COVID-19 UpdatesPosted on March 26, 2021
May 8, 2023
As we near the end of the academic year, the university has released public health updates ahead of the Commencement events. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the federal government will end their Public Health Emergency for COVID-19 on May 11, which impacts the university’s response to COVID-19 and the related requirements which we will be following at the Program in Islamic Law. Although reported cases, hospitalizations, and deaths have declined, COVID-19 has not disappeared. The university suggests that
- Students, faculty, staff, and researchers should continue to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines if they test positive for COVID-19. This includes isolating from others for five days and masking until day 11. Persons at high risk for complications should consult with a health care provider about antiviral treatment.
- While in public settings, you can reduce your risk of contracting COVID-19 and other respiratory illness by voluntarily masking, prioritizing outdoor events, washing your hands, and reducing your number of close contacts.
- If you plan to attend Commencement and other upcoming group activities, I recommend you follow precautions to keep you and those around you safe.
- Consider taking a precautionary rapid antigen test immediately before attending events, even if you have no symptoms. If you have symptoms, no matter how mild, do not attend commencement events—even if you test negative.
- If you test positive, please adhere to the CDC’s isolation guidance and do not attend commencement events.
- You can reduce your risk by wearing a high-quality mask that fits securely around your nose and mouth when attending indoor and crowded outdoor events.
- Wash your hands with soap and water or sanitize your hands before eating and after using the bathroom to prevent both respiratory and gastrointestinal illness.
- Persons aged 65 and older and those who are immunocompromised are now eligible for an additional bivalent vaccine booster, available at commercial pharmacies. Harvard will no longer require COVID-19 boosters for students, faculty, staff, and researchers, and new employees do not need to submit proof of vaccination. Students will still be required to obtain the primary vaccine series or a single bivalent vaccine, and HUHS employees and other health care workers will continue to remain up-to-date on vaccination as described by the CDC. The university encourages all members of the community to follow the CDC’s vaccination guidance.
Additionally, be mindful that there are members of our community who are at higher risk for complications if exposed to COVID-19. Vigilance remains important even for lower-risk, vaccinated individuals as long COVID continues to be a concern.
The university will continue to monitor and adjust our guidance as necessary. Thank you for continuing to diligently follow public health guidelines as they have evolved throughout the past few years.
January 5, 2023
As many of us return to campus, the University released the following COVID-19 recommendations due to the current rise in cases due to the Omicron sub variant XBB.1.5. We will be following these updates at PIL
- Wear a well-fitting mask indoors and on public transit. We strongly encourage using high-quality disposable masks—such as KN95s and KF94s—worn in a way that minimizes air gaps around the edges. Be prepared, and always carry masks with you.
- Test before campus arrival or test as soon as possible if you have already returned. For information on how to acquire free antigen tests, visit Harvard University Health Services (HUHS).
- If traveling from China, Hong Kong, or Macau, plan for required testing. In response to a significant surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in China, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now requires anyone traveling to the United States from China, Hong Kong, or Macau, including anyone traveling from Seoul, Toronto, and Vancouver who has been in China, Hong Kong, or Macau in the past 10 days, to show a negative COVID-19 viral test result taken no more than two days before their flight, or to show documented recovery from COVID-19 in the past 90 days. This mandate may require advance planning to avoid flight delays. Be ready for the possibility of delays and have backup plans to avoid missing responsibilities on campus.
- Use good hand hygiene. Wash your hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer before eating and after using the bathroom to prevent both respiratory and gastrointestinal illness.
- Stay up to date on vaccinations. If you are eligible to receive the bivalent COVID-19 booster and have yet to do so, I encourage you to schedule an appointment. Additionally, we are in the midst of an active influenza season. Protect yourself and others by getting the annual flu shot. Schedule a COVID-19 booster via vaxfinder.mass.gov or vaccines.gov; flu vaccine is available at your local pharmacy. Limited COVID-19 and flu doses will be available via HUHS mid-month.
December 8, 2022
As many of us leave campus for the Winter break, the University released the following COVID-19 updates that go into effect as of Thursday, December 22.
- Retiring the Contact Tracing Team and Use of Crimson Clear: The Contact Tracing team will be dissolved, and the Crimson Clear web app will be retired. Students and employees will no longer need to report a positive COVID-19 case to HUHS. Anyone who tests positive will manage their isolation independently by referring to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance. Medical questions should be directed to the individual’s primary care provider.
- Students who test positive for COVID-19 should refer to local school resources for information and protocols. This will be similar to approaches that have been used in the past for illnesses in general.
- Employees who test positive for COVID-19 should notify their manager of the test result and their expected return-to-work date. Employees and their managers should work together following standard HR policies.
- Health care and childcare workers who test positive for COVID-19 are still expected to follow the return-to-work testing requirement until the CDC issues further guidance.
- Redirecting the Keep Harvard Healthy website: To consolidate COVID-19 information, the Keep Harvard Healthy website will redirect to the HUHS COVID-19 Information Page. Individuals who would like isolation and discharge guidance can visit the HUHS site, which will connect them to CDC guidance.
- Maintaining Vaccination Compliance: Documented flu vaccine and bivalent COVID-19 booster compliance are required for students prior to spring registration and no later than Saturday, December 31. Students who tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 90 days are eligible for a temporary exemption from the bivalent booster requirement. To request an exemption, complete the Student Vaccine Exemption form and upload it to the Patient Portal.
September 13, 2022
As the fall term begins, the University released COVID-19 updates, which we will be following at PIL. In addition to the following, PIL will generally require masks or a recent negative test, and we will continue to hold most of our events online.
- COVID-19 Is Still Circulating, Socialize Safely: If you have symptoms, take an at-home antigen test and mask if you must be around others. If you test positive for COVID, please report your result to HUHS via Crimson Clear and follow isolation guidance. As a reminder, Color PCR testing ends on September 16th.
- Masking Remains Optional: Aside from health care settings and where otherwise required for non-COVID reasons (e.g., in some laboratories), masking continues to be optional. However, we strongly encourage voluntary masking in other settings to reduce the risk of transmission. Nobody should be made to feel uncomfortable for their personal masking decision in a mask-optional setting. Be mindful that there are members of our community who must mask.
- Vaccine Clinics on Campus: In order to register for spring term, students must be compliant with all vaccine requirements. This includes the annual flu shot as well as the bivalent Omicron-specific COVID-19 booster. HUHS will offer the new COVID-19 Moderna bivalent Omicron booster starting the week of September 19. The booster now includes protection against the most prevalent, highly contagious, Omicron variant as well as the original strain. For more information about the booster, listen to (or read the transcript of) this podcast from the American Medical Association.
August 16, 2022
The University released their COVID-19 preparation plans, which we will be following at PIL. In addition to the following, PIL will generally require masks or a recent negative test, and we will continue to hold most of our events online.
- Masking on Campus: Masking is optional except in health care settings and where otherwise required for non-COVID reasons (e.g., some laboratories). Please check with your school about any additional masking protocols that are specific to your setting. Even when optional, we strongly encourage indoor mask use, especially if local COVID-19 risks are medium or high.
- Arrival Testing for Students: Rapid antigen testing is required upon arrival for all residential students and highly encouraged for students who live off campus. Students living in residence halls will have an arrival antigen test provided at move-in.
- Antigen and PCR Testing During Fall: Antigen testing is a fast, convenient, and reliable way to test when you have symptoms or want confirmation of your COVID status. Everyone is eligible for eight free antigen tests a month through your private insurance, and I highly recommend you take advantage of this benefit. For anyone who is covered under the University’s Express Scripts program, we have developed a brief tutorial on how to order your free test kits.
- COVID-19 Vaccinations for Students and Employees: Students and Employees must be up to date according to the CDC definition. Students who fail to meet University vaccine requirements will be blocked from course registration. HUHS continues to offer COVID-19 vaccine appointments.
May 23, 2022
As we approach Class Day and Commencement, the University has released additional COVID-19 guidance during this week’s graduation activities due to a rise in the COVID-19 positivity rate in Massachusetts. Below we highlight key points in the University’s new guidance, made in consultation with the University Coronavirus Advisory Group, that specifically advise those attending Class Day and Commencement-related events:
- Anyone experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, however mild and regardless of a negative test, should not come to campus.
- Anyone with a positive COVID-19 test also should not come to campus.
- Everyone coming to campus to attend Class Day and Commencement-related events should take a COVID-19 test every day they participate. HLS community members may continue to use Color PCR testing.
- Everyone is strongly encouraged to mask at both indoor and outdoor Class Day and Commencement-related events, especially in crowded settings.
- While eating and drinking at these events, participants are asked to minimize time unmasked.
- For those coming to campus as normal, but not to attend Class Day and Commencement-related events, COVID-19 testing and masking remain optional.
- To alleviate congestion inside the Hark South entry doors during the Class Day and Commencement festivities, they will be moving the COVID-19 test kit collection bins to the opposite end of the Hark Concourse, on the wooden desk just before the double doors.
HLS will share additional information in early June about guidance and testing protocols for the summer. In the meantime, we look forward to celebrating the Class of 2022 at Class Day and Commencement, and to gathering again with the Classes of 2020 and 2021, later this week!
May 9, 2022
As the Spring Term comes to a close, the University released some additional summer-time changes to the optional COVID-19 testing protocol.
Over the course of the next three weeks, Harvard will reduce the number of COVID-19 test kit collection bins across the entire University campus, including here at Harvard Law School. At the end of the day on Monday, May 9, the University will remove the collection bin located in Langdell Hall. And on May 29, the Sunday after commencement, the University will remove the collection bins located in the Harkness Commons.
As of May 30, Harvard will maintain a total of five bin locations across the University. For members of our community who wish to continue optional COVID-19 testing, the nearest collection bins to the Harvard Law School campus will be located at the Science Center. In addition, bins will also be located at the Smith Campus Center, the main Harvard University Health Services office in the Smith Campus Center, the Science and Engineering Complex in Allston, and the New Research Building in Boston’s Longwood Medical Area. Except for Saturdays, test kits will be collected daily from each bin location at 9 am until further notice.
In addition to Harvard’s commitment to continuing on-campus testing as an available service, students, faculty, and staff with Harvard health insurance are also covered for eight antigen tests each month through the University’s pharmacy provider, Express Scripts.
For more about Harvard’s optional COVID-19 testing program please see this page on the University’s Keep Harvard Healthy site.
March 29, 2022
The University recently updated their COVID-19 guidance. We at PIL will be adhering to the following:
- Keep Your Vaccination up to Date: All Harvard community members, except those with an approved exemption, are required to be up to date on vaccination, including boosters. If you are not up to date, make a booster appointment now or as soon as you will be eligible. Appointments are readily available through HUHS and local pharmacies. Upload your vaccine documentation once you’ve received your shot.
- Testing: At this time, all Harvard affiliates with any on-campus presence are still required to test on the schedule that appears in Color. We anticipate updates to testing requirements in the future, as we continue to monitor public health conditions with emphasis on severity of illness and overall community risks.
- Coronavirus Workplace Policies: The University’s temporary Coronavirus Workplace Policies, which include Emergency Excused Absence, the flexible use of sick time, and Dependent Well Care, have provided important support to our workforce for over two years. With the recent easing of restrictions and updated campus guidance, these policies will end effective April 1, 2022. In addition, MA Emergency COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave will also end effective April 1, 2022.
Harvard continues to carefully monitor the public health situation as they consider additional updates to University guidance.
March 7, 2022
The University recently updated their mask mandate. Harvard Law School released the following updated guidance:
- Harvard’s mask mandate will, with limited exceptions, shift to a mask optional approach beginning March 14. Anyone who prefers to continue wearing a mask indoors may freely exercise the personal choice to do so.
- As a result of lifting the mask mandate, the University is also rescinding its restrictions on eating and drinking, events, and visitors, as well as other guidance related to on-campus activities
The University’s decisions to change its masking and other related COVID-19 safety requirements reflect a significant change from what we have become used to. Harvard University’s leaders have taken this step in accordance with applicable public health authorities and with the views of public health and medical experts at the University who have concluded that current public health conditions and guidance, as well as our other ongoing pandemic measures, will allow our campus to take this step safely. They will, of course, continue to monitor conditions and update guidance as necessary.
March 3, 2022
Harvard Law School released the following protocol changes, in adherence with the updated COVID-19 guidance released by the University earlier in the week. Faculty, Fellows, and students at the Program in Islamic Law will be adhering to these protocols.
- Visitors: Restrictions on visitors from outside the Harvard community have been relaxed. However, every visitor must continue to have an official HLS host, who must gather critical COVID-19 safety protocol compliance information in advance of and upon the visitor’s arrival to campus. Outside visitors are still not permitted inside HLS residential facilities. If you plan to bring a visitor to campus, please carefully review and follow the directions included in our updated Visitor Policy.
- Use of HLS Funds for Off-Campus Activities: Faculty, students and staff may once again use HLS funds to sponsor events and activities at indoor restaurants and other off-campus indoor venues.
- Food Service at Indoor Events: Faculty, staff, and students may now serve food during on-campus events in spaces other than the areas previously designated for eating and drinking. For additional information on these changes as well as continuing restrictions, please see the updated Events and Gatherings Policy.
- Masking: At this time, Harvard’s indoor mask mandate remains in place.
- Testing: There are no changes to testing at this time. Please continue to test for COVID-19 on your regular cadence.
You can find the full list of updates, including other important information not detailed below, on HLS’ COVID-19 policies page. They also have updated the related FAQs for students and FAQs for faculty and staff.
February 28, 2022
The University has released the following updated COVID-19 guidance, which we will be adhering to at the Program in Islamic Law. Additionally, we will continue to conduct all events online.
Despite increased infections in January compared with the Fall semester, recent cases have largely been mild thanks to our community’s high vaccination and booster rate. The number of cases in our community have continued to decrease, with a current 0.69% positivity rate. We are carefully monitoring COVID-19 cases and transmission.
I want to share the following updates on our planning:
- Indoor Masking Requirement: For now, Harvard’s indoor masking requirement remains in place.
- Instructor Masking in the Classroom: While we review our broader indoor masking requirements, we are updating our guidance effective March 3 so that Schools may choose to allow unmasked teaching by instructors who wish to do so, if done in accordance with University guidance.
- Testing: All Harvard affiliates with any on-campus presence are still required to test on the schedule that appears in Color.
- Travel: With spring break approaching, you may have traveled or plan to travel. Please maintain safety precautions such as masking in higher risk settings, crowded spaces, and on planes and public transit.
January 5, 2022
The University just announced that they plan to conduct the Spring Term in person. Below is a list of their updated COVID-19 protocols and expectations:
- Vaccination and new booster requirements, which must be verified by January 31 or within 30 days of eligibility.
- Masking effectively through use of high-quality, preferably ATSM- or FDA-approved disposable masks, such as surgical- or cup-style protective masks, layered under a form-fitting fabric mask to minimize air gaps around the edges.
- Pre-arrival testing requirements and testing cadences, information on which can be found in the University’s updated testing protocols.
- Reporting COVID-19 symptoms or a positive non-Harvard COVID-19 test.
All faculty, fellows, and staff at the Program in Islamic Law will be following the University’s guidance as we navigate our upcoming return to campus. Additionally, we will continue to conduct all events online.
December 20, 2021
The University recently announced that, in an effort to reduce density on campus, they have transitioned to remote learning and work for most of the campus during the first few weeks of January. This step was prompted by the rapid rise in COVID-19 cases locally and across the country, as well as the growing presence of the highly transmissible Omicron variant. It is reinforced by the guidance of public health experts who have advised the University throughout the pandemic.
They are planning a return to more robust on-campus activities later in January, public health conditions permitting, and will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates on these plans as soon they are able.
It is critical that we all take steps to reduce risk of contracting and transmitting COVID-19 by getting a vaccine booster, along with masking, minimizing contact, distancing, and testing.
PIL is now closed and all of our staff, fellows, and students are working remotely during the winter term, following this University policy. We will post more updates once we have more information about the Omicron COVID variant, its impact on HLS operations, and any further University guidance.
December 17, 2021
The University recently announced that COVID-19 cases are on the rise and that the Omicron variant is likely present on campus. The released the following guidelines, which we at PIL will be adhering to :
Harvard will require COVID-19 boosters for all members of our community who are eligible, including students, faculty, staff, and researchers (individuals with an approved exemption will not need to submit additional information). We encourage you to get a booster as soon as possible so you can benefit from the added protection. If you are unable to get a booster before you return to campus following the winter break, additional opportunities will be available, and you will not be barred from entering campus.
In early January, they will write with further information as well as post all available information on the University’s Verify Your Vaccination webpage.
December 8, 2021
As we near the end of the semester, the University has released some guidelines for winter break, emphasizing the importance of taking steps to protect ourselves, our colleagues, and our loved ones. We at PIL will be following this guidance, summarized below:
Avoid Unmasked, Indoor Gatherings & Minimize Contact: Please avoid situations and activities that increase the risk of transmission to yourself and others. Continue to be thoughtful when socializing—minimize contact, wear masks indoors and in outdoor group settings where distancing is not possible, and eat and drink safely. If you plan to attend higher risk events, such as crowded indoor gatherings in which you and others might not be wearing masks continuously, get a COVID-19 test far enough in advance to know the results. Do not attend social gatherings if you are feeling sick.
If Traveling, Monitor Conditions & Plan for Contingencies: If you are planning to travel, whether domestically or internationally, pay close attention to the specific requirements for your destination and return to Massachusetts. Get a COVID-19 test early enough to ensure that you have a result before you leave. This reduces the chance that you might expose other travelers along your journey. Keep in mind that requirements could change quickly, depending on local public health situations so plan for contingencies.
Vaccine Boosters : COVID-19 vaccination is required for all members of the Harvard community and is the best defense against the coronavirus. If you are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine booster and haven’t yet received it, please make a booster appointment as soon as possible. For information on scheduling your booster, which is available through most area pharmacies, visit the University’s vaccine webpage. Remember to get your flu vaccine as well.
For more information, visit Keep Harvard Healthy.
November 30, 2021
The University is monitoring developments from the COVID-19 Omicron variant. As of now, there has not been a confirmed case of the Omicron variant in the United States. Experts believe that it is already here, however, and we are seeing increased transmission of COVID-19 across the country, including the Delta variant. An increase was anticipated with the onset of winter and is among the reasons why it is important that we continue to take steps to protect ourselves, our colleagues, and loved ones. The University issued the following guidance, which the Program in Islamic Law adopts:
- Vaccination: The best weapon against the coronavirus, including the Omicron variant, continues to be vaccination. We strongly encourage boosters for everyone who is eligible. For more information on scheduling your vaccination or booster, visit the University’s vaccine webpage.
- Healthy Habits Matter: Your commitment to Keep Harvard Healthy has kept transmission of the coronavirus on campus low throughout this semester. Continue to wear your mask properly indoors and outdoors in crowds; be thoughtful when socializing, including minimizing contact and eating and drinking safely; and if you feel sick, stay home and report your symptoms to Harvard University Health Services (HUHS) through Crimson Clear.
- Post-Travel Protocols and Testing Cadences: With many of us returning from Thanksgiving break travel, it’s important to follow post-travel protocols, including testing on your first day back on campus and adhering to your required testing cadence going forward.
Additionally, all PIL events are remote/virtual this year, and thus will not be accommodating visitors not already part of the Harvard faculty, staff, student community.
October 29, 2021
The University recently updated their COVID-19 travel guidance, which we at the Program in Islamic Law will be following. Additionally, all PIL events are remote/virtual this year, and thus will not be accommodating visitors not already part of the Harvard faculty, staff, student community. Below is a summary of the university’s updated guidance:
- Fully vaccinated: You may travel within the United States and internationally without a petition. You must attest you are fully vaccinated and complete the COVID-19 travel requirements before, during, and after travel.
- Not fully vaccinated: You must continue to petition for approval to travel within the United States or internationally.
- International travel: Regardless of vaccination status, if you are traveling internationally, you must register all Harvard-related international travel with International SOS, the University’s emergency response provider.
September 23, 2021
After months of intense planning and preparation for our return to campus amid the COVID-19 pandemic, we are now a few weeks into the the semester and all is fine. We’ve had our first events online, which brought together members of our global community, with many more lined up for the months ahead. Our faculty, fellows, and students have returned to campus and in-person classes are now underway. Vaccination, testing, tracing, and masking have been central to our return to campus, helping provide safe classroom, research, and workplace environments. We will continue these measures, as outlined by the university, as we continue to navigate this semester as a community.
In an effort to meet a spike in demand for test processing across the University occasioned by the beginning of the new semester, HLS and several other Harvard schools are temporarily switching test kits so that they can utilize the Broad Institute as a secondary lab. Broad Institute testing kits will soon be delivered to, and available at, all previous test kit pick-up locations.
The only effect on you of this change will be a slightly different swabbing process that will be clearly explained in the test kit. Please follow the instructions included in whichever test kit you are using – whether that is the new Broad Institute test kit or the HUCL test kit as both kits will be available for a period of time.
If you have questions about test kits or your testing cadence, please email your questions to the following:
August 20, 2021
HLS recently announced their updated policies and FAQs related to our return to campus. These policies outlined the steps we need to take in returning to campus, which we at the Program in Islamic Law will be following. This is all outlined here on this return to campus checklist, as well as summarized below:
Before you come to campus:
- Verify your vaccination status with Harvard University Health Services immediately, if you have not already done so.
- Review the COVID-19 Safety Awareness Training.
- Take the Self-Administration of COVID-19 Test training.
Your first day on campus:
- Remember to bring your University-approved face covering/mask and please wear it securely over your nose and mouth when and where required.
- Bring your Harvard University ID (HUID). Access to HLS buildings will be limited to HLS and University community members using HUIDs (and their guests under the official visitor policy).
- Create your Color account, which will be used for COVID-19 testing.
- Take your first COVID-19 test (more details here on the return to campus checklist).
Once you have returned to campus:
- Check your Color test results when available and confirm that your last test was negative.
- If you are feeling symptomatic, complete the Crimson Clear Health Attestation and follow the instructions provided.
- Wear a University-approved face covering/maskindoors at all times (except when eating in designated areas).
- Continue testing at your assigned cadence (once per week for vaccinated individuals, twice per week for unvaccinated individuals with an approved exemption).
- Follow good hygiene practices and any University or HLS specific safety requirements.
Much more detail and additional information is available here on the HLS return to campus webpage, including FAQs for faculty and staff. Even more material is available here on the University’s Keeping Harvard Healthy site.
August 18, 2021
All faculty, fellows, and staff at the Program in Islamic Law will be following Harvard University Health Services’ guidance as we navigate our upcoming return to campus amid the evolving public health situation, including the potential impact of the COVID-19 Delta variant.
Harvard University President, Lawrence S. Bacow, recently issued a statement about the COVID-19 pandemic and our upcoming return to campus. In the statement, he outlines the following guidelines:
- Vaccination – Campus-wide vaccination is the best weapon against the coronavirus, including the highly contagious Delta variant. Currently, the vaccination rate for University employees is 93% and for students is 87%. The University will provide updates on vaccination rates on the University’s COVID Dashboard in the coming weeks as we begin the fall semester. Some members of our community will not have access to vaccine until they arrive on campus. They will be able to receive vaccine through Harvard University Health Services (HUHS) upon arrival. All members of our community must verify their vaccination through the university.
- Testing – COVID-19 testing requirements remain in place for every member of the community who is authorized to be on campus, including those who come to campus infrequently. Regular testing will help reduce the spread of the coronavirus on and off campus, help us avoid severe illness in high-risk community members, and limit further mutation of the virus.
- Masking – Masks are highly effective at limiting spread of the coronavirus. The University’s indoor mask requirement remains in place, regardless of vaccination status.
- If You Feel Sick, Stay Home – Stay home if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. Use Crimson Clear to inform us if you are experiencing symptoms, have tested positive outside of the University’s testing program or HUHS, or have a known COVID-19 exposure.
Over the last 18 months, our community has taken steps with two priorities in mind: first, safeguarding the health and safety of our community, and second, ensuring that teaching, learning, and research continue at the highest levels of excellence. As we embark on the fall 2021 semester, we can continue to Keep Harvard Healthy together. Please take a few minutes to visit the University’s Return to Campus webpage, which offers checklists, FAQs, and links to resources.
August 13, 2021
We at the Program in Islamic Law will be following Harvard University Health Services’ guidance as we navigate our upcoming return to campus amid the evolving public health situation.
Harvard Law School has published extensive new policy guidance and FAQs for students, faculty and staff, on its main Return to Campus webpage. This information covers areas ranging from detailed building access for HLS and Harvard University community members, as well as the procedures necessary for inviting visitors, to the public health requirements that must be followed in our classrooms, in planning gatherings, and when eating and drinking on campus. These provisions are designed by Harvard University and HLS to ensure a safe and healthy beginning to the new year, and we appreciate everyone’s partnership and cooperation in that effort. Each of these topics and many more are covered in greater detail on the general Return to Campus webpage.
August 5, 2021
All faculty, fellows, and staff at the Program in Islamic Law will be following Harvard University Health Services’ guidance as we navigate our upcoming return to campus amid the evolving public health situation, including the potential impact of the COVID-19 Delta variant. In addition to the HUHS guidance outlined below, the Program in Islamic Law will also have no on-campus events or visitors.
To help limit the spread of COVID-19 in our community, the University will increase its COVID-19 testing cadence requirements, effective Monday, August 9. The updated testing cadences are as follows and apply to all students, faculty, staff, and researchers with any on-campus presence:
- Fully Vaccinated – once per week
- Unvaccinated, including for medical/religious exemption – twice per week
- Note: Residents in Undergraduate Housing were already required to test at these cadences, so this update does not affect their testing requirements.
- Faculty, staff, and researchers with an infrequent presence on campus are not required to come to campus for the sole purpose of testing. Simply test the next time you are on campus.
Campus-wide vaccination is the best weapon against the coronavirus, including the Delta variant. Fully vaccinated persons are very well protected from severe illness and hospitalization. So please get vaccinated, as soon as possible, if you aren’t already.
Additionally, masks work. They are highly effective at protecting ourselves, colleagues, and our loved ones from infections. With that in mind, the University continues to require masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status.
July 29, 2021
We at the Program in Islamic Law will be following Harvard Law School guidance as we navigate our upcoming return to campus amid the evolving public health situation, including the potential impact of the COVID-19 Delta variant. In addition to the HLS guidance outlined below, the Program in Islamic Law will also have no short-term visitors or events on campus.
- COVID-19 Vaccinations: As previously announced, the University is requiring that every person with an on-campus presence be vaccinated, with exemptions permitted only by submission of a formal request, for medical or religious reasons.
- Face Coverings: The current guidance from the University is that masks will be required for everyone indoors, regardless of vaccination status.
- Physical Distancing: If you are vaccinated, you no longer need to maintain physical distance either indoors or outdoors. If you are not vaccinated, and space is available for you to distance from others, you should continue to do so.
- COVID-19 Testing: Everyone will be required to test on a regular cadence, using easy, self-administered tests provided by the University. If you are vaccinated, you will be expected to test every other week. If you are unvaccinated, you will need to test every week.
- Travel Guidance: Harvard also has revised travel restrictions such that fully vaccinated community members are once again permitted to engage in University-related travel within the U.S. and to certain international destinations. There will be a petition process for unvaccinated individuals to engage in University-related travel and for vaccinated persons to travel to certain higher risk countries.
- Doing More to Stay Healthy: These public health protocols are the minimum standards that each person must follow while on campus (depending on their vaccination status), but every member of our community may choose to do more than what the University is requiring.
- Campus Visitors: While the protocols mentioned above apply to members of our community (and are, as mentioned, subject to change), the University also has established requirements for “official visitors” and the general public. You can find these requirements on this page of the University website.
To ensure that you can always access the most up-to-date information about our return plans, HLS has launched a new HLS Return to Campus website. Because guidance will continue to change, we urge you to visit this site regularly for the latest news.
July 28, 2021
Given the rise in COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts, primarily associated with the Delta variant, Harvard University has released the following guidance:
- Our best weapon against the Delta variant is campus-wide vaccination. We all play a role in protecting our community. Please report your vaccination status to Harvard University Health Services (HUHS) if you have not done so already.
- The vaccines work in preventing serious infections. A small percentage of vaccinated persons have experienced “breakthrough” infections, but these cases tend to have mild or moderate symptoms (or no symptoms).
- Nearly all serious COVID-19 infections are among unvaccinated persons.
- Masks are another highly effective way to protect ourselves, colleagues, and our loved ones. For that reason, the University will continue to require masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status.
We at the Program in Islamic Law will be following this guidance, requiring masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status.
The University is continuing to monitor the situation and will continue to update health and safety guidance as needed. Please check the University’s Return to Campus webpage for the latest guidance and helpful resources for faculty, staff, and researchers during this transition.
Thank you again for your commitment to Keep Harvard Healthy as many more members of our community begin returning to campus in the coming weeks.
July 22, 2021
Extensive planning efforts are now underway, as we approach the return to campus. As we navigate this time of transition and experimentation, we are looking forward to an in-person Fall semester for students and fellows on campus alongside continuing our PIL events online. We continue to follow University and HLS guidelines for travel, health precautions, and a commitment to the four principles that the University has outlined: putting health and safety first, protecting and promoting academic research, leveraging our breadth and diversity, and preserving access.
The “Return to Campus Planning Guide” is continually updated to provide the latest answers to frequently asked questions, information about policies, toolkits and other relevant resources. The latest information on the return to campus can be found on the University’s coronavirus website.
July 8, 2021
As we continue to plan for the start of the fall semester and the return of more of our faculty, staff, researchers, and students in the weeks ahead, we want to share some reminders and updates.
Vaccination against COVID-19 is required by July 15. This applies to all students, faculty, staff, and postdoctoral fellows who will spend any time on Harvard’s campus this fall. If you have begun your vaccination series but not completed it (i.e., you have had only one dose of a two-dose vaccine), please submit information about what has been completed so we know that your vaccination is in process.
Thank you to every member of our community who has already verified their COVID vaccination by submitting it to Harvard University Health Services (HUHS). If you haven’t submitted your verification yet, please visit the Verify Your Vaccination webpage and follow the instructions. If you received your vaccine through HUHS, you do not need to submit any information, as HUHS already has your information on file. HUHS keeps individual medical information secure and confidential.
COVID testing will remain a part of the University’s ongoing efforts to track and limit the coronavirus within our community. New testing frequency requirements take effect on July 28. Your required testing cadence will be determined by factors including whether you live on or off campus, your vaccination status, and infection rates in the local community.
June 25, 2021
All Harvard community members who will have any on-campus presence are now required to provide verification of COVID vaccination to Harvard University Health Services (HUHS). We ask that vaccine verification be submitted by July 15. A high vaccination rate across our community is critical as we continue to consider health and safety guidance and requirements for the fall semester. As we are able to confirm a high vaccination rate, we anticipate being in a position to further ease or lift some requirements, such as indoor masking and distancing.
If you have not yet submitted your vaccine information, there is an updated process using your HarvardKey to access the HUHS Patient Portal. This process is available to all Harvard students, staff, faculty, and researchers, even if you are not an HUHS patient. Instructions for submitting are available on the Verify Your Vaccination webpage. If you have already submitted your vaccine card to HUHS through email or Accellion Kiteworks, you do not need to resubmit it. Additionally, if you received your vaccination through HUHS, you do not need to submit any information, as HUHS already has your information on file. HUHS keeps individual medical information secure and confidential.
Individuals may claim exemption from the vaccine requirement for medical or religious reasons. Students claiming an exemption should complete the Student Vaccine Exemption Form. Faculty, staff, and researchers wishing to claim an exemption to the vaccine requirement will be able to do so starting in early July. Please check the Verify Your Vaccination webpage in early July for the process for claiming an exemption. Unvaccinated individuals may be subject to additional public health measures (e.g., masking, testing) above and beyond what is required of vaccinated individuals.
Harvard Vaccine Clinics
HUHS is holding COVID-19 vaccine clinics each week through the end of August. Vaccine appointments are open to all students, staff, faculty, researchers and HUHS patients, and can be scheduled through the HUHS Patient Portal.
For international students and others who may not currently have access to a vaccine, the University plans to offer vaccination on arrival to campus. Please note, however, that you may be subject to additional requirements, such as more frequent testing, until you are considered fully vaccinated.
May 12, 2021
Harvard University hopes to be able to offer a less restricted, robust on-campus experience this fall. The latest information on the return to campus can be found on the University’s coronavirus website.
To repopulate campus in the summer and fall, Harvard expects to continue to draw upon health and safety protocols that have helped to keep our community members safe during the current academic year. A key feature will be continued regular coronavirus testing, which will enable Harvard to monitor the status and impact of the virus on campus. Updates regarding testing requirements, frequency, and other specific guidelines will be forthcoming.
To reach the high levels of vaccination needed to protect our community, Harvard will require COVID vaccination for all students who will be on campus this fall. As with existing student requirements for other vaccines, exceptions will be provided only for medical or religious reasons. For international students and any others unable to access an FDA- or WHO-authorized vaccine before the fall, the University plans to offer vaccination on arrival. Harvard expects that faculty, staff, and researchers working on campus will make every effort to be vaccinated as well. Further guidance regarding vaccination expectations will be provided in the near future. For more about the requirements, how to submit documentation, or to ask questions on the vaccine, please consult the Harvard University Health Services (HUHS) website.
Harvard University has issued new travel guidance effective May 15, 2021. Harvard faculty, students, postdoctoral fellows, and staff who are fully vaccinated may undertake Harvard-related travel within the U.S., or to any country rated Level 1 or Level 2 for COVID-19 by the CDC. Harvard faculty, doctoral students, postdoctoral fellows, and staff who are not fully vaccinated or who wish to travel to a country rated Level 3, Level 4, or Level Unknown for COVID-19 regardless of their vaccination status, may petition for an exemption to Harvard’s travel restriction if they meet certain criteria.
The Program in Islamic Law at Harvard Law School adheres to Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Harvard University, and Harvard Law School directives and protocols.
November 13, 2020
Harvard University has issued updated Coronavirus Workplace Policies. Unless otherwise advised, all staff, faculty, and academic personnel should plan to continue to work remotely through June 30, 2021. Effective January 15, 2021, idled Harvard employees whose work cannot be performed due to the COVID-19 public health emergency may use the emergency excused absence benefit to sustain up to 70% of their regular pay. Also, the University’s 2020 winter recess will now begin on Monday, December 21 rather than at noon on Thursday, December 24.
The Program in Islamic Law at Harvard Law School adheres to Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Harvard University, and Harvard Law School directives and protocols.
October 20, 2020
Dean Manning announced today that Harvard Law School will remain online for the Winter and Spring 2021 Terms due to increasing risks and uncertainties associated with the pandemic and seasonal interactions. Nevertheless, the entire Law School, including the Program in Islamic Law, will remain open and active virtually.
Students will be provided with enhanced support through additional Teaching Fellow positions, new on-campus housing options for students encountering unexpected challenges, emergency dependent care support, renewed support for the Technology Assistance Fund, stipends for textbook shipping expenses for international students, student funding for printing course packs, and streamlining the class recording request process. The extension for students to apply for voluntary leaves of absence for Winter and Spring 2021 has been extended to December 1, 2020.
All HLS research programs remain committed to the work and to supporting the student experience by building an inclusive and equally accessible community of learning and service.
August 20, 2020
Harvard University has extended its prohibition on University-related domestic and international travel and continues to strongly discourage personal travel. Those who require travel for work directly and immediately related to the COVID-19 pandemic or that enables critical research activities may file for the petition process with the Office of the Vice Provost for International Affairs. The prohibition does not affect student and personnel returning to Cambridge/Boston for the purposes of regular work or moving into on-campus housing. All those traveling or returning to Massachusetts must comply with the Massachusetts Travel Order.
August 7, 2020
The Program in Islamic Law at Harvard Law School will continue to work entirely remotely through at least the end of the 2020 calendar year. For any students returning to campus, beginning August 16, recurring COVID-19 testing will be required. The University’s test results website details comprehensive next steps, including contact tracing in case of a positive test result.
Timely communication is essential and all students, staff, and affiliates are asked to keep mobile phones and electronic devices powered and on hand.
Please refer to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health as well as all Harvard University and Harvard Law School directives, particularly as regards travel arriving from outside of Massachusetts.
June 15, 2020
Harvard Law School has announced that the Fall Term 2020 will be fully operational and online. The Program in Islamic Law will also remain fully operational as a virtual center. The Program will continue to follow Harvard University and Harvard Law School directives on reopening on-campus operations. Decisions as regard Spring Term 2021 have not been made.
All COVID-19 related updates as concern the Program in Islamic Law will continue to be posted to this dedicated webpage.
May 20, 2020
The May 19 Massachusetts reopening announcement by the Office of the Governor does not affect the current remote operations of the Program in Islamic Law. The Program will follow Harvard University and Harvard Law School guidance on reopening and operations.
All COVID-19 related updates as concern the Program in Islamic Law will continue to be posted to this dedicated webpage.
May 5, 2020
Please consult the Harvard University and Harvard Law School dedicated sites for updates on Covid-19, which we follow. Harvard University remains operational. The University will be open for the Fall 2020 semester in some form with it yet to be announced whether on-campus activities will resume. For Program in Islamic Law (PIL) specific updates, please check this dedicated PIL Covid-19 site.
PIL Events & Activities:
Although all in-person events are canceled until further notice, PIL continues to engage the University and global communities through online platforms with new content, podcasts, and remote learning.
The SHARIAsource Portal and Islamic Law Blog have new content encompassing an expanded set of primary source content and new collections of Islamic law research—including weekly roundups from around the world on Covid-19 and Islamic law, scholarship roundups, and guest blog posts by leading and emerging scholars of Islamic law on new scholarship, pedagogy, and other recent developments in Islamic law.
March 16, 2020
Program in Islamic Law Updates
Events: All events are canceled until further notice, but podcasts featuring current fellows and recent book authors will be available later this semester. Updates will be posted through regular channels.
Harvard Library Resources: As announced this week on the Harvard Libraries dedicated site for Covid-19 updates, all university libraries are closed, and all print-based services (including borrowing returns, and Scan & Deliver) are suspended until further notice. For Islamic and Middle Eastern law questions, library liaisons remain available for research consultations, general questions, and troubleshooting via email and Zoom; contact them at [email protected] or [email protected]. They compiled the following advice for Harvard affiliates needing to access materials in Islamic and Middle Eastern studies at this time:
Electronic Materials: There is a lot more now available online, either open access or via HarvardKey, than was available even just last week. Many of the publishers and vendors that provide our online resources are stepping up and offering free or expanded access during this time. It’ll be a good idea to get in the habit of doing a three-point check for any one item or topic: 1) HOLLIS, 2) the likeliest database, and 3) Google or your web search of choice. For remote access to Arabic monographs, this is a reminder that Arabic Collections Online can be a useful resource that provides access to scanned collection material. Please do consult our Guide for Harvard Middle East Collection for tips on searching: https://guides.library.harvard.edu/mideast. In addition to the generous Harvard resources, the Middle East Librarians Association (MELA) is also active and sharing resources and support. You can always send specific citations or topic-based requests my way and take advantage of our greater network of librarians that may be able to resource materials.
Teaching Remotely: For instructors and faculty, please be in touch if you are missing course reserves, have upcoming assignments that require library research, or would like to offer a virtual library session via Zoom. Harvard Library has been gathering an inventory of Library resources and materials to support your remote classroom teaching: https://library.harvard.edu/how-to/use-library-resources-remote-teaching
PIL Resources. The SHARIAsource Portal and the Islamic Law Blog will continue to operate and provide primary source content and scholarly context to various issues in Islamic law. This includes updates from around the world on Covid-19 & Islamic Law, weekly scholarship roundups, reviews of recent cases, and topical commentary by leading and emerging scholars of Islamic law who post as guest bloggers on new scholarship, pedagogy, and other recent developments in Islamic law or who provide material often of relevance to research interests or teaching use.
March 11, 2020
Program in Islamic Law Updates
- Events: PIL will no longer hold scheduled events on campus during this period. For news on each event and other updates, please check this dedicated PIL/Covid-19 site. For events that PIL co-sponsors, please seek additional information from the principal event hosts. For out-of-state events, please follow University guidance in cancelling travel that may relate to the Program in Islamic Law; all University-related non-essential travel is prohibited both domestically and internationally through at least 4/30.
- Operations: PIL will continue our regular operations remotely, to the extent possible. Our offices and workspace will be closed for the remainder of the semester. If you have not already, please consult the University tools for remote access and work.
Thank you for your patience as we deal with a rapidly changing situation. Please use your best discretion to take all precautions to stay safe and healthy.