Coronavirus Information

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.

Please consult the links and FAQs below, developed for faculty and staff in the Arts & Humanities. If you have questions or concerns, reach out to the Divisional office at and join our online community through Instagram and Facebook.

To read Dean Robin Kelsey's note to Arts & Humanities faculty and staff from March 10, please click here.

The power of stories is a cornerstone of the arts and humanities. The Arts & Humanities Blog will serve as a platform for sharing stories and testimonials of resourcefulness and resilience in our A&H community at Harvard.

Sources and FAQs for the Arts & Humanities

Information Sources

CDC Website for reliable information about COVID-19

Harvard University Health Services guidance on best practices

Harvard University policies and communications

Faculty of Arts & Sciences updates and guidance

Harvard College information for students

Teach Remotely information for faculty

Learn Remotely information for students

OUE guidance for adapting a course to teach remotely

OUE Academic Policy FAQs for faculty

GSAS resources for Directors of Graduate Studies

HUIT guidance on working remotely

Zoom training

Travel guidance

Remote Instruction

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


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


Are there specific resources available for remote teaching in language courses?
The Language Resource Center, while physically closed, is available to support teaching within language programs. They have developed a resource page and can answer questions at


I am having trouble connecting to Zoom from Canvas. Any suggestions?
You have likely set up a personal Zoom account using your Harvard email address, and it doesn’t “belong” to the official Harvard account and so Canvas is confused. What you need to do to fix this is:

  • Quit the Zoom application if you have it running
  • Go to
  • Click Sign In to configure your account
  • Click Sign In with SSO, this is to sign in with your HarvardKey
  • You should see something like “Claim my Email” or account
  • This will send you an email. Follow the steps laid out there. It will move your email into the official Harvard account and then Zoom in Canvas will work without a hitch.


How can I make my Zoom teaching accessible to all students?
The OUE has provided guidelines for teaching strategies to make your classroom sessions on Zoom as accessible as possible. Faculty members should use the record option on Zoom so that students who cannot collocate with the class will still be able to view the session (for instance, if students are now living in a different time zone).


Am I expected to record my classes, and what are the policies surrounding this practice?
HUIT has guidance and protocols for the use of recording classes taught via Zoom, including information on protecting students' privacy and rules around where and how recorded classes can be used. Students' consent is not required to record, but students should be made aware that recording is taking place, and Zoom provides an on-screen notification when recording is in process.


What if I need equipment at home to make remote teaching possible?
Don’t rush to go out and buy new equipment. Try out some Zoom teaching sessions using your TFs, friends, and family as test students. Experiment with all the modes of instruction you usually use. We suggest a gooseneck holder to hold and position your phone or webcam, a Bluetooth headset with noise-cancelling microphone for high-quality audio, and perhaps a stand-alone webcam if your phone or computer camera isn’t sufficient. But be sure to test your setup first before going on a buying spree—we want you to buy what is most useful to facilitate teaching and learning, and you might not know what that will be until you have tested out teaching some classes online. Some technical guidance can be found in this document.


Are there tips and tricks out there for Zoom for different size meetings (small, 15-20, classroom teaching, etc.)?
See the many resources for using these tools, such as:


Can faculty, postdocs, and graduate students come to campus to use their offices for meetings or Zoom teaching?
Not after Wednesday, March 18.


What accommodations are going to be made re: midterms and senior theses?
All major academic deadlines, including Senior Thesis due dates, will be extended by one week.  In addition, faculty and instructors have been asked to rearrange assignments, deadlines, and exams as appropriate given the upheaval due to moving out of the residences. 



On-Campus Meetings and Access

Is it okay to continue with smaller sized or one-on-one on-campus meetings?
Most meetings should be conducted via Zoom. If an in-person meeting is a necessity (for example, for a dissertation defense at which ONLY the student and advisers will be present), a suitably sized room should be used to ensure appropriate social distancing parameters. Note that public defenses and defense celebrations must be canceled.


Can classes continue to meet on campus with students who happen to be living in the area (e.g. local undergraduates or graduate students)?
No, all classes are remote effective March 23.


I am not well equipped to teach from home. Can I come into my faculty office on campus to teach?
No. 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 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. While buildings will remain open to swipe access, faculty should not be working from their office.


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


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.


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.


Will the Libraries and Museums be closing? How will we access resources?
Harvard Museums and Libraries are closed to the public. Material is not available to be borrowed and the Scan and Deliver service is paused. Staff in the Libraries are still available to assist via the Ask a Librarian service. The Library has developed a series of FAQs which they will update should the situation change. Faculty and students may bring home Library books and renew them online as they normally would, and borrowing limits will be extended. In the case of the Museums, please be in touch with them directly for further guidance.


Is there a sense on when decisions will be made about post-April summer educational programs and events? And should we include any caveats in summer program offers/admission?
Right now, our planning horizon is the end of April. We need to see how events unfold before making longer range plans.


Will the University open the parking garages more broadly for employees who don’t want to use public transport?
Essential personnel are now eligible for no charge daily parking at select Harvard facilities on the Cambridge and Allston campus. Please visit Harvard Transportation and Parking for more information:


Harvard has prohibited non-essential domestic air travel and all international professional 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.


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.


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.


When do we think travel will return to normal?
That is hard to predict. The travel ban is currently (as of March 18, 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


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. Note that Harvard will only reimburse for those expenses related to Harvard business, so if your planned travel included a personal vacation component, you are responsible for those expenses.

Social and Community Aspects

How can we access mail and packages shipped to campus addresses?
Harvard University Mail Services (HUMS) is offering the following: Each department can have departmental mail sent to a single home address of its choosing. This will include USPS Parcels, First Class mail, or mail with endorsements requiring forwarding. This will NOT include standard/marketing mail, periodicals, or non-profit pieces.
Mail will be bundled and shipped USPS First Class/Priority mail unless otherwise requested. HUMS can also provide a tracking number so you can monitor the progress of your package.
To set up this service please send an email to with: department name and address on campus; individual's name to whom mail will be sent; frequency of mail (recommended weekly); billing code.
HUMS is also able to hold mail/packages indefinitely. If you have a question about what can be forwarded, or how to locate an important package, send an email to​​​​​​​.


What is the timeline for staff working from home, and is there guidance available?
Most staff should now have shifted to remote work wherever possible, and should plan to do so indefinitely. Human Resources has developed workplace policies for staff on their website:


What about snail mail delivered to university addresses? Any provisions for getting it stored, forwarded, scanned, etc.?
We are accepting deliveries as usual for now; our loading docks and shipping/receiving are open normal hours until we receive further instructions to shut it down or limit the hours. 


I am a faculty member with children at home. What support is available for childcare as I move to teaching remotely?
Faculty can find information about resources for childcare at


Up until now, I have been pretty calm and not too worried. Recently, however, I’ve really started to feel concerned and upset. What should I do?
Remember that Harvard’s health plans offer comprehensive coverage for both physical and mental health care.  In addition, all employees are invited to contact the Employee Assistance Program at 877-EAP-HARV (877-327-4278) for help with feelings of stress or anxiety about these events. Harvard fully supports and encourages self-care in these stressful times.


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 ( and on Facebook ( 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 ( if you have a story to share that would connect our community from a distance.