emergency order may differ from past University lists. Please contact your manager if you have any questions about your role, and heed additional guidance from your School or Unit leadership.
 
This development is no doubt adding to heightened anxiety and concern as we are all dealing with new challenges compounded by uncertainty. Whether you have already stopped coming to campus, will now be required to stop coming to campus, or will remain on campus in an essential function, we are grateful for the work you are doing to keep the University operational, and our community members safe.
 
Again, please look for additional guidance from your School or Unit and be in contact with your manager or local HR office with any questions. You can also visit the remote work section of the University coronavirus website for updated information and resources.
 
Best,
Katie Lapp
Executive Vice President

Update from Dean Gay - 3/20/2020

3/20/2020

Dear FAS faculty and staff colleagues,
 
As we look to next week, and the shift to remote teaching, I want to pause and reflect on where we are, where we have been, and share some thoughts on the road ahead. This has been a challenging two weeks. I have typed or spoken the word “unprecedented” so many times in the last 14 days that the expression already feels like a cliché. But in the living memory of this community, I have yet to land on anything that compares to the realities of life in a pandemic. The painful and disorienting uncertainty; the sense of dread and vulnerability; the upheavals in daily life. There is no comparison. Not the shock of the financial crisis. Not the snowy apocalypse of the winter of 2015. Those events changed some aspects of how we work and live. Covid-19 changes everything, radically and for the indefinite future. 
 
We all want things to go back to normal, quickly. Instead, every day brings new facts that require new adaptations. The interventions that have been implemented may feel draconian, but they are what is necessary to respond to a public health imperative that takes precedence in everything we do. I remind you that actions that seemed proactive just 14 days ago, such as limiting gatherings to less than 150 people, are now understood to be woefully inadequate to the threat we face. Your patience, your generosity, and your commitment to the common good are among the most powerful tools we have as individuals and as an institution as we join the global effort to respond to this pandemic.  
 
The campus is especially quiet now, but that surface quiet belies the feverish work that all of us have been engaged in over these last days as we transition to remote work and teaching and do our best to sustain the educational mission. Over the last 14 days, we have accomplished some pretty remarkable things. As of this past Sunday, 90 percent of undergraduate students had successfully moved off campus, thanks to the incredible efforts of our students and many other members of the Harvard community, including 170 staff and faculty volunteers. In addition to the 67,000 boxes provided, students received financial support for shipping and storage, airplane tickets, and other immediate needs. On Wednesday, the approximately 350 undergraduates who were permitted to remain on campus moved to the River Houses to individual bedrooms and bathrooms, each outfitted with a mini-fridge to store pre-packaged meals. Graduate students have also been preparing for the change to a de-densified campus, with approximately 200 graduate students moving today into similar accommodations in the Quad.
 
This has been a monumental “all hands on deck” effort to support our students. House staff have tirelessly answered questions and provided support as students grappled with the logistical challenges and understandable disappointment, including the rushed good-byes, inherent in this enormous readjustment from campus life as usual. The Griffin Financial Aid Office has been a clearinghouse for questions from aided undergraduates as they navigate these changes. Spring term-time work expectations were reduced by half, and financial aid awards are being mobilized to meet students’ needs now that they have left campus and returned home. The GSAS Student Center has begun virtual programming to help with the isolation and work/life balance issues that graduate students may face in the move to remote teaching and research. The Harvard International Office, together with the Office for the Vice Provost for International Affairs and partners across Harvard’s Schools, worked around the clock to find solutions for each international student who had concerns about returning home or, in other cases, developed an option for the student to remain here on campus.
 
The shifts have been no less dramatic for faculty and staff. While a core group of staff have been working long hours on campus, thousands of others have been quickly moving to remote work, figuring out new ways to accomplish core tasks in a remote context, and coming up to speed on Zoom and other tools that have now become essential to our daily lives. Faculty and staff from across our divisions and SEAS have been ramping down on-campus collaborative scholarly activities and ramping up virtual ones, while leaning into the response to Covid-19, offering up diagnostic capacity and medical supplies harvested from labs.
 
Looking at all that has been accomplished in 14 short days, I am overwhelmed with gratitude. I have been amazed and inspired by the resolve, urgency, and generosity of our community. People have taken on additional assignments, pitched in wherever they could to be helpful, and learned to operate in new ways. Things we would never have imagined we could do, we have found a way to tackle in the response to this pandemic. And our collective commitment to our mission of excellence in teaching and research has remained unshakeable, even as we have had to accept that excellence will look different in the days to come.
 
Next week we enter a new phase. With remote work now extended until further notice, we make the switch to remote teaching and learning. This too has been a herculean effort on the part of the faculty, our learning technologists, and teaching fellows, managing challenges of technology, pedagogy, and an ever-evolving understanding of the situation around us. Even as we recognize these challenges, I can’t help but wonder what we will learn and how it will change how we approach what we do.
 
As we complete the transition to remote work and teaching, this also means you should not be using your workspace on campus. For the health and wellbeing of our community, it is important that our facilities are not used or occupied in a manner inconsistent with our efforts to de-densify campus. To this end, the FAS is implementing a restricted access plan for offices, classrooms, laboratories, and other research facilities and will undertake a necessary and important effort to review daily access logs. Harvard University Information Technology and the Office of Physical Resources and Planning will provide the FAS with building swipe data, consistent with steps provided for in Harvard’s Policy on Access to Electronic Information to ensure we are maintaining the University’s guidance on social distancing.
 
While we have accomplished much together and stand to learn from all that we are doing today, I know this is hard. Even as we fully embrace the new virtues of this moment—imagination, flexibility, perseverance—we know that it will not ensure that all will go smoothly or that the steps we take today will be enough tomorrow. But this is a moment when our now-virtual community must pull together and support each other. It has never been more important to be kind to yourselves and to one another. We will not get all of it right, but know that we are all fellow travelers walking this path that no one has walked before. We are, each of us, in good company.
 
Sincerely,
 
Claudine

Important Message for FAS Staff - 3/20/2020

3/20/2020

Dear FAS staff colleagues,
 
These past two weeks have been a whirlwind of activity in the FAS, as we have responded to the coronavirus pandemic by supporting efforts to de-densify campus. We have helped our students depart and readied special accommodations for those who will remain. We have supported our faculty, as they prepare to transition to remote teaching. And we have tested remote work for ourselves, establishing new ways of connecting with one another to advance our work. I am amazed and grateful for how our staff have come together and responded in this incredibly challenging and unprecedented moment.
 
It is important that we continue to adhere to guidance coming from the CDC, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and the University to practice social distancing and limit interactions with groups of any size. The health and wellbeing of our community during this public health emergency is paramount. That is why the FAS is extending remote work for all who are able to work remotely until further notice. There are several resources available to support the continuation of remote work, including the “Work remotely” section of the University’s coronavirus webpage and the “IT for working remotely” section of HUIT’s website. If you have questions about whether you must work from campus or should be transitioning to remote work, please speak with your manager.
 
If you are able to work remotely, this also means that you should not be using your workspace on campus. The coronavirus pandemic has required the FAS to take several measures to support the health and wellbeing of our community, including de-densifying our campus. It is important that our facilities are not being used or occupied in a manner that is inconsistent with this effort. We must also ensure our facilities and equipment are secure and to minimize the risk of accident or injury, especially in this time of acute demand for medical care. To this end, the FAS is implementing a restricted access plan for offices, classrooms, laboratories, and other research facilities and will undertake a necessary and important effort to review daily access logs. Harvard University Information Technology (HUIT) and the Office of Physical Resources and Planning (OPPR) will provide the FAS with building swipe data, consistent with steps provided for in Harvard’s Policy on Access to Electronic Information. Understanding how often and when our facilities are being accessed will help ensure we are maintaining the University’s guidance on social distancing. If you need to access your workspace, please be in touch with your manager.
 
This rapidly changing situation is impacting us all in different and significant ways. With the closure of childcare centers and schools, many of us are juggling the demands of work with the needs of home. It is important that we all take care of ourselves in this challenging time. Please remember that the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available to you at 877-EAP-HARV (877-327-4278) to help with feelings of stress or anxiety.
 
I continue to be humbled by the incredible efforts staff are making to support one another and our community. The flexibility, resourcefulness, and enduring care you have all shown over the last few weeks is remarkable. I feel confident that we will continue to meet the challenges of this uncertain and evolving situation together.
 
Sincerely,
Leslie

Update on FAS Transition to Remote Work and De-Densifying Campus - 3/15/2020

3/15/2020

Dear staff colleagues,

On Monday, we begin the transition to remote work. Our goal in asking all those who can work from home to do so is to reduce the overall number of people on campus. In so doing, we make it possible for those who must work from campus to employ social distancing strategies. Whether you are working from home or continuing critical tasks on campus, you are helping to protect the wellbeing of our community by making social distancing possible. If you have questions about whether you must work from campus or should be transitioning to remote work on Monday, please ask your manager.
 
At this point, we have all heard the phrase “flattening the curve” in the coverage of COVID-19. I found this article from the Washington Post particularly useful in helping me visualize the power of social distancing as a public health intervention. It reinforces the importance of social distancing as a core component of Harvard’s response, along with the other measures described below, to this pandemic.

A lot of guidance has been circulated to the community in the last few days as we have responded to the evolving situation and to guidance from the CDC and other agencies. As we announced the testing and implementation of remote work this coming week, we also informed our community that laboratory and other collaborative scholarly work would also be carried out remotely. This has required a significant shift in thinking and expectations, as faculty and staff engaged in research of many kinds have typically assumed that their work must be performed on campus. Given the primacy of social distancing in our response, this expectation must change. To enable the de-densification of campus, the scholarly enterprise must be part of our move to remote work. 

Having said this, we recognize that the transition of collaborative scholarly activities to remote work is not easy. There are practical, intellectual, compliance-related, and many other considerations that must be addressed when making this shift. In recognition of this complexity, faculty were given until Wednesday, March 18, to transition to remote work, but were encouraged to make the transition as early as Monday, March 16, when the broader remote work effort in FAS begins. Also, knowing that planning for laboratories and other collaborative groups might be approached differently depending on the time horizon, we provided a longer planning estimate of six to eight weeks. It was our hope that this clarity would provide faculty and research staff with the guidance they needed to make important choices now to support the continuity of our research activities. I want to express my sincere thanks to Dean Chris Stubbs and Dean Frank Doyle for their leadership of these efforts with their departments and areas, providing coordination with other schools, advice and guidance, and a clearinghouse for questions as faculty take on this work.

For those who have not already fully transitioned to remote work, use Monday and Tuesday to collect any items on campus that are essential to your remote work. This checklist can help. If you have questions about technology that you will need to work from home, bring them to your manager. Finalize remote workflows for critical functions. Make sure you have access to a conference line and Zoom if you need to convene group conversations. If you will be working remotely, you should be prepared to do so no later than Wednesday, March 18.

As we begin implementation of remote work on Monday, we do so knowing that the situation is fluid. I plan to communicate again with the FAS community no later than Friday, March 20, to provide an update on our plans, including whether and for how long we will extend remote work. I understand how challenging the uncertainty of this situation can be, compounded for many by the additional responsibilities created by K-12 school cancellations. We must continue to do our best to support one another, share information, and be flexible as we learn to work well in this new way. We all strive for excellence in what we do, and must recognize that excellence will look different in the days to come, but our commitment to our work and to one another remains the same.

Sincerely,

Claudine
 

FAS Guidance on Laboratory Research Activities - 3/12/2020

3/12/2020

Dear Colleagues,

Following today’s message about piloting remote work in FAS next week, we are writing about what this will mean specifically for our scholarly activities. Efforts to de-densify our campus bring particular complications in laboratory and other collaborative settings, and academic leaders across the University have been exploring strategies to incorporate public health practices like social distancing into our research environment. While we recognize the challenges, we also believe that we must shift work habits to significantly reduce the number of physical interactions amongst our graduate students, postdocs, faculty and staff. Accordingly, we request your help in developing a rapid strategy to move to remote work for our scholarly activities. We are taking this action in close coordination with other Harvard schools.

Each Principal Investigator or group leader of a laboratory research program (experimental, computational, or otherwise) will be responsible for the coordination of a strategy to ramp-down laboratory research activities by Wednesday March 18th, with the expectation that such a period of  suspended lab access will likely last at least six to eight weeks. We will revisit that time frame on a regular basis as more information on the trajectory of disease transmission becomes available, and we will update you if this estimate changes. Please be prepared to implement your plans starting Monday, March 16.

We are mandating that all group meetings, courses, and scientific convocations be conducted virtually, per the FAS and University guidance. To minimize community interactions, we ask that each lab identify at most 2-3 key individuals, in discussion with the department chair, to manage issues such as animal husbandry or essential experiments—those that if discontinued would generate significant financial and data loss.

Scholars whose research does not entail laboratory work should comply with the spirit of limiting campus presence to essential personnel during the week of Spring Break (March 16-22), while making contingency plans for a more extended period of reduced access to campus.

We understand your research is critically important, and during this period we urge you to devote your time to productive alternatives, such as writing grant proposals, reviewing articles and papers, writing thesis chapters, conducting analyses, compiling data and/or synthesizing important research. This is a good opportunity to reflect, and to work on books and research papers. We ask research group leaders to identify contributions that individuals in their group can make while working remotely.

We expect to sustain access to FAS Research Computing resources during this time.

We appreciate that this is a disruption to the life to which we are accustomed. We are facing an unprecedented challenge and must all do our part to “flatten the curve” to protect our community, and lessen predictable pressures on our public health infrastructure. This is our chance for Harvard to act decisively, rise to the occasion, and protect our community. Thank you for taking on this challenge as you have so many other hard problems—with creativity, innovation, and a commitment to the common good.

Sincerely,

Claudine Gay
Frank Doyle
Emma Dench
Chris Stubbs
Lawrence Bobo
Robin Kelsey

FAS to Pilot Remote Work Beginning March 16 - 3/12/2020

3/12/2020

Dear FAS faculty and staff,
 
With the announcement on Tuesday, efforts are underway across our campus to respond quickly and decisively to the coronavirus pandemic. With faculty and teaching staff now deeply engaged in the work of transitioning courses to remote teaching, and our entire community working to assist students as they prepare to leave campus, we will take an additional step forward in our efforts to prepare for de-densifying our campus. I am writing to announce that we will use Spring Break as an opportunity to pilot remote work. We are encouraging those who are able to do so to work from home next week, beginning Monday, March 16.
 
At this time, the recommendation to work from home is only for the week of Spring Break (March 16-20). This pilot is an opportunity to learn what remote work would mean for many different activities; to identify issues and questions, gaps in resources, unanticipated interdependencies, and other barriers to consistent remote work should that be adopted. Faculty and managers will need to lead efforts this week to think about how critical processes will be handled remotely and to support students, postdocs, and staff in their efforts to prepare for next week’s pilot. Department administrators will receive additional guidance via Zoom conference.
 
I recognize that not all members of our community will be able to participate in this pilot. In particular, Spring Break week represents a valuable time to prepare for online teaching, and technical and instructional support is essential for that transition. Additionally, the Harvard College community (with the help of many volunteers from across the FAS) is focused on supporting our students, as they move off campus, and on supporting those who are unable to do so. Communications from Harvard College, SEAS, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the Division of Continuing Education, and the Academic Divisions will be forthcoming to provide additional guidance and information, and we are grateful for the local wisdom and leadership that this pilot will require.
 
As you know, decisions and policies are being made daily, resulting in changes in expectations and daily routines. I recognize that this is, in and of itself, stressful, and is compounded for many by the challenges outside of work, including elderly relatives, family and friends miles away, and potential worries and health concerns yourself. I share your concerns—the unknowns around COVID-19 can be frightening. Please remember that we are a strong community. In addition to all the steps we are taking to safeguard our collective health and well-being, we must all support one another. Patience, kindness, grace, and empathy have never been more important than they are now. And in a time when we don’t have all the answers, let’s give one another the benefit of the doubt as we move ahead together.
 
Thank you again for everything you do every day to keep our community healthy.
 
Sincerely,

Claudine

COVID-19 Message to Faculty — FAS Moving Classes Online, Other Updates - 3/10/2020

3/10/2020

Dear faculty colleagues,
 
As President Bacow announced in his message this morning, Harvard University will be transitioning to virtual instruction for undergraduate and graduate classes with the goal of completing the transition by Monday, March 23, the first day of scheduled classes following Spring Recess. In addition, undergraduate students are being asked not to return to campus after Spring Recess and to meet academic requirements remotely until further notice. Graduate students are also being asked to transition to remote work wherever possible.
 
As President Bacow describes, this decision was made to protect the health of our community, and it was not made lightly. These changes are intended to minimize the need to gather in large groups and to spend prolonged time in close proximity with each other in spaces, such as classrooms, dining halls, and residential buildings. The campus will remain open and operations will continue with appropriate measures to protect the health of our community. The University continues to update this dedicated webpage, and Provost Alan Garber, Executive Vice President Katie Lapp, and HUHS Executive Director Giang Nguyen will continue to send updates by email as needed.
 
I want to take a moment to describe what this guidance means for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Over the last few days, colleagues in the Academic Divisions, SEAS, Harvard College, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the Division of Continuing Education, and our administrative units have been working quickly to plan for this transition, and have prepared guidance and answers to many questions you may have. You will receive direct communications from a number of offices throughout the course of the day as local guidance is set. You can find links to those messages and resources, as well as frequently asked questions, on the FAS website.
 
As we move ahead, we are, of course, guided by University policies, and are extending them into local activities, both in spirit and by the letter. These policies have been carefully informed by recommended public health measures, as well as by Harvard’s considerable public health and medical expertise. There is much we still do not know and the situation on the ground continues to evolve. As guidance changes, we will continue to communicate to our community, with a focus on accuracy and coordination with the efforts being led by the University. Colleges and universities across the country have announced a variety of measures to shift operations in response to COVID-19, including taking steps to de-densify their campuses. Though we are in good company, we are in somewhat uncharted territory. As we find creative, innovative, and practical approaches to remote teaching and research activities, we have an opportunity to help colleagues elsewhere as they take on these challenges. To enable that, we have defaulted to making all links to FAS materials publicly available.  
 
Before I share guidance, I want to acknowledge that this is a lot to take on. It can be overwhelming, frustrating, and anxiety-producing to have to shift gears so dramatically in the middle of the semester, and finding a way to be creative in a situation of considerable pressure is difficult to say the least. I want you to know that you have a community of people ready to support you in this, and that includes me. This is hard stuff, and no one is in this alone.
 
People will also be looking to you for support. This transition will mean change to the daily routine for all members of our community, and change is difficult. Students will be confronting uncertainty, but likely also disappointment to be leaving campus. They will be worried about the logistics of moving out, and concerned about impacted family and friends. It would be impossible to overstate the importance of the way you present your response in this situation to your students, staff, and colleagues. Your care, compassion, and sense of confidence that we can reach solutions to the challenges intrinsic in this transition are perhaps the most powerful tools we have in this moment. Give yourself a moment to prepare how you will lead in your research group, class, program, and department. Your community will look to you to understand how they should be feeling about what is happening, and every interaction is a moment to underscore that we are in this together and will navigate this transition successfully.
 
Here is an overview of current FAS guidance. 
 
Classes
As President Bacow stated, Harvard will be transitioning to virtual instruction for undergraduate and graduate classes. Resources are in place to answer your technical Zoom questions and to get you started on the platform, as well as to help you think about how to adapt your courses for remote teaching. There are a number of strategies that can be employed to make remote teaching successful, and to rethink materials and assignments to better fit a remote format. The Office for Undergraduate Education and the Bok Center have developed guides that share best practices and Harvard-specific resources. For courses that employ lab-based or performance-based pedagogies, the Office of Undergraduate Education has a team in place that can provide specific suggestions and support for teaching remotely, and the Divisional offices and SEAS have also assembled additional resources. Please review the information you are receiving from them closely. Spring break is an opportunity to engage these resources and prepare for remote teaching after spring break.
 
If you would like to postpone the mid-term exam in your course or define an alternative, you have the option of doing so. Please be in touch with the Office of Undergraduate Education for support (instruct@fas.harvard.edu).
 
Class meetings this week will afford an opportunity to see students face-to-face before the transition to remote teaching begins. It will be important to reassure them that the rest of the semester will go well, and that the remote learning experience will provide a meaningful learning experience for them. Your flexibility and understanding on deadlines as we make this transition is greatly appreciated.
 
Undergraduates
Harvard College is communicating with all undergraduates about this transition and will forward that communication to all faculty. This communication will address a broad set of logistical questions, from Housing to travel to work study concerns. The College website will house information on undergraduate issues and the Houses will help provide support and answer questions for students. 
 
Graduate students
As President Bacow noted, the default assumption is that all graduate students will transition to remote work wherever possible. The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences is communicating directly with graduate students and will forward that communication to all faculty. In it, graduate students will receive guidance on housing, teaching fellow support, and issues confronting research assistants.
 
Postdoctoral fellows
Postdoctoral fellows will follow the same guidelines as graduate students to work remotely wherever possible.
 
Staff
As President Bacow acknowledged, this transition will rely on staff to go above and beyond in their efforts to support our important mission of teaching and scholarship. With our residential model of education, this is particularly true for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. This transition will require us all to help each other in new ways and to change our normal way of working. Staff colleagues will need your support and understanding as they join efforts to make this transition successful.
  
Events
Consistent with the updated University guidance reflected in President Bacow’s message, all gatherings (over 25) in the FAS must be postponed or canceled. In practice, however, we would ask that all meetings and events, even those under 25 participants, be transitioned to Zoom or conference call or postponed where possible.
 
This guidance has resulted in the postponement of arts, athletics, and other community events. The Department of Athletics has posted guidance for student athletes online.
 
Future meetings of the FAS Faculty Council and FAS Faculty will move to a virtual format, and all department meetings should follow suit.
 
Travel and Visitors
FAS policy, consistent with University guidance, is that all Harvard-sponsored international and non-essential domestic travel is prohibited. This guidance is being applied broadly, and includes course-related travel. All prospective student events, for undergraduates and graduate students, are being transitioned to online. Additionally, visits to campus, whether for job talks, guest lectures, or other activities, should be postponed or transitioned to Zoom. This applies to local colleagues, as well as those who would have been traveling to campus from outside the Boston area. Divisional offices and SEAS can provide further clarification, but there is an expectation that this guidance is applied consistently across all departments and programs. For those travelling on University business, the Harvard Travel Policy allows for reimbursement of cancellation or change fees with a valid reason. The current Coronavirus outbreak meets this requirement. Harvard Financial Administration has provided a guide to frequently asked questions and other information is here.
 
Extending this guidance, you are advised against all international travel, even if not sponsored by Harvard, and are cautioned to carefully consider domestic travel, particularly to heavily affected areas.
 
I am sure that there are a lot of questions that you have that I haven’t answered here. Concerted work is underway to understand what this new guidance will mean for us, and communications will continue as guidance is ready to be shared. There is still a lot we do not know, and we will not get everything right as we work quickly to shift operations. That said, in times of uncertainty, I am always reminded of what makes this community extraordinary. I am continually amazed by your willingness to meet challenges with urgency, resolve, and deep humanity. I know this is a stressful time for many of us. Please take care of yourselves and one another. Remember that during challenging times, we need to connect with each other more, not less. I hope we can each find ways to reach out, and to treat one another with patience and understanding in the days ahead.
 
Sincerely,
 
Claudine

Important Message for FAS Staff - 3/10/2020

3/10/2020

Dear FAS staff colleagues,
 
As President Bacow announced in his message this morning, Harvard University will be transitioning to virtual instruction for undergraduate and graduate classes with the goal of completing the transition by Monday, March 23, the first day of scheduled classes following Spring Recess. In addition, undergraduate students are being asked not to return to campus after Spring Recess and to meet academic requirements remotely until further notice. Graduate students are also being asked to transition to remote work wherever possible.
 
As President Bacow describes, this decision was made to protect the health of our community, and it was not made lightly. These changes are intended to minimize the need to gather in large groups and to spend prolonged time in close proximity with each other in spaces such as classrooms, dining halls, and residential buildings. The campus will remain open and operations will continue with appropriate measures to protect the health of our community.
 
Closely following President Bacow’s message, Executive Vice President Katie Lapp provided current guidance for staff, which you will find at the end of this message.
 
I know you will have questions about time off to care for yourself or a sick family member, underlying health issues, remote working, compensation, and much more. University Human Resources has provided detailed guidance on workplace policies relating to Coronavirus. Please be assured that FAS Human Resources is working closely with University Human Resources to support this unprecedented situation. We will continue to get additional information out to managers as quickly as it is developed, so they can support you and answer your questions.
 
As Dean Gay said in her message to the faculty, “I want to acknowledge that this is a lot to take on. It can be overwhelming, frustrating, and anxiety-producing to have to shift gears so dramatically in the middle of the semester, and finding a way to be creative in a situation of considerable pressure is difficult to say the least. I want you to know that you have a community of people ready to support you in this, and that includes me. This is hard stuff, and no one is in this alone.”
 
It is in this spirit that I write to ask for your help. This transition is unprecedented for the FAS, and it will require each and every one of us to stretch ourselves in new and different ways to support our community. Over the last few days, colleagues across the Academic Divisions, Harvard College, SEAS, GSAS, and DCE have been working quickly to plan for this transition. Our primary focus over the next few days is to:
 

  1. Help our students pack up and prepare to head home or, if necessary, to relocate to alternate housing, and
  2. Help our faculty and teaching staff prepare to shift to remote teaching.

 
Many staff will be involved in planning and executing these tasks as part of their jobs; Others may be asked to pitch in outside of their usual roles and responsibilities. With this in mind, it is important to acknowledge that much of our routine work may need to be postponed during the initial days of this transition.
 
As EVP Lapp said, what we know for certain is that social distance will limit the opportunity for illness to spread, and this action will protect the health and wellbeing of everyone, including those who remain on campus. Therefore, we must also take immediate steps to reduce risk in the workplace by keeping meetings and events to smaller numbers, fewer than 25 consistent with updated University guidance. We must also begin to plan for a potential shift to remote work for staff. This is a good time to ensure you have the right technology and work processes and to identify and seek support for any potential barriers to remote work.
 
There is still a lot we do not know, and we will not get everything right as we work to quickly shift operations. Managers are here to help but won’t have all the answers today. That said, I am humbled by the incredible efforts staff are already making to support this transition and our community. Your care, compassion, and sense of confidence that we can reach solutions to the challenges associated with this transition are critical in this challenging moment. I am continually amazed by the resourcefulness and dedication of our staff, and I’m confident we will rise to this occasion together.
 
Sincerely,
Leslie Kirwan
 

Zoom Training to Support Teaching - 3/6/2020

3/6/2020

Dear faculty colleagues,
 
As you know, we continue to track the progression of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and are engaged in planning and preparation to safeguard the Harvard community. I am writing to you today with a request that you sign up for a Zoom account and complete Zoom training no later than Friday, March 20, in order to enable the option of remote teaching, should that become needed.
 
Harvard offers Zoom for both teaching remotely and general video conferencing. The Canvas site for every FAS course is enabled to use Zoom for remote teaching. While Zoom is fairly intuitive, some instruction is helpful when getting started.

Here are four ways you and teaching fellows can learn how to use Zoom for remote teaching:

  • Watch a brief video tutorial
  • Attend an in-person, half-hour workshop
  • Visit in-person office hours for questions and one-on-one help
  • Request a one-on-one session with a HUIT member

HUIT has other resources available, including best practices for remote teaching and general information about getting ready to work remotely. For additional help with Zoom or other technology resources, you may request help through the ITHelp Portal or by calling 617-495-7777. Additional resources will continue to be added to HUIT’s Get Ready to Work Remotely website.
 
To be clear, at this time you should continue your regular in-person teaching. You are being asked to familiarize yourself with these tools and to think about how to shift your pedagogy for remote teaching. We are committed to residential education and appreciate that the classroom experience cannot be fully replicated online. However, remote teaching is an important and powerful tool in our contingency planning as we look to maintain the continuity of our teaching and the academic progress of our students.
 
You should also begin to consider alternate forms of final assessment, should in-person exams become impossible. If you need additional support to help you plan, you may be in touch with your Director of Undergraduate Studies or the Office of Undergraduate Education (instruct@fas.harvard.edu).
 
Also, as the University guidelines have made clear, if you are feeling unwell, you should remain off campus and prepare for the possibility of missing classes and research activities. Please explicitly encourage your graduate and undergraduate students to adhere to these guidelines and support their efforts to do so.
 
Best,
Claudine

Messages from Harvard College

Emergency Grading Policy - 3/27/2020

Dear Students,

Over the past two weeks, as you know, there has been a great deal of discussion over whether we should shift to an alternate grading system. We have decided to do so. In the spring of 2020, all undergraduates will receive grades of either Emergency Sat or Emergency Unsat. Below you'll find an email from Claudine Gay, Edgerley Family Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, explaining why we are making this shift.

I'm sure that many of you will have questions about how this grading system will affect the courses you're taking now — and the plans you're making for the future. You'll find answers to general questions in the COVID-19- FAQs for students. For questions about your own specific situation, please don't hesitate to ask your instructors and your resident dean. 

Finally, I'd like to thank all of you who spoke out — so passionately and so thoughtfully — about this issue. Our thinking was informed by The Harvard Crimson editorials, by Undergraduate Council proposals, by consultation with the Honor Council, but it was informed just as much by the individual emails sent by so many of you. We have tried, in this new policy, to address the needs of all of our students, while also responding to the enormity of the situation we find ourselves in. 

With all best wishes,

Amanda Claybaugh
Dean of Undergraduate Education
Zemurray Stone Radcliffe Professor of English
 
 
Dear colleagues,
 
With each new day, we come to understand things we were unable to imagine at the start of our response to this pandemic. As circumstances evolve and we gain experience operating in this new environment, we have had to adapt, and to do so much more quickly than ever before. At the end of our first week of remote teaching, experience has again taught us things that now require quick action.
 
First, the pivot to remote teaching has been on the whole quite successful. With a few important exceptions, the technology has cooperated. Faculty have been creative and thoughtful in adapting their materials and dealing with the logistical constraints of this shift. Student attendance has been high and the level of engagement has been perhaps the biggest and most pleasant surprise of this week. Reconnecting with faculty and classmates and returning to “the classroom” has been embraced by our students – a small return to normalcy in these uncertain times.
 
Just a few days in, we are now starting to understand what remote learning looks like for our undergraduates. After leaving campus, students returned home to a variety of circumstances. Many, like those in Massachusetts, are living under various lockdown orders, dealing with the anxiety of the escalating crisis and the frustration of trying to study with a full house of family members. But for some students the challenges have been more severe. Some have seen parent job losses, or have had to take over childcare and other household responsibilities, as healthcare and other essential workers in their families continue to provide critical support or have become ill themselves. Those who relied on the public library for internet access are struggling to find other ways to join their classmates online, as public buildings are ordered closed. Students in a time zone 12 hours away from us are feeling remote and closed off by time, and by closed borders.
 
We of course remain committed to academic continuity, but we cannot proceed as if nothing has changed. Everything has changed. I have heard from many faculty who have expressed confidence that they can teach their course material but are increasingly reluctant to assign our normal grades when students find themselves in such different circumstances. To understand this issue better, I charged the Committee on Undergraduate Educational Policy (EPC), a standing committee of the Faculty that oversees issues of undergraduate educational policy, to develop a proposal to address this situation. EPC consulted widely with directors of undergraduate studies, received input from the Undergraduate Council and the Honor Council, consulted with peers and with graduate, fellowship, and internship programs. After careful review they have recommended that, for this term only, all courses be graded on an “Emergency Satisfactory/Emergency Unsatisfactory” or “SEM/UEM” basis. This new terminology is purposefully chosen to indicate the unique nature of this semester in the archival record and to distinguish this semester’s grades from Harvard College’s standard grading system. Additionally, qualitative assessment of student learning can be documented in my.harvard to describe material that has been mastered. This proposal was discussed at length by the Faculty Council and received their unanimous endorsement. I have accepted this proposal and it is now in effect.
 
Apart from the apparent equity concerns, there are important reasons to adopt this universal grade policy and not an opt-in approach. As colleges and universities have begun to impose similar temporary grading policies for this semester, graduate and fellowship programs have signaled that they will accept these grades if they were instituted for all students. Their flexibility is less certain in any grading system that retains the option for a letter grade. Also, international students will maintain the full-time status needed for their student visas under this grading policy. This decision has many implications. The Office of Undergraduate Education has developed FAQs for faculty and students and will be communicating this decision to students later today. I encourage you to review these materials and to bring forward questions to oue@fas.harvard.edu.
 
Not everyone will agree with this policy, and I have heard reasonable arguments on all sides of the issue. That said, we are facing something that imperils the health of every human on the planet. Continuing to pursue our educational mission helps our students, academically and personally. I can’t help but be moved by how present our students want to be. But we must in this moment adjust our expectations of them. This grading policy better meets the needs of today, and I hope prepares us to face challenges to come as this situation continues to evolve. We will strive to meet each day with flexibility, perseverance, and understanding. We will continue to learn and to adapt.
 
Sincerely,
 
Claudine
 
 

Resuming the Semester - 3/20/2020

Dear Students,
 
We've promised you that your education will continue, and your professors and TFs have spent this week working to ensure that it does. They're thinking about how to lead a seminar across a dozen time zones, how to teach a lab course online, how to create new environments in which you can learn. It's a big challenge, but they're rising to it with energy and ingenuity — and a deep commitment to you. 

There are some things that you can do to prepare. Please consult the resources we've gathered about learning remotely and about accessing the internet. You should have heard from your instructors, but, if you haven't, please write to them to make sure you know what's expected next week. If you have any trouble contacting your instructors, please write to me at oue@fas.harvard.edu. And if you have other questions, please check the Academic Continuity section of the FAQs or consult with your resident dean.
 
We're committed to your education continuing, but we recognize that many things have changed. We're living in uncertain times, and the weight of that lies heavy on us all. We'll get through this, in part, by being flexible. As you know, we've extended the deadline for you to convert a course to P/F (it's now April 13th), and we're reviewing other policies to see whether they should be adjusted as well. We also realize that some students may need additional flexibility. If you are facing particular difficulties, please let your instructors and resident deans know, so that they can work with you to find solutions.
 
We're going to need flexibility, but we'll also need forbearance. I've written to your instructors to remind them of how disruptive all this has been for you, and now I'll remind you that it's been equally disruptive for them.  Like you, your instructors are facing unexpected challenges. Like you, they're wondering how they can do good work under difficult circumstances. But if we all remember that we're working toward a shared purpose, then we'll make our way forward together no matter how rough the road ahead.
 
With best wishes for you and your loved ones,
 
Amanda Claybaugh
Dean of Undergraduate Education
Harvard College Professor
Zemurray Stone Radcliffe Professor of English
 

Our Journey Together Continues - 3/10/2020

3/16/2020

Dear Harvard College Students, 

The past week has been one of the toughest that any of us could ever have imagined facing together. Last Monday, you were attending classes and socializing with friends. Now, most of you have departed for the semester, and those who remain are adjusting to a very different campus. While the decision to de-densify our campus was disruptive and burdened you with enormous personal and logistical challenges, I believe it was the right thing to do for the safety and well-being of our community. Although absolutely necessary and required by the evolving global pandemic, the decision came with unintended and incredibly hard impacts on our community. I wish I could find the words to tell you how much I already miss seeing you on campus.

I know you don’t need me to tell you how fortunate we all are to be a part of this extraordinary community. Harvard College is extraordinary not because of its hallowed history, beautiful architecture, or famous alumni, but because of each and every one of you. As I walked around campus this week, I was inspired by your empathy, your camaraderie, and your generosity towards each other. Students who had never met one another before were helping each other pack, lending a hand as boxes were loaded into waiting cars, or simply being there as a shoulder to lean on for those struggling. And in the midst of juggling difficult logistical issues, you found time to support your friends, and to enjoy each other’s company for a few more days. Your responses to this difficult time reminded all of us how much we mean to each other.

I know we have all felt pain and sadness this week, and that the coming months will be difficult. Saying goodbye is one of the hardest things in life, and having to do so months sooner than you anticipated is an enormous burden for anyone. I know this week was especially hard for our seniors. But I take comfort in knowing we will find ways to reconnect in the coming weeks. Throughout the remainder of the term, our faculty and staff will do everything they can to stay connected with you. You already know that classes will continue, and that we will do our best to support your academic progress. And we will also do our best to foster a sense of community during this difficult time. I hope you will help us sustain our connections by reaching out to friends to see how they are and by finding new ways to work with classmates and faculty. I know that each of us will face different challenges as we adapt to these new circumstances, and not everything will go smoothly. But I hope that we will all be able to remain patient with each other and gentle with yourself.

As we navigate our way through the rest of the spring term, you will continue to hear from me. You might even hear me quote the mission of the College once or twice because I believe it has never been so important. But one thing you won’t hear from me is “goodbye.” Because while we may have temporarily gone our separate ways, our journey together continues.

I look forward to staying in touch as we meet this challenging moment together. 

Warmly,
Dean Khurana

THANK YOU! And Remote Work Pilot Information - 3/13/2020

3/13/2020

Dear Colleagues,

I am in awe of your dedicated support for our community this week as we have rallied to support our students and one another. With the news yesterday that the upcoming week (March 16-20) is to be used to pilot remote work across the FAS, I write in follow-up to share some basic guidelines from the College related to working remotely.
 
Due to students leaving and residential community transitions happening through early next week, many members of our College staff community will not be able to participate in the pilot immediately.  I recognize that there are move out and academic continuity functions during the coming days and week that must be completed in person and appreciate the commitment of our staff members to ensure these processes proceed smoothly.  Please continue to take care of yourself and to take advantage of the resources being made available to enable safe working conditions.
 
As Dean Gay shared, the next week is an opportunity to learn more about our work together in these new circumstances – whether it be identifying gaps in resources, issues and questions, or unanticipated interdependencies. Please keep those themes in mind in the coming weeks.
 
I know we will continue to support each other as we embark on this unprecedented transitional time and the remote work pilot ahead.
 
With thanks for all the work you do,
Sheila
***
 

Basic guidelines on working remotely for all College units
 


Who should work remotely? 
Everyone who can.  Bring home everything you need on short notice – files, monitors, laptops, etc.  Most units have already planned for this but consult with your manager if you have questions. If you have files with sensitive or confidential information, please review the Information Security Policy website, and speak with your manager on ways to handle private and confidential information remotely if you have questions.
 
Every manager and employee should consult the HUIT checklist (https://huit.harvard.edu/are-you-ready-work-remotely-checklist) to make sure they have what they need for remote work.
 
What if I have critical work that must continue but lack the capacity (e.g. equipment, broadband wireless, access to secure information and platforms, etc.) to do this work remotely?
Consult with your manager first to determine strategies:

  • Is there is a work-around (e.g. equipment or access needs that can be addressed)?  Resources for this:
    • If a purchase needs to be made by an individual, it must be cleared by their manager.  All purchased items are the property of Harvard.  Managers should consult with Nancy Laird if there are purchasing questions (her contact information is below).
  • Is there someone else with access who can take over the work that you do, or can it be subdivided among various people with access?  Build in redundancies.
  • Managers should surface problems that cannot be solved locally to their managers. 

How can employees manage ergonomic well-being?
The week of Monday, March 16th is a pilot week for remote work.  If the situation persists, Harvard will advise on the purchase of ergonomically sound furniture to avoid injuries.
 
What if some essential work can only be done on campus?
Consult with your manager to determine if there is a location on campus to complete this work.  It may be appropriate for an individual to come into their office.  Alternatively, perhaps the employee can be relocated to another place on campus that provides what is needed.
 
Harvard is offering reduced parking fees for on-campus parking for employees who do not have permits.
 
What are the best ways to connect for meetings remotely?

Interreacting with other staff during this time should be done as much as possible via telephone, e-mail and using messaging services available through Teams and Slack; the next level should be by teleconference; the last resort should be Zoom. As we transition to Zoom for our pedagogy, we must ensure that our systems can support it without interruption.  Use of Zoom should be used judiciously for routine administrative and non-essential function.  HUIT is working on guidelines and procedures on the use of Zoom to ensure that the system is not overwhelmed needlessly. Your compliance with those guidelines is critical to our success.
 
What if the person doing essential work becomes sick?
Units should have redundancies built in – with designated alternates for who can take over the work, even remotely.
 
What resources are available to help address needs?
In addition to University resources that you are used to, please continue to send remote work-related questions to the following:
Finance questions: Nancy Laird – nlaird@fas.harvard.edu
IT questions:  Kaitlyn Santa Lucia – ksantalucia@fas.harvard.edu
HR questions:  Cesar Mieses – cesar_mieses@fas.harvard.edu
General questions:  Sheila Thimba – thimba@fas.harvard.edu
--
Sheila Thimba
Dean, Administration and Finance
Harvard College
617.495.7897

Teaching remotely (a message from Bok and OUE) - 3/13/2020

3/13/2020

Dear Colleagues,
 
Our students are leaving campus with our promise that their education won’t come to an end. Ensuring that it continues will require from us a great deal of energy, creativity, and patience, but I know that we’re all committed to enabling our students to complete the courses they began--and to stay on track to graduate. Below you'll find information and resources that we hope will help.

I. Flexibility
 
This is an unprecedented situation, and flexibility is warranted. Students are worried that they won’t be able to do their best work under these circumstances, and so we’ll be allowing students to switch to P/F grading up until April 13. Faculty have similar concerns, and so we’re reflecting on what to do about course evaluations: What questions should we ask? How should results be used and shared?
 
More generally, this situation has been incredibly disruptive. This week, students have been packing their belongings and traveling home, while also saying goodbye to their friends, mourning the projects and activities they won’t be able to complete, and dealing with anxieties about the pandemic and what it might mean for their future. Soon, they will be resuming their courses under conditions that might not always be conducive to learning. We would encourage you, therefore, to be flexible with deadlines and understanding when difficulties arise
 
The situation has also been disruptive for faculty, of course, and so flexibility is needed here as well. We're working to postpone the ordinary deadlines, so that you can devote your energies to preparing to teach remotely. As a start, the Registrar's Office has agreed to postpone the scheduling of next year's courses and the OUE is postponing the allocating of next year's TFs.
 
We will continue to monitor the situation and make additional changes, as the need arises. Please don’t hesitate to let us know what you or your students need. And if you have any questions, please check our FAQs.
 
II. Teaching Remotely
 
The OUE and the Bok Center have compiled resources and scheduled workshops to supplement the more technical trainings HUIT is offering. In addition, the Bok Center is putting over a dozen members of its senior staff at your disposal for individual Zoom consultations; you may schedule a consultation here or email bokcenter@fas.harvard.edu for additional options. 
 
Stage 1: Initial Zoom training

Acquaint yourself with Harvard’s Zoom. Even if you’ve used Zoom before, make sure to get your Zoom account set up for use with your Harvard course at http://harvard.zoom.us.

Stage 2: Faculty Meet-ups to Discuss Strategies
 
In these remote sessions, faculty and professionals experienced in teaching with Zoom will share easily-adopted techniques and facilitate a discussion among faculty about how to address teaching challenges within a pedagogical area. Bring your questions, your ideas, and any concerns you may have about technology gaps in your classroom. 

In addition to the faculty meet-ups, we encourage you to join one of our practice micro-teaching sessions on Thursday or Friday for a chance to try out teaching in Zoom. Sign-ups for those sessions and any updates or additions to the above sessions will be available on this calendar
 
Stage 3: In-Class Technical Support
 
For those who would benefit from it, we can provide in-class technical support for the first few Zoom class meetings. A trained volunteer will join your Zoom class meeting to help address any technical problems that arise for you or your students. If you would like “ride-along” technical support, sign up and let us know when your class will be meeting
 
Self-Service Resources
 
In addition to signing up for the resources above, we would like to draw your attention to the following self-help resources. 

With all best wishes,
  
Amanda Claybaugh
Dean of Undergraduate Education
Harvard College Professor
Zemurray Stone Radcliffe Professor of English
 
Robert Lue
Richard L. Menschel Faculty Director of the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning
Professor of the Practice of Molecular and Cellular Biology

Important Updates - 3/11/2020

3/11/2020

Dear Harvard College Students, 

I am grateful to have had the opportunity to speak with many of you today about what you have been experiencing since you heard the news that you will have to leave campus. I recognize how difficult the last 36 hours have been for all of you, and I sympathize with the frustration you are experiencing as you try to meet the challenges ahead. Please know the College is working hard to support you and respond to the needs of our community in the midst of this rapidly evolving situation. We are committed to sharing as much information as possible with you as we learn more. I am writing now with updates about course flexibility, storage, shipping, travel booking assistance, room and board, as well as housing exceptions.

Course Flexibility 
The Faculty of Arts and Sciences has decided that effective immediately, all major academic deadlines, including Senior Thesis due dates, will be extended by one week. We hope this will allow you to focus on the logistical challenges of leaving campus.  

Storage, Shipping, and Travel Booking Assistance 
Mike Burke sent a message earlier today detailing additional move-out resources for all students. Please refer to this detailed resource for more information. 

Room and Board 
Room and board charges will be prorated for students who move out. 

Housing Exceptions
We are aware of the many circumstances that might make it very difficult for some students to return home. We are committed to ensuring our students’ well-being while also mindful of public health guidelines for the need to de-densify our residential buildings. The College will review all applications and announce decisions beginning tomorrow. I promise you that each application receives the careful consideration it deserves, while also remaining mindful of the need to provide answers quickly.

Additional Resources
Urgent Care, CAMHS, Title IX, and AODS remain open and fully operational. These resources are here to support you, so please take advantage of them if you need to. We have developed FAQs that are updated frequently, and a website for all College updates and information related to COVID-19. 

We are a community that gathers, and I know that the shift in our daily life on campus will bring great challenges and disappointments. In particular, I am thinking about our seniors. We’ve had an extraordinary journey together, and I know this is not how you or I expected our spring semester together would end. I am also thinking about our first-year students who were looking forward to Housing Day and to meeting all of the upper-class students, tutors, staff, and faculty deans who were excited to welcome them to their new home. We will find a way to celebrate this tradition in another way. 

I appreciate your efforts to adhere to the health guidance provided by health experts for our campus, our larger community of Cambridge, and the world. I know in the coming days and weeks we will feel a range of emotions, have more questions to answer, and that we will continue to find ways to come together as a community. 

Warmly,

Dean Khurana

Message to Faculty on Support for Aided Students - 3/11/2020

3/11/2020

Dear colleagues,

In the spirit of over-communication, we wanted to share this message that was sent yesterday afternoon by Jake Kaufmann, Griffin Director of Financial Aid to all undergraduate recipients of financial aid.  

Warmly,

Rakesh

Dear members of the faculty,

We know that you are concerned about your students as they process the University directive to return home. In the spirit of over-communication, we wanted to share this message that we sent yesterday afternoon to all undergraduate recipients of financial aid. We will continue to update them as we receive information. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out.

Sincerely,
Jake Kaufmann
Griffin Director of Financial Aid


Dear Students,

As we all navigate the impacts of the University directive to de-densify our campus, we want to assure you that the Griffin Financial Aid Office is here to help.

If you need assistance to buy a plane/train/bus ticket, please contact us at 617-495-1581 or email faoinfo@fas.harvard.edu. We will work with each student individually to ensure that you can safely and affordably travel home.

If you are not able to return home for whatever reason, please contact your Resident Dean (Allston Burr Resident Deans for students in the Houses, Resident Deans of First-Year Students for first-year students in the Yards.) 

We appreciate your understanding as we coordinate with University departments to answer questions related to room and board, student work, and how they will affect students receiving financial aid. We will let you know about any specific guidance and policies as soon as we can.

Until then, please continue to refer to the FAQs on the DSO website for our latest updates. 

At this time, your health and safety is our highest priority. Do not hesitate to email us at faoinfo@fas.harvard.edu, call 617-495-1581, or stop by the Griffin Financial Aid Office at 86 Brattle Street.

Sincerely,

Jake Kaufmann
Griffin Director of Financial Aid

An Important Message from Harvard College - 3/10/2020

3/10/2020

Dear Harvard College Students, 

I am writing to follow up on President Bacow’s email about Harvard’s response to the current challenges posed by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Although no one on our campus has been diagnosed with the virus, the University has a responsibility to take proactive measures in order to protect the health and well-being of every member of our community. That is why we are announcing today that Harvard College students will be required to move out of their Houses and First-Year dorms as soon as possible and no later than Sunday, March 15 at 5:00pm. 

We realize that leaving campus at short notice will be challenging for some of you. If your home is in a country designated level 3 for COVID-19, or if your home is in a country subject to the federal government’s travel ban, you should consult with your resident dean as soon as possible for further information. If you have other concerns about leaving campus, you should also consult your resident dean as soon as possible. We have posted a list of important FAQs (e.g. moving out, storage, financial support, etc.), which we have also shared with parents and families.

We are committed to ensuring that you will all be able to finish your spring term courses, and that you will remain on track to graduation. We are working with faculty to make sure that all courses will be offered remotely, and you will receive specific information about how to access them. If you have questions about specific courses, please be in touch with your instructors.
 
In making this difficult decision, we have been guided by our commitment to the health of our community and by our responsibilities to the larger community. We have been fortunate to be able to draw on the wisdom of professionals in the Harvard community who have devoted their careers to responding to health emergencies. Public health experts have advised us that the best way to delay the virus transmission and to contain any breakout is to decrease the number of people on our campus. They believe that taking these actions will make it easier to maintain social distance and slow virus transmission. 

I do not take lightly the apprehension and disappointment you will experience with this news. In the coming days our faculty and staff will be working diligently to implement plans to best support you during this transition. As you deal with the uncertainty of these unexpected challenges, I hope you will be gentle and respectful with others and with yourselves so that we can meet these challenges in ways that will reflect the College at its best.  

Though circumstances will require us to physically distance ourselves from each other, we are going to be innovative in finding ways to continue to engage as a community and to draw strength from one another. I have seen us come together and support each other with compassion during difficult times, and I am confident that we will do so now as we meet this new challenge.

Warmly,

Rakesh Khurana
Danoff Dean of Harvard College

Messages from Harvard College Admissions & Financial Aid

Financial Aid Update - 3/23/2020

3/23/2020

Greetings from the Griffin Financial Aid Office. On Wednesday, you received an email from the College about the prorating of room and board charges and that no changes would be made to financial aid packages regarding room and board. You may be relieved to know that this means that students may be eligible for a refund from their college student account to help support the cost of living at home. Please visit our updated FAQs regarding the latest developments, how and when to request a refund, as well as the other ways the College is supporting students during this unprecedented time.

While our financial aid officers are working extremely hard to review and reflect these reimbursements and make the adjustments to almost 4,000 financial aid awards, we appreciate your patience as this will take some time – perhaps several weeks. We are trying to work on the most pressing refunds first to ensure that students with urgent financial need can get what they need to continue their studies.

While our physical office space is now closed and our staff are all working remotely, please rest assured that we are here to help. At the moment, we are unable to take incoming phone calls on our main line, but we are responding quickly to email and a financial aid officer can call you back if that’s easier for you. Just email the office (faoinfo@fas.harvard.edu) and we’ll be in touch as quickly as possible. Thank you for your patience as we are all learning to work and live under new circumstances.

Sincerely,

Jake Kaufmann
Griffin Director of Financial Aid

 
 

Reimbursements for Travel Costs and Other FAQs - 3/12/2020

3/12/2020

I'm writing to thank you for your patience and understanding as we navigate the effects of the COVID-19 emergency planning together. In the past two days since we all received the news from University leadership about moving students off campus, the Griffin Financial Aid Office has taken hundreds of your emails, phone calls, and walk-ins. We are fully committed to supporting you and your family during this emergency transition and beyond.

The Faculty of Arts and Sciences has approved additional emergency financial aid funding for extraordinary expenses incurred by aided students due to the requirement to depart from campus early. The immediate concern is to help all students depart campus and resources have been deployed by the DSO and Campus Services to ensure that students without money immediately available can buy tickets and store or ship belongings.

All students receiving financial aid will be eligible for reimbursement of their travel costs home. Students with a $0 parent contribution will be fully reimbursed and all other aided students will be reimbursed up to $750 depending on their level of aid. Exceptions beyond $750 will be granted for aided students on a case-by-case basis. We will be in touch with you about the process for requesting a reimbursement as soon as possible.

We know there are still many more open-ended questions and we are working around the clock with FAS and University officials to get you answers. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions. You can also find this information on the Dean of Students Office website.

What should I do if I cannot afford a plane, bus or train ticket?

Our priority is getting you home quickly and safely. For students who need assistance arranging travel, College staff will be stationed in all dining hall locations to help you book travel. Check dso.college.harvard.edu/coronavirus for updated locations and times. All charges incurred will be applied to your term bill. All students receiving financial aid will be eligible for reimbursement of their travel costs home. 

Who should I contact if I don't have a place to go or don't want to leave?

Please contact your Resident Dean (Allston Burr Resident Deans for students in the Houses, Resident Deans of First-Year Students for first-year students in the Yards.)

What happens if I cannot work to pay my term and summer time contributions?

We are seeking guidance about this issue, particularly as regards term-time earnings. We will update you as soon as we have more information and we appreciate your patience. With our recent expansion of financial aid, students are no longer expected to contribute from their summer earnings, which applies to this upcoming summer 2020.

Will my Pell Grant be affected?

The Department of Education released emergency guidelines regarding the use of federal financial aid funds. As long as students are enrolled and working towards their degree, Pell and SEOG funding will not be impacted.

If you have any further questions, we encourage you to email, call, or visit our office at 86 Brattle Street. In addition, please continue to visit the Harvard College FAQ's for a complete list of resources. 

Sincerely,

Jake Kaufmann
Griffin Director of Financial Aid

We're Here to Help - 3/11/2020

3/11/2020

As we all navigate the impacts of the University directive to de-densify our campus, we want to assure you that the Griffin Financial Aid Office is here to help.

If you need assistance to buy a plane/train/bus ticket, please contact us at 617-495-1581 or email faoinfo@fas.harvard.edu. We will work with each student individually to ensure that you can safely and affordably travel home.

If you are not able to return home for whatever reason, please contact your Resident Dean (Allston Burr Resident Deans for students in the Houses, Resident Deans of First-Year Students for first-year students in the Yards.) 

We appreciate your understanding as we coordinate with University departments to answer questions related to room and board, student work, and how they will affect students receiving financial aid. We will let you know about any specific guidance and policies as soon as we can.

Until then, please continue to refer to the FAQs on the DSO website for our latest updates. 

At this time, your health and safety is our highest priority. Do not hesitate to email us at faoinfo@fas.harvard.edu, call 617-495-1581, or stop by the Griffin Financial Aid Office at 86 Brattle Street.

Sincerely,

Jake Kaufmann
Griffin Director of Financial Aid

Harvard College Information Sessions and Campus Tours - 3/11/2020

3/11/2020

We have been closely monitoring the outbreak of COVID-19 and preparing to do our part to keep our community and our visitors healthy and safe. Therefore, it is out of an abundance of caution that we have decided to close our Visitor Center and suspend information sessions and campus tours through May 2020.

We know this must come as a disappointment to you, and we hope to welcome you to our campus at a later date. In the meantime, we wouldlike to offer you an online version of our information session that you can watch on your own time. The link for this video will be emailed to you in the coming weeks. In it, you will find details about our liberal arts and sciences offerings, our unique residential experience, and our exceptional financial aid program.

We also encourage you to take our interactive virtual tour, which takes you through many buildings around campus (in fact, even more than are covered during our in-person tour). In it, you can explore residence halls, libraries, laboratories, dining halls, and more.

If you have further questions about Harvard, you can connect with a current student over email by filling out this form. Our students will be happy to answer your questions and share their experience. Again, we sincerely apologize for the disruption that this change may cause you. It is only out of respect for your health and wellness, and that of the greater Harvard community, that we have come to these measures. For more information about Harvard’s response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, please visit harvard.edu/coronavirus. If you have any questions, you can contact the Admissions Office at 617-495-1551 or at college@fas.harvard.edu.

We look forward to welcoming you to Cambridge, Massachusetts soon!

Sincerely,
Anne De Luca
Harvard College Admissions & Financial Aid

Harvard"s Response to COVID-19 - 3/10/2020

3/10/2020

Dear Alumni Interviewers,

We are writing to provide some updates from Cambridge in light of the rapid spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). As you may have heard, Harvard is transitioning to virtual instruction for the remainder of the spring term and all students are being asked to move out of their dorm rooms by Sunday, March 15th. Our top priority is the health and wellness of our campus community, and we are working hard to support our current students as well as making plans to welcome the Class of 2024. With that in mind, we will share President Bacow’s community update, our preliminary thoughts regarding “Virtual Visitas,” and important guidance pertaining to local admitted students receptions.

University Wide Update

President Bacow wrote to the Harvard community this morning to inform us that Harvard University will be transitioning to virtual instruction for undergraduate and graduate classes with the goal of completing the transition by Monday, March 23, the first day of scheduled classes following Spring Recess. In addition, undergraduate students are being asked not to return to campus after Spring Recess and to meet academic requirements remotely until further notice.

Impact on Financial Aid

This update, of course, brings lots of questions to our students and community and Harvard officials are working as quickly as possible to help students during this time of unexpected change. The Griffin Financial Aid Office is working closely with all students, especially international students, who receive aid to ensure that they can travel home safely and affordably. As you can imagine, there are many implications regarding tuition, room and board, student work, etc. and our staff are coordinating with finance and administration to ensure that we support all students. We are encouraging students to contact our office via email at faoinfo@fas.harvard.edu, phone at 617-495-1581, or in person at 86 Brattle Street.

Students who are not able to return home may request to stay on campus through their Resident Dean and the https://dso.college.harvard.edu/home. Students and alumni may also wish to review this FAQ sheet from the Dean of Students Office for further information.

Impact on Admissions

As it relates to the Admissions Office, we have already informed our admitted students that Visitas will be held virtually this year. Here is Dean Fitzsimmons’ recent announcement to students who were accepted to the Class of 2024 through the Early Action round:

We are in the midst of assembling an exciting series of online events for a Virtual Visitas that will allow you to explore all that Harvard has to offer. Rather than be confined to three days, these videos and sessions will be available to all admitted students throughout the month of April. Please refer to the Visitas page on the Admitted Students Website for the most up-to-date information about our schedule.

As planning continues for our Virtual Visitas, we are looking into ways to bring this experience to our alumni interviewers. We will share more information about this opportunity as Virtual Vistas develops.

Impact on Alumni Interviewers

Alumni efforts to congratulate admitted students and welcome them to the Harvard family are an important tradition. That outreach is also one of our most effective tools in helping students to choose Harvard. The exceptional conditions associated with the Coronavirus require us to take a different approach this year, calling on both our caution and
creativity.

With the University’s decision in mind, we ask you not to host or facilitate gatherings of admitted students. A number of clubs have already made independent decisions to forgo their customary hospitality, and that is the approach we ask all clubs to adopt.

Phone calls, emails and virtual communications will have to take priority this year, and we hope you will brainstorm with us ways to welcome the Class of 2024 to Harvard.

Work Continues for Regular Decision

The admissions cycle for the Class of 2024 is still progressing as planned. This Harvard Gazette article offers information regarding the 2024 pool, as well as a recent update to our financial aid program. We expect to notify students of their admission decisions on Thursday, March 26th.

These unusual circumstances call for great sensitivity and creativity as we work to support our current and prospective students. As such, your patience and flexibility is not lost on us. We are so grateful for your hard work and support as we continue to recruit outstanding students to the Harvard Class of 2024.

Sincerely,
Maeve Hoffstot
Harvard College Admissions & Financial Aid

Messages from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

GSAS to launch DGS Digest - 4/2/2020

4/2/2020

Dear Directors of Graduate Studies,
 
As directors of graduate studies, you are a critical link between GSAS and your graduate program. We rely on you to ensure that both your students and your faculty colleagues are aware of the important information and guidance needed for graduate students to successfully navigate their academic careers. We also rely on you to look to the health and well-being of students and to provide GSAS with the feedback necessary for us to support our students.
 
To help keep you informed, we are launching a new, weekly email titled the DGS Digest. In the DGS Digest, you will find updates to policies; answers to question you, your faculty, and students may have; requests for feedback; and more. Our intention is to provide you with information you can share with students and faculty and give you a mechanism for providing feedback to GSAS.
 
I recognize that many of you are based in large departments and that communicating with students and faculty may be more difficult in these virtual times. However, I cannot stress enough how central your role is to our support of students. That’s one of the reasons we are including a mechanism for sharing feedback in the DGS Digest: if you have a question about how to undertake communication or have a best practice to share, we want to hear about it.
 
In this time of uncertainty, the one thing I am certain of is that we won’t have all the answers, at least not immediately. But all of us are working hard to support you and our students. I am tremendously grateful for your partnership, now and ever.
 
Watch for the first issue of the DGS Digest, which will arrive on Friday.
 
With all best wishes,
Emma
 
Emma Dench
Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
McLean Professor of Ancient and Modern History and of the Classics

Writing Support for GSAS Students - 4/1/2020

4/1/2020

Dear GSAS students,
 
Academic writing can be a struggle, even under ideal circumstances. The difficulty has only been exacerbated in this unprecedented climate, but please know that you are not alone in facing these challenges. To help you navigate this unique moment, the Center for Writing and Communicating Ideas (CWCI) is preparing for the launch of virtual writing oasis, open to all GSAS students. These small groups are designed to help with accountability and productivity, as well as to provide peer support and social connection as you write during this unusual time.
 
A virtual writing oasis may:

  • connect you with peers who are committed to writing without distraction during designated blocks of time;
  • ensure that you dedicate set times both to writing and critical break periods;
  • foster a sense of accountability as you articulate and work toward clear goals, and allow you to exchange the drafts that you produce for feedback, if desired;
  • create a forum where you can chat with peers and/or a group facilitator to share struggles and offer strategies; and
  • give you the opportunity to check in with people and provide structure to your workday.
  • Ultimately, you will be able jointly to design these flexible, virtual writing groups to meet your needs. You can also explore creative ways to make them fun and engaging – for example, by swapping recipes or sharing writing playlists with your fellow students during break times. 

If you are interested in participating in the virtual writing oasis program, please complete this brief survey by April 8, 2020. Your responses do not entail a formal commitment to participate. They will, however, provide invaluable information as we move from the idea stage to (virtual) reality.
 
CWCI continues to offer one-on-one writing consultations remotely. Visit the CWCI website and follow the instructions noted in How Do I Make an Appointment?
 
With all best wishes,
 
Emma Dench
Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
McLean Professor of Ancient and Modern History and of the Classics
 
PS: For information about other virtual activities being offered by GSAS offices, including the Academic Resource Center and the GSAS Student Center, visit Engage

Follow-up on Commencement Announcement - 3/20/2020

3/20/2020

Dear GSAS Students,

By now, you will have received President Bacow’s message to the Harvard community regarding the postponement of an in-person Commencement this year. I know this will be disappointing news for students who intend to graduate this year and for the communities that support them; all of us at GSAS are taking this equally hard. Commencement is the highlight of the year, when we celebrate your remarkable accomplishments as students and see you transition to alumni.

While the physical ceremony itself is postponed, GSAS is planning a virtual degree-granting ceremony to follow the University’s online celebration. We know how important it is to mark this milestone, and we are thinking about how we can make a virtual program feel special and celebratory. GSAS will be in touch with details as they are finalized. You can also visit GSAS’s Commencement website for updated information.

It is indeed extraordinary to postpone Commencement in this way, but we are living through an extraordinary time. Rest assured, GSAS will do all it can to mark your achievements and recognize your hard work.

With all best wishes, 

Emma Dench
Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
McLean Professor of Ancient and Modern History and of the Classics
 

Emergency Academic Policy Change - 3/19/2020

3/19/2020

Dear Directors of Graduate Study, 

Thanks to the overwhelming support of the Graduate Policy Committee and FAS Dean Claudine Gay, an emergency policy has been approved that will allow GSAS students to petition to take courses SAT/UNSAT for spring 2020 only, with the approval of the instructor and the student’s home program. This allows students, instructors, and programs greater flexibility in accommodating individual circumstances and will relieve some of the pressure our students are feeling at the moment.
 
Students wishing to petition would be required to obtain email approval from the faculty member and then forward that email to the department. The department, if they approve, would then forward the email to the Registrar’s Office (enrollment@fas.harvard.edu), which will process the change.
 
Please feel free to be in touch with any questions you may have.
 
With sincere gratitude for everything you are doing to support our students at this very difficult time,

Emma Dench
Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
McLean Professor of Ancient and Modern History and of the Classics

Financial Guidance Regarding Graduate Student Work -3/18/2020

3/18/2020

Dear GSAS Students,

As the full impact of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic has become clearer, GSAS has received questions from students and faculty regarding compensation for graduate students. I wanted to share guidance I’ve received from the University regarding graduate student work for the spring 2020 semester:

“The University continues to evaluate the shifting administrative landscape during the coronavirus pandemic. Graduate student work, as part of that landscape, is an essential driver of the University’s mission. Where possible, the University expectation is that the work that graduate students are compensated for should continue. If work assignments are not possible to complete using online or distance learning technologies, supervisors are encouraged to find other opportunities for graduate student workers to complete their work commitments, including shifting jobs and job descriptions to alternate assignments in order to fulfill their employment obligations. If this is not possible, graduate student workers who are unable to work due to the pandemic will still be compensated to the end of work expectation within the spring 2020 semester.”

I hope that this helps alleviate any concerns you may have. If you have any questions, I encourage you to reach out to your local supervisor and/or employing department.

With all best wishes,

Emma Dench
Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
McLean Professor of Ancient and Modern History and of the Classics

Update on Harvard Library - 3/16/2020

3/16/2020

Dear GSAS Students,

As you know, the Harvard Library announced the closure of multiple locations last Friday. In keeping with Harvard’s continued safety measures related to the Coronavirus Disease, the Library has announced the closure of additional locations and that the borrowing of physical materials has been suspended until further notice. This affects library locations at FAS, GSD, HDS, HGSE, HLS, HMS, and HKS. Those using HBS libraries should check the HBS website for updated information, and you can find more details on each library's website. The Harvard Library’s Coronavirus page contains more information as well as options to connect online.

I know that many of you rely on library access for your research, especially those finishing up dissertations, and you may have concerns about how the Library’s closure—and, indeed, other changes that affect research activities—will impact your academic progress. GSAS is reviewing existing academic policies and considering longer-term issues that may arise, given the extraordinary circumstances. I will be in touch with an update as guidance becomes available.

With all best wishes,

Emma Dench
Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
McLean Professor of Ancient and Modern History and of the Classics

HUHS Guidance on Potential Exposure Concerns - 3/15/2020

3/15/2020

Dear GSAS Students,

I wanted to follow up on the message you received earlier today from Dr. Giang T. Nguyen, executive director of Harvard University Health Services (HUHS). Many on campus are understandably concerned about possible exposure, so I want to highlight what Dr. Nguyen stated:

“Any persons who have had close contact with the individuals in question have been notified by the Department of Public Health in accordance with standard public health principles. If you have not been notified, then you are not deemed to have an increased risk because of exposure to these individuals.”

If you haven’t yet reviewed the message, I encourage you to do so to inform yourself, particularly the self-isolation evaluation guidance in the message’s second bullet.

Managing fear and anxiety at this time is important, and HUHS has prepared a fact sheet of information and resources that may help. Please take good care of yourselves.

With all best wishes,

Emma Dench
Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
McLean Professor of Ancient and Modern History and of the Classics
 

COVID-19 and Library Access - 3/14/2020

3/14/2020

Dear GSAS Students,

I’ve just learned that, as part of Harvard’s efforts to minimize the number of people gathering in close proximity and the need to consider the health and well-being of staff and students, the Harvard Library has closed all locations, except for Widener and Lamont libraries, which will be open tomorrow, March 14. If you access Harvard Library locations, I urge you to read the Library’s announcement to evaluate how this will impact your research.

Virtual services and resources will be available as usual, as well as a service for picking up books, and librarians continue to provide chat, reference and consultations through online venues.

For those of you who are teaching, the library has provided Resources for Remote Teaching.

I know that the closing of the libraries may contribute to anxiety about your research progress or preparation for generals. I hope that the virtual resources and online engagement will be of some help as you continue your scholarly engagement during these trying times.

With all best wishes,

Emma Dench
Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
McLean Professor of Ancient and Modern History and of the Classics

GSAS Coronavirus (COVID-19) March 13 Update - 3/13/2020

3/13/2020

Dear GSAS Students,

Yesterday, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences announced a remote work pilot scheduled for next week, which is aimed at testing how remote work will function for staff. Other Schools have announced similar plans. This will give us the opportunity to identify issues and questions, gaps in resources, unanticipated interdependencies, and other barriers to consistent remote work should we need to extend the pilot.

While the GSAS physical offices and the GSAS Student Center will be closed next week, GSAS IS NOT CLOSED. All staff will be available to meet with you virtually, either over phone or via Zoom, should you need to. Please reach out as normal or if you do not have contact details, please visit the GSAS contact page for more information.

GSAS has continued to update information on the GSAS Coronavirus site, most recently adding a section on fellowships and information on dissertations to the academic section. Please continue to review this page as necessary and follow updates on the Harvard Coronavirus page, which recently updated information on transportation and visitor guidance.

Finally—and most importantly—I want to encourage you to take care of yourselves and one another. The stress and anxiety around this situation can get the better of any of us. Remember that Harvard Counseling and Mental Health Services is available to help.

With all best wishes,
 
Emma Dench
Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
McLean Professor of Ancient and Modern History and of the Classics

FAS Guidance on Laboratory Research Activities - 3/12/2020

Dear GSAS Students,
 
I wanted to share the message below, which went to the FAS community earlier today. In it, FAS leadership outlines guidance regarding scholarly activities in FAS laboratories. If you are a research assistant based in an FAS lab, I encourage you to read this message carefully and consult with your PI on next steps.

If you are a research assistant in a lab based at another Harvard School, you should receive information directly from that School.

Please know that GSAS is here to support you. Reach out to your program's director of graduate studies or to GSAS directly if you have questions.

With all best wishes,

Emma Dench
Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
McLean Professor of Ancient and Modern History and of the Classics

Dear Colleagues,
 
Following today’s message about piloting remote work in FAS next week, we are writing about what this will mean specifically for our scholarly activities. Efforts to de-densify our campus bring particular complications in laboratory and other collaborative settings, and academic leaders across the University have been exploring strategies to incorporate public health practices like social distancing into our research environment. While we recognize the challenges, we also believe that we must shift work habits to significantly reduce the number of physical interactions amongst our graduate students, postdocs, faculty and staff. Accordingly, we request your help in developing a rapid strategy to move to remote work for our scholarly activities. We are taking this action in close coordination with other Harvard schools.
 
Each Principal Investigator or group leader of a laboratory research program (experimental, computational, or otherwise) will be responsible for the coordination of a strategy to ramp-down laboratory research activities by Wednesday March 18th, with the expectation that such a period of  suspended lab access will likely last at least six to eight weeks. We will revisit that time frame on a regular basis as more information on the trajectory of disease transmission becomes available, and we will update you if this estimate changes. Please be prepared to implement your plans starting Monday, March 16.
 
We are mandating that all group meetings, courses, and scientific convocations be conducted virtually, per the FAS and University guidance. To minimize community interactions, we ask that each lab identify at most 2-3 key individuals, in discussion with the department chair, to manage issues such as animal husbandry or essential experiments—those that if discontinued would generate significant financial and data loss.
 
Scholars whose research does not entail laboratory work should comply with the spirit of limiting campus presence to essential personnel during the week of Spring Break (March 16-22), while making contingency plans for a more extended period of reduced access to campus.
 
We understand your research is critically important, and during this period we urge you to devote your time to productive alternatives, such as writing grant proposals, reviewing articles and papers, writing thesis chapters, conducting analyses, compiling data and/or synthesizing important research. This is a good opportunity to reflect, and to work on books and research papers. We ask research group leaders to identify contributions that individuals in their group can make while working remotely.
 
We expect to sustain access to FAS Research Computing resources during this time.
 
We appreciate that this is a disruption to the life to which we are accustomed. We are facing an unprecedented challenge and must all do our part to “flatten the curve” to protect our community, and lessen predictable pressures on our public health infrastructure. This is our chance for Harvard to act decisively, rise to the occasion, and protect our community. Thank you for taking on this challenge as you have so many other hard problems—with creativity, innovation, and a commitment to the common good.
 
Sincerely,
 
Claudine Gay
Frank Doyle
Emma Dench
Chris Stubbs
Lawrence Bobo
Robin Kelsey

GSAS Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information - 3/12/2020

3/12/2020

Dear GSAS Students,

Since my last email, GSAS has been hard at work developing a dedicated web page to address questions about the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) outbreak. On this page, you will find answers to questions you may have about academic and financial concerns, health care, teaching, and more. At the bottom of the page, you will also find links to past student messages, if you need to refer to them.

This is not an exhaustive list of questions and answers, rather a living document that we will continually update as we identify additional information to communicate to students. I encourage you to review the site and bookmark it for future reference.

As I said in my last message, this is a time of considerable uncertainty and anxiety for us all. Remember that Harvard Counseling and Mental Health Services is available to help. Please do continue to monitor University communications and visit Harvard’s Coronavirus web page for more information.

With all best wishes,

Emma Dench
Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
McLean Professor of Ancient and Modern History and of the Classics

Important update on Coronavirus (COVID-19) - 3/10/2020

3/10/2020

Dear GSAS Students,

I hope you’ve had the chance to read President Bacow’s message about remote teaching and reducing the on-campus residential population, which is aimed at reducing risk of Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) transmission. GSAS students are engaged in research and teaching throughout the University and around the world, meaning that we cannot take a one-size-fits-all approach to developing protocols. I would like to provide the following high-level guidance that I hope will begin to answer some of the questions you may have. Because this is an evolving situation, please keep a close eye on your inbox, as we will continue to provide GSAS-specific updates.

Teaching Fellows
As President Bacow’s message notes, instructional staff are required to conduct classes, sections, and office hours remotely. Harvard offers Zoom for this purpose, and the Canvas site for every FAS course is enabled to use Zoom for remote teaching. If you have not already, I encourage you to sign up for a Zoom account and complete Zoom training as soon as possible. If you are teaching outside the FAS, please review information on instructional tools distributed at the local level.

Research and Academic Activity
As you read in President Bacow’s email, Harvard’s assumption is that all students will transition to remote academic and research activity to the greatest extent possible. This includes dissertation defenses, qualifying exams, and general exams. GSAS is working with our partners across the University to develop guidelines for lab research. You will continue to receive updates on this from GSAS; you should also review communications from the School/hospital your lab is based in.

Students Living in Residence Halls
As a way of lowering risk, Harvard is working to reduce the number of students living in residence halls.

  • Those in the GSAS Residence Halls who have an alternate off-campus place to stay should move out of the halls. For those who do not, Harvard may require that you move to another campus residence to minimize the population density in locations across campus. More details are forthcoming from the Office of Residential Life.
  • Those graduate students who are proctors and resident tutors in undergraduate housing will not be asked to move.
  • Those graduate students living in residence halls at our partner Schools should follow guidance from the local School dean.

I know that this is a time of considerable uncertainty and anxiety, and we are committed to do all we can to safeguard the well-being of our entire community. Remember that Harvard Counseling and Mental Health Services is available to help you manage anxiety and stress. Please do continue to monitor University communications and visit Harvard’s Coronavirus web page for more information.

With all best wishes,

Emma Dench
Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
McLean Professor of Ancient and Modern History and of the Classics

Messages from the Division of Continuing Education

Harvard Extension, Message to Students - 3/10/2020

3/10/2020

Dear Harvard Extension School Students,

We write with NEW information involving COVID-19 and all Harvard Extension School spring courses.

Per University President Larry Bacow’s message from earlier today, all spring courses as of Monday, March 23 will be moved to a virtual format. Weekend and on campus classes prior to this date will be held as scheduled. To clarify, no classes, labs, section meetings, exams, and official Harvard Extension School student groups will not be held on campus after Sunday, March 22.
The decision was not made lightly, but we believe this is the best course of action to minimize the spread of the virus. 

Changes to Course Formats. If you are unsure what format your course if offered in, it is designated on the HES course search. Just choose your course and the format description will appear. 

If you are registered in one of the following formats your courses will continue to be offered online as scheduled– no change:

  • Online course
  • Online thesis and precapstone tutorials
  • Online (live) web conference
  • Online (live or on-demand) web conference

If you are registered in one of the following formats your instructor will communicate you directly regarding the virtual course plan for courses with on-campus weekends meetings after March 23:

  • Active Learning Weekend
  • Online with Required On-campus Weekend (that has not met on campus yet)

If you are registered in a course listed as “On Campus or Online” you will not meet on campus but will likely meet over Zoom and it will be recorded. You'll find both your Zoom links and recordings in their usual place on Canvas under the "Class Meetings" link.

Changes will be to format only, not to the meeting schedule. We ask that you hold off on contacting your instructors this week as they need time to devise their new course designs. 

SPECIFICS

Learn Zoom Now. It is likely that web conference may be the instructional delivery mode for most courses moving from on campus to online; therefore, we recommend that if you don’t already use the web-conferencing platform Zoom that you become familiar with Zoom and review our guidelines for using this platform.  Also view Zoom help video or attend a training.

Technical Help. Online Support (Technical Questions and Computer/Software Troubleshooting). 617-998-8571 Monday–Thursday, 10 am–11 pm; Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, 10 am–8 pm or e-mail academicTechnology@dce.harvard.edu.

Residency Requirements. Any spring course that was schedule to fulfill the residency requirement for our degree programs will continue to fulfill the residency for all students who complete the course for the required grade. It is unlikely that residency requirements will ever be waived again. You should not consider this current waiver as a precedent setting decision. The residency requirement is critical to our ability to offer quality degree programs at Harvard and, after this term, we will continue to require all students to come to campus to meet these requirements.   

Refunds. If you determine that you cannot complete your course in the new format you can submit an appeal through the Financial and Registration Committee to drop the course for a tuition refund (tuition only; HES cannot reimburse for lodging, travel, or other course-related expenses). The deadline for filing a refund appeal April 24. Each student's appeal will be reviewed individually and a decision will be made based on each student's statement, supporting documentation, and the merits of the case.
Withdrawals. The spring withdrawal deadline, April 24, as well as our regular withdrawal academic standing policy has not changed. (Note: Active Learning Weekends have different withdrawal deadlines, check the individual course descriptions). 

Harvard Summer School. As of today, we are planning to run courses as scheduled, with the exception of Study Abroad.  Decisions about Study Abroad will be made by early April.
We ask you to visit Harvard’s new coronavirus website for the latest guidance and resources because the ramifications of the spread of coronavirus/COVID-19 are changing daily.
Your education is paramount to us. The staff is working around the clock to continue to offer you the highest quality academic experience. Moving 100+ courses to an online format will require the entire HES community to be patient, understanding, and flexible. I thank you in advance for your cooperation as we navigate, to the best of our ability, this challenging and unprecedented global public health event. 

Sincerely, 

Henry Leitner
Interim Dean,
Harvard Division of Continuing Education 
and University Extension 

Harvard Extension, Message to Staff - 3/10/2020

3/10/2020

Dear DCE colleagues,
 
I wanted to share the steps we are taking to ensure your safety and the safety of our students and faculty as we deal with the emerging coronavirus/COVID-19 situation. As most of you know, the conditions and restrictions around the coronavirus/COVID-19 are rapidly evolving and information about decisions is being distributed as quickly as possible. Please know that the health and well-being of our staff is of utmost importance to me and the senior leaders.
 
You may have already seen President Bacow’s message from earlier today announcing that all courses will be moved to a virtual online format beginning March 23, with no on-campus classes meeting until further notice. This decision was made to “de-densify” the on-campus populations that currently live closely together in-residence, and hopefully minimize the risk of spreading the virus.  Likewise,non-essential gatherings are limited to no more than 25 people. 
 
As of the time of this writing, there is no University-wide directive mandating a remote work from home policy for staff. However, DCE’s Executive Council is closely watching the situation and monitoring guidance from the CDC and the University. With the help of key staff and departments, we are developing worst-case scenario contingency plans.  In the unlikely event the situation reaches a level which makes it impractical or unsafe for staff to come in to work, senior leaders are looking at various options, including the ability to work from home. To this end, we are exploring resources and critical needs that ensure we can continue to function as an educational institution, and at the same time protect the health and safety of our staff.
 
Managers are working with their department’s senior leaders to determine where additional resources are needed to ensure a smooth transition to a work at home plan should that become necessary.  Please speak to your manager if you have any concerns about this.  Additional information will be made available as soon as a plan is determined.  Hopefully, we will not need to implement a work-from-home plan for staff.
 
We are following the guidance of the University’s meeting guidelines for this situation and postponing or cancelling large gatherings of more than 25 people. The DCE Town Hall planned for March 11 and the Dean’s Appreciation Event planned for April 3 have already been postponed until further notice.Rest assured that once the situation has improved, we will reschedule these activities. 
 
We also know that some of you have plans to attend conferences in the upcoming weeks. The UPCEA conference, planned for the week of March 16 in Boston (for which we were the local host university), has already been postponed until the summer. The University has also prohibited non-essential air travel and has urged staff to use extreme caution for person travel within the U.S. With that guidance, we believe it is best that any planned attendance at conferences be cancelled or postponed, for now.
 
I understand that these unexpected changes and the fluidity of the situations can create difficult decisions for many of you. I understand that many of you may find yourself feeling overwhelmed during this time. I want to remind you of the Harvard Employee Assistance Program. I encourage you to speak with your manager or Tracie Cole, Senior HR Coordinator, if you need additional support or are unsure of what to do regarding the coronavirus/COVID-19 situation.  
 
Cleaning staff are using disinfectant solutions during the regular daily cleaning of all restrooms including sinks, faucets, toilets, dispensers, etc. as well as throughout the buildings, entrance lobbies, on all doors, door handles, knobs, railings, elevator buttons and panels, and other commonly touched areas. 
 
Facilities has placed a large order of additional Purell due to arrive within the next week. Lysol wipes are available in Facilities at 51 Brattle and in the 3rd floor supply room at 1100 Mass Ave. Reach out to facilities if you need supplies restocked.   
 
I want to take a moment to thank and acknowledge the advance contingency work being done by the staff of the Registrar’s Office, Summer School, HES, Enrollment Services, Teaching & Learning, as well as Administrative Dean Mahoney to ensure we are prepared no matter what happens to keep staff, students, and faculty safe and to allow us to continue to achieve our mission and serve students.
 
At times it can be difficult to process how quickly this situation is changing. I encourage you to stay abreast of updates, and to focus on the actions that can help to keep us healthy.  Here are some resources:
 
•    Harvard University’s coronavirus/COVID-19 webpage
•    CDC’s guidelines for avoiding viral illness
•    HUHS Guidelines for avoiding viral illness
•    Harvard University Coronavirus Workplace Policies
 
As Dean Gay said in her message to the faculty, “I want to acknowledge that this is a lot to take on. It can be overwhelming, frustrating, and anxiety-producing to have to shift gears so dramatically in the middle of the semester, and finding a way to be creative in a situation of considerable pressure is difficult to say the least. I want you to know that you have a community of people ready to support you in this, and that includes me. This is hard stuff, and no one is in this alone.”

We have also created two pages dedicated to DCE-specific information on Confluence.  They are located on the LEMT (Local Emergency Management Team) page. The first is DCE Coronavirus/COVID-19 Communications Page which will host current status information and past correspondence regarding policies and decisions around courses and staff related to the virus. The second page is DCE Staff Preparedness, which contains links and information of use to staff who may need to work from home or who want to explore alternative meeting platforms.

These pages will be kept up to date. Please check them frequently.
 
If there are members of our community who you think may not have received this message, you are encouraged to share it with them.
 
We understand there are a lot of questions about this situation and for some of them we may not have answers just yet.  I will continue to update you via email and on our Confluence pages as new information or plans are put in place.  
 
Please take care of yourselves as we all navigate this difficult time together.
 
Sincerely, 
 
Henry Leitner
Interim Dean,
Harvard Division of Continuing Education
and University Extension
 

Message to HILR Community - 3/10/2020

3/10/2020

Dear HILR Community,
 
President Bacow has just issued a major announcement about the University’s COVID 19 plan. In a letter sent this morning, he has communicated his decision to transition to virtual instruction only at Harvard starting March 23 (and lasting until further notice). I am following up with to you to communicate the plan for HILR.
 
The health and safety of our community members is our highest concern. Given this virus poses a higher risk for people in the age bracket HILR serves, HILR classes will be suspended starting next Monday, March 16 until further notice. However, some classes will likely meet remotely during this period (with the SGL and all SGMs participating from their homes, using Zoom’s web conferencing platform integrated with the Canvas course website).
 
I am sorry that I cannot yet tell you for which classes remote participation will be an option. I communicated with all the Spring 2020 SGLs last Friday on this subject as part of contingency planning, and steps are already underway that are providing many of our SGLs orientation and training in the technology, hence a chance to make an informed decision about whether they will run their class virtually for as long as on-campus classes are suspended. I will write at the end of the week with an update on the question of which classes will meet virtually, and whether those virtual sessions will start next week, or later. I ask your patience in what will be a very busy and challenging week for all staff, SGLs, and SGMs alike.
 
SGLs who expressed interest in training, I ask your patience especially. Steven Cabral has reached out to some of you already. Everyone will receive a reachout before the week is out. Please understand we must roll out training in a staggered fashion. 
 
Clearly there are implications for a number of large events currently scheduled to take place in April and May. It is too soon to conclude definitively whether they will take place or be cancelled.  Again, I ask everyone’s patience. The focus this week will be on getting as many SGLs as possible oriented and trained in the use of a Zoom virtual classroom.
 
I will be in touch with all Committee Chairs by the end of this week as well. If you are a committee member wondering how your work will be impacted, please wait for a communication from your Chair.
 
The Curriculum Committee will continue to assess proposals and communicate with proposers—please don’t let this interruption stop the flow of proposals, as they are the seeds for Fall 2020!
 
Finally, while the suspension of classes and extra-curricular activities at 34 Concord Ave. does not begin until next week, anyone who feels they need to stay home the rest of  this week as well should by all means do so. If you are an SGM, please just drop your SGL an email. If you are an SGL unable to lead your class this week, please be in touch with your SGMs and inform the  HILR Office.
 
I know this a challenging and anxious time for all of you as individuals, as well as for the HILR community. HILR has faced challenges before and risen to the occasion. I know I can count on everyone’s good will and support for one another in this difficult time.
 
Tess
 
Tess O’Toole
Assistant Dean and Director
Harvard Institute for Learning in Retirement
34 Concord Ave
Cambridge MA 02138
617-998-8408

Messages from the Arts & Humanities Division

Re: Keeping the Trains of Thought Running - 3/17/2020

3/17/2020

My Dear A&H Chairs,

The thanks I have extended to all Divisional faculty apply doubly (at least) to you. Your stalwart care for our community and our programs is enabling us to meet a challenge unlike any Harvard has known in our lifetimes, and your colleagues and I deeply appreciate your efforts.

I write with two other conveyances. The first is to reaffirm the message that Dean Claybaugh sent around earlier today about a possible shift to a pass/fail scheme, in which she indicated that EPC will be tackling this issue very soon. In the meantime, you may need to remind some colleagues that Departments cannot adopt such a scheme unilaterally.

The second conveyance is a checklist for Chairs in these extraordinary circumstances. In compiling it, I have cribbed shamelessly from a document that the indomitable Dean Stubbs produced for the Science Division. You may already be doing some of these things, and others may seem inapplicable to your unit, but I thought the list might be helpful to have.

Sustaining an engaged departmental community.

  1. Establish channels for social interaction between groups (staff, faculty, students, postdocs). We need to build tools to combat isolation and sustain a sense of community.
  2. Consider establishing a regular open-door electronic Q&A session for your Department. It’s important that people have an opportunity to talk, to inquire, and even to gripe. If issues arise for which you don’t have an answer, take note and bring them to the attention of Mathilda, Ellen, or me. 
  3. Consider establishing online seminars, talks, and other venues for intellectual interaction and community building. If you have an archive of past talks, colloquia, etc. then it might be worth sending out a reminder and the appropriate link.
  4. Journal clubs, implemented on Zoom, are a way to keep subfields engaged as a community. 
  5. Do your best to ensure that the Department is engaging with community-building for all stakeholders: senior faculty, junior faculty, grad students, undergrads, staff, postdocs, visitors. Each group has individual and group-level concerns. Exercise restraint in making long-term assurances, since impacts are difficult to gauge at this point.
  6. Consider convening a remote departmental meeting this week, to keep your faculty connected. Encourage your departmental administrator to do the same for staff. 

Remote Instruction 

  1. Working with the DGS and the DUS, reach out to the instructor of each course and assess where things stand for preparations for remote instruction. 
  2. Establish connections to pockets of excellence for remote instruction, both within the department and external to the department. 
  3. For multiple reasons, we need to ask colleagues to assist each other with instruction. Many colleagues with young children or elderly parents are struggling to attend to their needs while meeting their teaching obligations. It might help to reaffirm that courses are a departmental responsibility, and tap the full teaching capacity of the faculty to meet our institutional goals. 
  4. We need to make contingency plans in the event members of our faculty fall ill. Planning now for covering courses and supporting the curriculum will ease this downstream. 

Management

  1. Arrange a standing Zoom meeting with your departmental administrative staff. Use the time to just chat with people and learn how they are doing.
  2. Evaluate whether your departmental structure is well-suited to our new reality. Is the advising structure for undergraduates appropriate? Have undergraduate advisors been informed about new (and changing) undergraduate deadlines, etc.? Pay particular attention to how senior undergrads are being mentored. We need to provide accurate, up-to-date information. How is that transmitted from the Office of Undergraduate Education to the people in remote contact with students? 
  3. Do all remote workers have well-defined tasks to carry out, and are they being supported in accomplishing them? It might be necessary to redefine some roles among departmental staff. 
  4. Train people in running meetings on Zoom- mute unless speaking, raise hand electronically, provide an agenda in advance. Distinguish between information distribution (which can be done with mailings) and meetings necessary for decision-making.
  5. Since we don’t have walk-around management any more, establish a task tracking mechanism for organizing our work. Celebrate things getting done, and items checked off the list.

Thanks again, and with all best wishes,

Robin
 

Re: the next phase — 3/17/2020

3/17/2020

Dear A&H Colleagues,

I hope you are keeping your spirits up in this crazy time. 

I am writing to thank you collectively for your good works of this past week, for the many valiant acts that came to my attention and for the many that did not, as well as for the compassionate care you showed our students and staff. You rose to the occasion in ways big and small, and I have never felt more proud of this community and its ethos.

As the restrictions on our activities mount, the next phase of our work will bring new challenges. Already, for faculty with school-age children the closing of schools and daycare facilities is exacerbating the difficulties of working from home. Spring break gives us some time to prepare for remote learning, but faculty and students alike will confront a host of difficulties in bringing the semester to a fruitful close. Students in widely divergent time zones, kids or elderly parents requiring attention, struggles of mood or distraction: the list of issues is all too easy to anticipate.

The challenges are daunting, but we must rise to meet them. In particular, to flatten the curve of the COVID-19 outbreak, we need to heed the imperative to disperse our community. All members of our community whose presence on campus is not considered essential (i.e., all members not responsible for animal care, food service, custodial or security matters, etc.) should make every effort to be out of their buildings and office spaces by tomorrow, Wednesday, March 18. (People currently out of town will be able to get into their buildings next week using their HUIDs to retrieve items they need to work at home, but should abide by all social distancing guidelines.) The Divisional office will work with Departmental leadership to manage exceptions to this policy, but these exceptions must be rare. Additional guidance is likely to follow as circumstances develop, but for now please embrace the letter and spirit of the policy and move to a remote working location by the end of the day today.

Under these stressful circumstances, we must continue to teach as best we can. Collectively, your powers of pedagogical creativity and improvisation greatly exceed anything that University Hall could supply, and I urge you to share ideas with colleagues about how to make the most of what remains of the semester. Class meetings through Zoom may be right for certain purposes, but epistolary modes of exchange, shared documents, and other forms of intellectual interaction with and among students warrant consideration as well. 

As you do all you can for our students, please be kind to yourselves and to one another. The best practices of remote learning cannot be mastered and executed on the fly. Trying to maintain a course as you planned it, to squeeze through the internet all of the educational experiences that you had envisioned, is likely to elicit frustration. I encourage you to talk openly with your students about the challenges that you are facing together, and how best to chart a way forward that will make the most of this semester of study. Such exchanges will invite serendipity and renewed commitment, while keeping students engaged in their learning. They will also give you a chance to model the reflection and thoughtfulness that our students will need as they wend their way through a difficult world. 

The deanery of University Hall is convening electronically twice daily to go over issues and concerns. Please be in touch with Mathilda, Ellen, or me with any matters requiring immediate attention. In the meantime, we will continue to update our FAQs and links to helpful sources of information on the Divisional website.

With much gratitude and all best wishes,

Robin

Re: the next phase — Dean Robin Kelsey 3/17/2020

3/17/2020

Dear Department Administrators in A&H,

Many thanks for your heroic efforts in recent days to move our community to remote learning and working as we strive to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. I hear tales of these efforts from Mathilda and the Chairs, knowing that what reaches my ears is but a fraction of all your good works.

The next phase will bring additional challenges. Working remotely, when schools are closed, to provide support to faculty and students who may be anxious or upset, is a tall order to say the least. I want you to know how much we recognize the unprecedented and unfolding challenges of the situation and your steadfast commitment to our mission. Please let us know about issues bubbling up from within your Department, so that we can seek answers and avenues of support.

The immediate challenge before us is to find ways to complete the educational experience of our students via remote means. This will require creativity and improvisation, as well as an acceptance of imperfection. Your efforts to support the faculty and our teaching fellows as they tackle this unexpected challenge will be crucial to whatever success we ultimately enjoy.

To flatten the curve of the COVID-19 outbreak, we need to heed the imperative to disperse our community. All members of our community whose presence on campus is not considered essential (i.e., they are not responsible for animal care, food service, custodial or security matters, etc.) should make every effort to be out of their buildings and office spaces by tomorrow, Wednesday, March 18.. (People currently out of town will be able to get into their buildings next week using their HUIDs to retrieve items they need to work at home, but should abide by all social distancing guidelines.) The Divisional office will work with Departmental leadership to manage exceptions to this policy, but these exceptions must be rare. Additional guidance is likely to follow as circumstances develop, but for now please embrace the letter and spirit of the policy and move to a remote working location by the end of the day today.

Finally, please be kind to yourselves and one another. Mathilda has informed me of your efforts at mutual support, which strike me as inspired and vital. I hope you continue to fight the isolation that circumstances are imposing, while also tending your health and good spirits.

With gratitude, again, and all best wishes,

Robin

A Note from Dean Robin Kelsey - 3/10/2020

3/10/2020

Dear A&H Faculty and Staff,

By now you will have received the notices from President Bacow and Dean Gay about the need to conduct all courses remotely after spring break. Our students, with minimal exceptions, will not be in campus housing again until the fall, a measure necessary to protect our community and especially its most vulnerable members from the spread of COVID-19.

I recognize the profound challenge that this presents to our Departments and Programs and to all of you as individuals. The core pedagogy in our Division involves face to face interaction, and some of our courses are grounded in resources – studios, art supplies, equipment, ensembles, galleries etc. – to which students will lose access when they leave campus. I can imagine that initially some of you will feel at a loss about how to complete the semester through remote learning. There is no papering over the sad sacrifice of classroom time and the challenge of finding new ways to round out the term.

But, as Dean Gay has indicated, our students are counting on us. They are counting on us to stand strong in this time of uncertainty, to demonstrate resourcefulness and resilience, and to meet anxiety with assurance. Most of all, they are counting on us for their education. In the days ahead, those of us with an allergy to certain forms of technological mediation will need to learn how to use Zoom. Those of us who were planning to evaluate students based on projects using Harvard equipment or supplies, will need to think creatively about other forms of engagement and assessment. This is a major challenge, but I know from experience and student testimonials that you have the dedication and ingenuity to handle it successfully.

Over the last few days, as those of us in University Hall have struggled to determine the best way forward, my mind has returned time and again to our undergraduates and their profound emotional investment in their four fleeting years at Harvard. It is all too easy to imagine the disappointment at this turn of events, especially for our seniors. My hope is that one day our undergraduates, along with the rest of us, will look back on this time with pride, knowing that together we rose to a historic challenge that none of us could foresee. Our chance at this solace rests in large part on how we handle the contingencies now before us. I have been thinking also of our graduate students, whose professional lives already bear so much uncertainty. Whatever you can do to support them would earn my lasting gratitude. In particular, I want to ensure that our Teaching Fellows, who will be facing unexpected challenges of their own, will not find themselves saddled with excessive responsibility for the adjustments we must all make in our courses. As Dean Gay has said, now is a time to take care of one another, and this precept applies especially to our relationship to the graduate students who teach under our care.

Those of us in the Office of the Dean of Arts & Humanities stand ready to help you in any way we can. In the meantime, please take advantage of the links in the messages from President Bacow and Dean Gay, and please consult our set of answers to Frequently Asked Questions that we have prepared for our Division. They will be updated regularly on our Divisional website.


With gratitude for your devoted service to our educational mission,
Robin
 

Important news from the Director of the Office for the Arts - 3/10/2020

3/10/2020

In keeping with the University’s directives around the coronavirus (COVID-19) and distance learning, the Office for the Arts has suspended all on-campus programming, including the annual ARTS FIRST Festival. You can find out about University protocols on Harvard's dedicated web page.

We know this is a challenging experience for students, faculty, staff and worldwide communities.

To our students, you are at the heart of our work and mission at the OFA. If you have questions, concerns or need to talk with someone, you can contact me directly or any members of our staff. We are here for you. Remember: Creativity goes on, and we are eager to help you. To that end, the OFA invites students to fill out this form to share your thoughts on methods to engage meaningfully with you and Harvard’s arts community during this time. We welcome ideas!

To all other members of our community, we invite you to stay connected with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter about future arts activity. We appreciate your interest in the arts at Harvard and want to stay connected. Better days are coming. We look forward to continued contact with you – albeit from a distance – as the spring term rolls on.


Sincerely,

Jack Megan
Director, Office for the Arts at Harvard
megan@fas.harvard.edu
617-495-8409

FAS Division of Arts & Humanities Coronavirus FAQs - 3/10/2020

FAS Division of Arts & Humanities
Coronavirus FAQs for Faculty and Staff
March 10, 2020


These are extraordinary times. We face an unprecedented interruption to our teaching mission and the cancellation of many anticipated events and experiences. While we grapple with our anxiety and grief at a semester interrupted, we ask for your patience and cooperation as we do our best to ensure the continuity in our teaching and the safe shepherding of our community through this outbreak of COVID-19.


INFORMATION SOURCES
1. Where can I find reliable information about this virus?
The CDC website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

2. Where can I find up-to-date information about Harvard’s policies?
https://www.harvard.edu/coronavirus

3. Is there FAS-specific guidance available?
https://www.fas.harvard.edu/fas-coronavirus-updates

4. What else should I be doing to prepare?
Take preventative measure to protect yourself, such as those listed by HUHS here:
https://huhs.harvard.edu/about-us/announcements-events/how-protect-yourself-viral-illness
Prepare your devices to work from home and practice using Zoom. Guidance is available
from HUIT: https://huit.harvard.edu/remote

REMOTE INSTRUCTION
5. Where can I find information on using Zoom to teach classes remotely?
A Zoom link exists already on Canvas for all courses. You can use that to schedule online sessions, and to distribute the appropriate link to students registered for the class. A good starting point for learning how to use this tool is at https://huit.harvard.edu/zoom-training

Instructors need to form plans for 1) remote participation for scheduled classes, sections, and labs, and 2) final exams/assessments being done remotely.

More information and help may be found on the Teach Remotely website at:
https://teachremotely.harvard.edu The Office of Undergraduate Research has also
developed guidance (https://oue.fas.harvard.edu/resources-faculty) as has the Bok
Center (https://bokcenter.harvard.edu/teaching-remotely).

6. What if I teach a making- or performance-based course?
We understand the move to online instruction will prove particularly complicated for courses that heavily feature performance and art making as a part of their syllabus. This is a challenging situation, and we must ask you to do the best you can to reformat your students’ learning experience for the online space. Flexibility and creativity will be key in continuing to provide our students with the transformative educational experience they look for in our classes. The Office of Undergraduate Education has offered to consult with faculty members looking for advice on how to alter their courses. You may contact them at instruct@fas.harvard.edu.

ON-CAMPUS MEETINGS AND EVENTS
7. We have a large on-campus meeting planned. Should we cancel it?
Yes. All meetings with more than 25 attendees must be postponed, canceled, or
conducted over Zoom or the equivalent.

8. Is it okay to continue with smaller sized on-campus meetings?
Yes, though we should be aware that this could change. Organizers may wish to use such opportunities to test Zoom, especially as a way to make the meeting accessible to people outside of Harvard (see below), or as an option to Harvard affiliates who may not wish to expose themselves to groups of people. When in doubt, organizers should err on the side of conservatism.

Even in smaller meetings, attendees should practice appropriate social distancing, keeping approximately six feet between individuals and holding meetings in rooms where the number of attendees is no more than one-third the capacity of the room (for instance, it would be appropriate to host a meeting of 25 or fewer individuals – per the standard above – in the Thompson Room, which has a capacity of 100).

9. Should we cancel or re-schedule visits by seminar speakers?
Yes. Alternatively, you can invite scholars to deliver their talks remotely.

10. We have a faculty search under way. Should we cancel or defer visits by candidates, even if we have had prior visits by other candidates?
Yes. Job talks should be conducted over Zoom or the equivalent.

11. I received Provostial Funds for an activity or experience with my students this semester. How will this be handled?
If you decide to postpone the activity that was awarded a grant from the Provostial Fund for Arts and Humanities, you will be able to carry forward the funds until a later date. If you have already used some of the funds, there is no penalty and you will still be able to carry forward any remaining funds. If you purchased tickets for future travel, the fund will cover any cancellation penalties or non-refundable expenses. We do ask that you try to have the airline or hotel waive any cancellation fees.

TRAVEL
12. Harvard has prohibited non-essential domestic air travel and all internationalprofessional travel. What is considered “essential” versus “non-essential”?
“Essential” travel is vital to the functioning of the University, and very few trips meet this condition. Examples might include legally required depositions, and the like. Academic exchanges such as conferences, seminars, lectures, etc., are (in this context) non-essential activity and the travel ban applies.

13. Can you help me understand the definition of “University-related travel”? For example, if I am giving a seminar or a public lecture, is that “University-related”? What about attending a meeting?
Each of these is considered university-related travel and therefore prohibited.

14. I have been planning to give a talk outside of town. Do I have to cancel that trip?
FAS has banned all non-essential domestic and international professional travel. Cancel or reschedule the trip.

15. When do we think travel will return to normal?
That is hard to predict. The travel ban is currently (as of March 10, 2020) in place through end of April 2020, but may be extended depending on how the situation evolves. For the time being it seems premature to cancel trips planned for after May 1, but stay abreast of our travel policy posted at https://www.harvard.edu/coronavirus/travel-guidance.

16. Will I receive reimbursement of cancellation costs?
For those traveling on University business, the Harvard Travel Policy allows for reimbursement of cancellation or change fees with a valid reason. The current Coronavirus outbreak meets this requirement.

SOCIAL AND COMMUNITY ASPECTS
17. I seem to have offended someone whose hand I didn’t shake. Why are they reacting this way?
Not everyone appreciates our community’s opportunity to attenuate the transmission of germs by avoiding person-to-person social contact. You might explain that your action is not a reflection of your relationship, but rather just following current guidelines from experts (some of whom we are proud to have on the faculty at Harvard!).

18. Should we worry about adverse effects on ethnic or national groups?
We should all be aware of the possibility that individuals might be apprehensive of possible biases as a result of nationality or ethnic origin, and any such bias is clearly inconsistent with the values of the Harvard community. We will work together to slow  the spread of this disease, using an evidence-based appropriate response that draws upon the advice of experts.

19. I am concerned about losing the sense of community that comes with being on campus. How can I stay connected with the Arts & Humanities community during this time?
Times of uncertainty and upheaval can cause feelings of anxiety and isolation. While many members of our Arts & Humanities community will no longer be on campus following spring break, the Division will work to connect those in our community through social media. Follow us on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/harvartshum/) and on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/HarvardArtsHum) to hear from faculty and students on how they are handling these extraordinary times, updates from campus, and the sharing of good news, which we will all need. Please reach out to Sarah Zeiser (zeiser@fas.harvard.edu) if you have a story to share that would connect our community from a distance.

NOTE: This is intended to be a living document. Please send any questions you have to artshum@fas.harvard.edu. We will review your questions daily and respond to them as quickly as
we can.
 

Messages from the SEAS and Science Division

COVID-19 - additional guidance for SEAS - 3/10/2020

3/10/2020

Dear SEAS Colleagues,
 
Further to the message sent earlier today by President Bacow and Dean Gay, the University is taking steps to reduce the density of students on campus, consistent with guidance from public health officials, which will have a salutary effect for all community members who remain on campus.
 
The steps we are taking are designed to: protect the health and well-being of all community members; to facilitate as smooth as possible transition to post-spring break online instruction for graduate and undergraduate classes; and to maintain support for the educational and research mission by ensuring business continuity in all aspects of the running of the school (instruction, lab and research, financial operations, etc.).

To this end, we have prepared guidance around some commonly asked questions.
 
In addition, we are planning to hold a remote all-hands meeting, to provide real-time updates and address SEAS faculty and staff questions and concerns to be conducted via Zoom next week. Announcement forthcoming.
 
For everybody
 
Undergraduate and graduate instruction will transition to remote/online mode rather than in-person, on-campus instruction after spring break.
 
Graduate students, postdocs, and other researchers should shift to remote-work to the maximum extent possible.
 
Consistent with the updated University guidance, all gatherings over 25 must be postponed or canceled. This includes seminars, job talks, candidate visits, advising events, etc. Please review University guidance for the most up-to-date details on travel restrictions.

In practice, however, we would ask that all meetings and events, even those under 25 participants, be transitioned to Zoom or conference call or postponed where possible. Please use judgement.
 
Harvard’s coronavirus site is the most up-to-date source of news and developments and we urge you to closely monitor this resource - https://www.harvard.edu/coronavirus
 
We have attached a joint SEAS-Science Division Coronavirus FAQ. We will be setting up a joint web site later today with this document and additional guidance. Details to follow.
 
Undergraduates
 
As you have seen, Harvard plans for all post-spring break instruction to be delivered remotely via Zoom or other virtual platforms. The transition of lecture-based courses will be relatively straightforward. It will take more time to develop detailed plans and pedagogical approaches for project- and lab-based courses. Stay tuned for further details as these plans develop.
 
At this time, we encourage all students who have not already done so to set up a Zoom account (https://huit.harvard.edu/remote) and to familiarize themselves with the platform.
 
SEAS recognizes that many students, especially seniors scheduled to graduate in May, will have questions regarding how they complete required courses by end of semester. More guidance on those questions will be provided soon.
 
Your SEAS point of contact is Patrick Ulrich - pulrich@seas.harvard.edu

For other concerns: https://dso.college.harvard.edu/coronavirus
 
PhD Students
 
Please check with your advisor regarding expectations for your immediate-term research and, If applicable, TFing responsibilities.
 
Lecture-based courses will transition to remote instruction utilizing Zoom. Information about how to set up a Zoom account can be found here: https://huit.harvard.edu/remote
 
Please refer to EHS guidance for coronavirus-related health and safety considerations while working in labs.
 
GSAS will be providing information about graduate student housing, work-from-home options, and other concerns that specifically affect PhD students. GSAS will be providing information.
 
Your SEAS point of contact is John Girash:  jgirash@seas.harvard.edu
 
If you have questions about environmental health and safety, please contact: Maryam Borton, Laboratory Safety Advisor (SEAS): maryam_borton@harvard.edu

If you have questions about lab operations, please contact Leigh Needleman, Director of Science Operations for SEAS: leigh_needleman@harvard.edu 
 
Masters Students
 
Lecture-based courses will transition to remote instruction utilizing Zoom. Information about how to set up a Zoom account can be found here: https://huit.harvard.edu/remote
 
Students enrolled in the MS/MBA (joint degree program with HBS) should be in touch with Sheila Coveney, coveney@seas.harvard.edu at SEAS or Jill Fadule, jfadule@hbs.edu at HBS with questions specific to their program.  Look for updates here: https://www.hbs.edu/about/Pages/coronavirus-critical-information.aspx
 
Students enrolled in the MDE (joint degree program with GSD) should be in touch with Janessa Mulepati - mulepati@gsd.harvard.edu with questions specific to their program.
 
Students enrolled in Master of Data Science should be in touch with Lori Ray - lray@seas.harvard.edu with questions about their program.
 
Students enrolled in Computational Science should be in touch with Lori Ray - lray@seas.harvard.edu with questions about their program.
 
Postdocs
 
Please check with your advisor regarding expectations for your immediate-term research and, If applicable, TFing responsibilities.
 
Your SEAS point of contact is: Diane L. Schneeberger: dls@seas.harvard.edu
 
If you have questions about environmental health and safety, please contact: Maryam Borton, Laboratory Safety Advisor (SEAS): maryam_borton@harvard.edu
 
If you have questions about lab operations, please contact Leigh Needleman, Director of Science Operations for SEAS: leigh_needleman@harvard.edu 
 
Faculty

Lecture-based courses that serve undergraduate and graduate students will transition to remote instruction utilizing Zoom. On-campus events (seminars, job talks, etc.) will be cancelled or postponed, or moved to virtual meetings via Zoom or equivalent.
 
Resources and training for Zoom can be found here: https://teachremotely.harvard.edu/
 
Questions about pedagogy and teaching should be directed to Fawwaz Habbal: habbalf@seas.harvard.edu 

If you have questions about searches, seminars or travel, please contact: Diane L. Schneeberger: dls@seas.harvard.edu
 
If you have questions about environmental health and safety, please contact: Maryam Borton, Laboratory Safety Advisor (SEAS): maryam_borton@harvard.edu
 
If you have questions about lab operations, please contact Leigh Needleman, Director of Science Operations for SEAS: leigh_needleman@harvard.edu 
 
Staff
 
Further guidance regarding remote versus on-site work options will be provided soon by Harvard and SEAS HR. Talk to your manager if you have specific questions about your own situation.
 
Everyone should establish a Zoom account and become familiar with the system.

SEAS staff who live in residence halls will be advised by the College Dean of Students and should stay tuned for further updates.
 
See the Harvard HR Coronavirus Workplace Policies: https://hr.harvard.edu/corona-virus-workplace-policies
 
Your SEAS point of contact is: Kim Harris kharris@seas.harvard.edu
 
I greatly appreciate your support and collaboration during these challenging times. We will continue to keep you updated at appropriate intervals.

Sincerely,

Frank

-- 

Francis J. Doyle III

John A. Paulson Dean

John A. & Elizabeth S. Armstrong Professor

Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering & Applied Sciences

617-495-5829

dean@seas.harvard.edu

FAS Science Division Resources - 3/10/2020

3/10/2020

Dear FAS Science Colleagues,
 
The University is taking steps to reduce both the density of individuals on campus and close interactions between them, consistent with guidance from public health officials, which will have a salutary effect for all community members who remain on campus. 
 
These steps are designed to: protect the health and well-being of our community; facilitate the transition to post-Spring Break online instruction, and maintain support for the educational and research mission by ensuring continuity in all aspects of the running of the Science Division.
 
We will soon launch a joint FAS Science/SEAS website that will contain regularly updated FAQ information, that will also enable members of our community to submit any further questions they have. 
 
For everybody
 
Instruction will transition to remote/online mode rather than in-person, on-campus instruction after spring break. This does not mean, however, that all on-campus operations will cease.
 
Please review and follow University guidance regarding: 

  • on-campus in-person meetings (candidate visits associated with faculty searchers, seminar talks by visiting scholars, advising events, etc.) 
  • availability of virtual meeting platforms and support, 
  • travel restrictions.

Harvard’s coronavirus site is the most up-to-date source of news and developments and we urge you to closely monitor this resource - www.harvard.edu/corona. Please also refer to the FAS coronavirus site for FAS-specific information https://www.fas.harvard.edu/fas-coronavirus-updates.
 
HR policies for staff are accessible at https://hr.harvard.edu/corona-virus-workplace-policies. Discuss any questions you might have with your manager. 
 
If you have questions about lab safety issues in this context, your point of contact is listed at EH&S Lab Safety Advisor. Please refer to EHS guidance for coronavirus-related health and safety considerations while working in labs.
 
If you have questions about lab operations, please contact Sarah Elwell, Director of Research Operations for Science and Engineering, Sarah_elwell@harvard.edu.
 
Ph.D. Students
 
Graduate students should shift to remote-work to the maximum extent possible. Please check with your advisor regarding expectations for your immediate-term research and, If applicable, TFing responsibilities. 
 
This might be a good time to start writing the introduction to your dissertation, or reading those foundational papers in your field!
 
Lecture-based courses will transition to remote instruction utilizing Zoom. Information about how to set up a Zoom account can be found here: https://huit.harvard.edu/remote
 
GSAS will be providing information about graduate student housing, work-from-home options, and other concerns that specifically affect PhD students.
 
Postdocs and other laboratory research staff
 
We are shifting to remote-working to the maximum extent possible. Please check with your advisor regarding expectations for your immediate-term research and, If applicable, TAing responsibilities.
 
For job interviews, at this time such trips are treated as personal (provided host is paying). However, the FAS’ strong recommendation is to use extreme caution and judgement regarding all outside travel, and follow CDC guidance (quarantine, etc.).
 
Your postdoc point of contact is: Stephen Kargere, kargere@fas.harvard.edu
 
Faculty

Lecture-based courses will transition to remote instruction using Zoom. Student advising will also be done remotely through Zoom. 

Resources and training for Zoom can be found here: https://huit.harvard.edu/remote

Your science division point of contact for Zoom instruction is: Logan McCarty, mccarty@fas.harvard.edu
 
On-campus events (seminars, job talks, etc. will be cancelled or postponed, or moved to virtual meetings via Zoom or equivalent)
 
I am asking for your help in adapting to rapidly changing circumstances, and for your lending support to our entire community. Faculty should first consult with Department chairs and lead administrators on interpretation and implementation. My office stands ready to assist with any issues that can't be easily resolved at the unit level. 
 
Chris
 
Christopher Stubbs​
Dean of Science, Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Harvard University
(617) 496-0289
415 NW building