Today, Harvard Art Museums announced a new public safety policy, due to go into effect on September 28, that will require visitors to show proof of vaccination or documentation of a negative COVID-19 test to enter. (Visitors are already required to wear masks and make reservations in advance.) The change comes amid news of a spate of campus cases: in an email to the Harvard community on Thursday last, the director of university health services Giang T. Nguyen said that during the seven days, Harvard had identified 94 new positive cases among students, professors and staff, despite a very high vaccination rate: 95 per percent of employees and 93 percent of students are fully immunized. The highly contagious Delta variant “continues to spread nationally and locally,” Nguyen wrote.
As a result, Harvard will increase the frequency of testing for people living in undergraduate housing from once a week to three times a week. The University has also expanded its indoor mask mandate to include strength and conditioning facilities. Boston and Cambridge also recently reinstated their indoor mask mandates. And Crimson Jam, the College Events Board’s annual concert and block party, originally scheduled for this week, has been postponed indefinitely.
In the museums’ announcement of the enhanced security policy, which applies to visitors aged 12 and over, Cabot director Martha Tedeschi said museum officials “were keeping an eye on the evolution of the public health crisis ”and“ would continue to implement a tiered approach to public health measures. Museums are one of the few places on campus now open to the public.