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Harvard Aims to Bring Back Faculty, Staff on Aug. 2

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Harvard plans to reopen its campus to all faculty, staff, and researchers on Aug. 2 in light of expected Covid-19 vaccine availability, the University announced Monday.

In the announcement, University President Lawrence S. Bacow, Provost Alan M. Garber ’76, and Executive Vice President Katherine N. Lapp wrote that Harvard hopes to return “as many students as possible” in the fall, though they provided no specifics on the plans of individual schools.

Most Harvard faculty and staff have been working remotely due to the pandemic since last March when the coronavirus shut down campus. Lapp previously told faculty and staff they would work from home until at least the end of June.

Bacow, Garber, and Lapp wrote that certain activities may require earlier return dates throughout the summer and fall. Each school and unit will “take the lead” in planning the return of remote employees in line with departmental priorities.

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“It is important to emphasize that there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to this transition period,” they wrote.

The announcement also states Harvard plans to update its human resources policies to ensure the University is “in step with the realities and opportunities of the post-pandemic work environment.”

Harvard will also expand its Covid-19 testing program to include employees who have not previously been working on campus, per the announcement. Harvard has been gradually increasing the number of faculty and staff members it tests throughout the academic year.

Currently, the University conducts around 20,000 total tests per week, including roughly 8,500 tests for faculty, staff, and other affiliates. There have been 198 positives among the category faculty, staff and other affiliates since the start of 2021, according to Harvard’s testing dashboard.

University and school leaders will also work to expand the current Harvard University Guidance for On-Campus Activity policies to ensure sufficient support services and safety protocols are in place upon the return of remote employees, the administrators wrote.

The announcement did not indicate if employees hired from outside contractors would be included in the Aug. 2 return to campus.

—Staff writer Kelsey J. Griffin can be reached at kelsey.griffin@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @kelseyjgriffin.

—Staff writer Jasper G. Goodman can be reached at jasper.goodman@thecrimson.com. Follow him on Twitter @Jasper_Goodman.

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