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coronavirus

Image credit: Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAM

Coronavirus Information

NSF encourages you to take extra precautions to protect yourselves and your families against COVID-19. Visitors are required to self-screen and not enter the building if they have symptoms or have COVID-19. If the Community Level in Alexandria is HIGH, all individuals are required to wear high-quality masks in the NSF building. If you are an NSF employee looking for guidance, please visit InsideNSF. If you are a member of the public, please visit cdc.gov.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the research community has faced unprecedented challenges that have tested the people and infrastructure that make up the U.S. scientific research enterprise. Despite these difficulties, you have continued doing the scientific work that creates opportunities, spurs innovation, and improves quality of life for individuals, families and communities across the U.S. The U.S. National Science Foundation plays a unique role in supporting the undergraduate, graduate students, postdocs, and early career faculty who represent the future of science, engineering, and STEM Education in the U.S. This support will remain a top priority for NSF as we seek to recover from the pandemic. This includes support for individuals as well as institutions that serve members of historically underrepresented groups. NSF continues to offer opportunities that can help bolster early-career researchers, students and others in the scientific enterprise who may be in a difficult situation due to the pandemic. Please do not hesitate to reach out to your NSF program manager should you be in need of assistance.

Federal Guidance on Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Antarctic COVID Containment Update

November 23, 2022 – McMurdo station continues to see a reduction in positive cases. Personnel who were already in Christchurch awaiting deployment arrived safely on station 20 November.

The safety and well-being of our researchers and staff remains NSF's top priority. NSF continues modified entry plans to Antarctica and is closely monitoring the number of positive cases. The assessment of impacts to deployed research projects is ongoing.


November 17, 2022 – Following the two-week pause on travel, McMurdo station has had zero (0) new cases identified in the last four days. There are 29 total active cases, including those who have tested positive in the last 10 days. As a result of the decrease in positivity rates, the U.S. National Science Foundation will resume modified entry plans to Antarctica. Beginning no sooner than Saturday, November 19, those who were already in Christchurch awaiting deployment when the pause was implemented will transit to McMurdo station after two negative Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT). Those bound for South Pole or deep field camps will enter the 5-day isolation period and test again before proceeding to their destination from McMurdo station.

The safety and well-being of our researchers and staff continues to be NSF's top priority. Unfortunately, the steps needed to protect those already on the ice, and future arrivals will impact deployed research projects in Antarctica.

During the coming weeks, NSF will be adjusting deployment plans for the season and will continue to monitor the number of positive cases so we can respond accordingly.


November 7, 2022 – In NSF's ongoing efforts to contain the breakout of Covid cases in Antarctica, the following changes are being implemented upon arrival on station.

  • Five days in isolation are required before transiting to South Pole, Deep Field, and a negative test.
  • Those testing positive will be required to isolate for five days then mask an additional five days and will return to work after two negative tests.

Currently, of the total population of 993 in McMurdo Station, we have 64 active cases and there have been 98 positive tests since the beginning of October. Most have mild symptoms and are isolating in their rooms.

NSF will continue to provide updates as new information is available.


November 5, 2022 – Consistent with the U.S. National Science Foundation's commitment to balance research and operational needs while containing the spread of Covid cases in Antarctica, NSF is implementing a pause* on all travel to the continent for the next two weeks, effective immediately, while we reassess the situation.

At the current rate of infection of 10% of the deployed population, our expert epidemiologist highly recommends KN-95 masks be worn at all times and NSF will ensure these are available to all residents at McMurdo.

*The pause does not apply to essential travel required for health and safety reasons.

NSF Plan for Workplace Safety

NSF Guidance

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on NSF Guidance

Research on Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Coronavirus Factsheets (COVID-19)

Blog Posts (COVID-19)