Coronavirus Information for the HMS Community

  • Campus Access

    Harvard Medical School is not inviting everyone back to campus at this time. The HMS campus is considered closed with the exception of those wet and dry lab personnel, essential staff, postdocs and students who are authorized and have received an exception to be in HMS campus buildings. All other HMS personnel will continue to work remotely through the end of June 2021. For those seeking episodic access to campus buildings, there is an established approval process starting with obtaining advance approval from your local department or unit designee.

    To keep Harvard as healthy as possible, all members of the HMS community who are authorized to be on campus must adhere to Harvard University, state and federal guidelines to prevent and control and spread of COVID-19. Click here to review the facilities, office and lab requirements and steps that must be followed before you return and while you are on campus.

    Among these important steps, lab personnel must complete the Lab COVID-19 Awareness Training (EHS-C19LAB170) and all other individuals must complete the COVID-19 Safety Awareness Training (EHS-C19OSG170) before they can return to campus. In addition, individuals must complete the Crimson Clear health attestation before entering any HMS or Harvard facility (see details below). Those who are authorized to be on campus more than four hours per week must also follow the Harvard testing policies and refer to the HMS guidelines outlined below.

    Additionally, those working and living in Vanderbilt Hall or other Harvard on-campus housing must also abide by all dorm and House residence requirements. Any visitors and residents entering Massachusetts must also comply with both the Massachusetts Travel Order and Harvard’s Post-Travel COVID Testing and Quarantine Policy. As these orders and policies are often updated, frequent review of these sites is advised.

    Please follow the guidelines and policies outlined below for returning to campus.

    Health Attestation (Crimson Clear)

    Individuals who are authorized to be in HMS buildings must use Crimson Clear every day they are on campus. Before arriving on campus each day, complete a symptom attestation through the Crimson Clear web page. If you are cleared, you will receive a “clear” pass, which is valid for 23 hours. If you are not cleared, a Harvard University Health Services clinician will call you during regular business hours to determine next steps before you can enter a Harvard facility. Those living in Vanderbilt Hall will not be barred from their residence.

    Crimson Clear can also be used to confirm that you are on the eligibility file for COVID-19 testing. Just follow these steps:

    1. Log in to Crimson Clear
    2. In the upper right corner, select your name and Profile
    3. The COVID Testing Information page will appear with your testing profile information

    Keeping Harvard Healthy

    Members of the HMS community are asked to reference these resources for reducing the risk and spread of COVID-19, as well as managing fear, anxiety and stress. Additionally, please adhere to room capacity signs posted inside campus buildings. Informal outdoor gatherings are limited to no more than 10 people, who must adhere to physical distancing guidelines of at least six feet apart. Face coverings are also required on campus, inside and outside.

  • Testing

    To keep Harvard healthy, the University has deployed high-frequency viral testing for those community members who are authorized to have a regular presence on campus. Per the Harvard testing policies, the frequency of testing varies—either ad hoc, one, two or three times per week—based on whether individuals live in Vanderbilt Hall, work in residential housing, work elsewhere on campus, or have a regular presence (four hours or more per week) on campus.

    All testing is being conducted through unobserved self-collection. Harvard has partnered with The Broad Institute and Color, a health testing company, to administer the University’s testing procedures, including providing testing kits, managing alerts for regular testing, and delivering test results to individuals.

    Review the important testing eligibility guidelines, frequencies and logistics below.

    Testing Eligibility

    In accordance with University testing policies, COVID-19 testing is available only to HMS students, postdocs and employees who are authorized by their HMS department or unit to be in campus buildings for four hours or more per week, and to students living in Vanderbilt Hall. At present, postdocs and employees who are employed by or have a primary academic appointment at a hospital or affiliated institution are ineligible for Harvard testing.

    The only current exception to this rule is hospital employees who have been cleared by HMS departments and are included on HMS wet lab Phase-2/Phase-2B ramp-up personnel lists and plans. In addition, HMS master’s students and PhD students who are approved to work for more than four hours a week in a lab that is primarily affiliated with a Harvard hospital can now request to receive testing through Harvard. Medical students can request to receive testing through Harvard via this form. Please note that PhD students and HMS master’s students working in non-hospital labs at HMS or at FAS should continue to access testing through their PI and department’s normal process.

    Those who meet the eligibility requirements will be added to the testing eligibility lists. Testing eligibility data is managed by local department administrators or their designees through the Ramp-Up Lab Personnel (RULP) Database (for HMS wet and dry lab members on Phase-2/Phase-2B plans) or the HMS Campus Access Request (HCAR) Database (for other departments and units). Updated testing eligibility data is downloaded from RULP and HCAR on Tuesdays and Thursdays after 12 noon and sent to HUIT. Color receives the updated files on Wednesday and Friday mornings. Thus, individuals added to RULP on a Monday will not show up in the Color eligibility file until Wednesday morning after 8 a.m.

    If you would like to confirm whether you are on the eligibility file for COVID-19 testing, follow these steps:

    1. Log in to Crimson Clear
    2. In the upper right corner, select your name and Profile
    3. The COVID Testing Information page will appear with your testing profile information

    Testing Frequency

    All members of our community who are authorized to live, work or learn on campus are required to test regularly. The frequency of testing varies—either ad hoc, one, two or three times per week—based on whether individuals live in Vanderbilt Hall, work in residential housing, work elsewhere on campus, or have a regular presence (four hours or more per week) on campus. If you have not already done so, please review the University’s testing requirements.

    Specific testing frequencies for HMS populations are outlined here:

    • Group A, 3 days per week: Those living in Vanderbilt Hall or other on-campus, congregate housing. Individuals select three days to test each week.
    • Group B, 2 days per week: Faculty/staff who live off-campus but work in Vanderbilt Hall or other on-campus residential buildings (dorms) or have high contact with students and students who are on Phase-2/Phase-2B plans who are on campus more than one day per week. Individuals select two non-consecutive days to test each week.
    • Group C, 1 day per week: Those authorized to be in HMS campus buildings regularly for four or more hours per week but do not live in Vanderbilt Hall or other on-campus housing. Individuals select a consistent day to test each week.
    • Group D, ad hoc: Those authorized to come to campus on an ad-hoc or episodic basis. This group also includes those who come to campus regularly for a period of time but then occasionally work remotely. Individuals decide which week(s) to test based on the duration of their on-site presence.
    • NA, not eligible: Those who are not/no longer eligible to be tested.

    Please note that given the nature of HMS’ research and education, most members of the HMS community who are authorized to be on campus have been added to Group D. Those in Group D who are on campus for four or more hours per week may test weekly. HMS students who will be on campus more than one day a week can request two tests per week and pick them up on the same visit.

    Important reminder: This testing plan is subject to modification if the public health situation indicates changes in community risk.

    Color Account Set-up

    Those eligible for HMS testing must first create a Color account. This is a critical step as you cannot access a test kit until you have successfully activated your Color account. If you need assistance setting up your Color account, email If you believe you are authorized to be on campus but are denied access to create a Color account, please notify your department or unit administrator.

    During the account registration process, users choose their preferred email to be their login name and the address where they will receive notifications. That address can be a Harvard email address or a personal email address. The system sends a message to that email account, which the user must access in order to proceed with account creation. If that email address does not match any email address sent by Harvard to Color in the eligibility file, the user will be asked to provide their “organization” email address, which is their official Harvard email address. Users need to access their official Harvard email account once, to verify their identity, but all future interactions will be via the email address selected by the user. Those unsure of their official Harvard email address can check it here. If Color does not recognize your email address, refer to the HUIT Color End User Support FAQ. If that does not help, contact HUIT at

    Test Kit Pick-up

    Test kits can be picked up at the HMS New Research Building on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 8 a.m. until noon and from 2 to 4 p.m., and on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6 to 10 a.m. Please use the 77 Avenue Louis Pasteur entrance and be ready to show the attendant your Harvard ID and the Color app displaying your eligibility. Important reminder: Test kits should be picked up on a day when you already plan to be on campus; do not come to campus for the sole purpose of picking up a test kit, with the exception of adhering to Harvard’s Post-Travel COVID Testing and Quarantine Policy.


    Each testing kit contains information on how to administer the self-test. A helpful self-paced training module is also available in the Harvard Training Portal. Please follow the steps detailed below. Important reminders: Self-swabbing in common spaces is strictly prohibited. Self-swabbing is permitted in restrooms.

    1. Plan to swab the day you will be dropping off your kit.
    2. Activate the tube with your Color account so they know it is yours.
    3. Wash your hands and find a clean place to test.
    4. Use only one tube for each test day.
    5. Be sure to obtain the sample correctly.
    6. Push the cap back onto the tube and make sure it is tightly secured.
    7. Completely seal the bag so your tube doesn’t fall out.

    Test Kit Drop-off

    Completed swabs should be dropped off at a collection point on the ground floor of the HMS New Research Building, located at 77 Avenue Louis Pasteur. You will need to enter a barcode in your Color account so that the test is associated with your account. You may drop off your sample at any time the NRB is open, but for faster turnaround of results it’s best to drop it off by 2 p.m.

  • Vaccine Information

    Distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine at Harvard is being managed centrally by Harvard University Health Services (HUHS) in accordance with the commonwealth of Massachusetts’ vaccine delivery plan. For the most current information, please refer to the COVID-19 Vaccine Information available on the Harvard University and HUHS web pages.

    For information about how the University has prepared for the arrival of vaccine, where we are now in the process of vaccinating the Harvard community, and why it’s so important for everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated against COVID-19, please refer to this Jan. 19 Gazette Q&A with HUHS Executive Director Giang Nguyen.

    This Q&A includes the following highlights:

    • We are currently in Phase 1 of the commonwealth’s vaccine distribution plan, which includes COVID-facing healthcare workers, those in long-term care facilities and congregate settings, first responders, home-based health care workers, and health care workers doing non-COVID-facing care.
    • Thus far, HUHS has received two small shipments of the Moderna vaccine and, in accordance with the commonwealth’s Phase 1 plan, has vaccinated physicians, nurses, support staff, and housekeeping staff at HUHS Urgent Care. Also included were members of the Harvard School of Dental Medicine who provide emergency dental services and medical students working directly with patients who did not receive vaccine through one of the affiliate hospitals, as they also might be exposed to COVID-19 in their work.
    • HUHS intends to make the vaccine available to the entire Harvard campus community in accordance with Phase 3 of state’s vaccine distribution plan, which is predicted to begin sometime between April and June. 
    • A single dose of the vaccine is not going to provide immediate, or complete, benefit. Even after completing the full two-dose series, you will not have 100 percent immunity. For this reason, we are still advising at this point that anyone who is vaccinated continue to follow guidelines for mask-wearing, physical distancing, and hygiene, and where applicable, viral testing, as there is still incomplete data on whether the vaccine will prevent individuals from spreading the virus to others, even if it does protect them from getting sick.
  • Campus Status

    Under current guidelines in Phase 3 of Massachusetts’ reopening plan, higher education institutions may allow individuals to return to campus in line with strict protocols for certain activities.

    Academics: Given the uniqueness of the HMS medical dental and graduate programs, which run for 12 months and emphasize hands-on learning, in-person research and clinical experiences are continuing for medical and graduate students in close adherence to institutional guidelines and public health developments. A limited number of students have been authorized to live in Vanderbilt Hall, adhering to the University’s Dorm and Residence Requirements.

    Public health guidelines continue to limit the capacity of HMS’ spaces, which therefore are being prioritized for activities that must happen in person such as wet lab research and clinical education. Given this, for spring 2021 (January through June), MD, DMD and dental advanced graduate education programs will follow a hybrid model, with didactic material taught and learned via Zoom, while physical exams, clinical skills, hands-on laboratory exercises and research in labs, and certain other course content will be conducted in person. All master’s degree and PhD classes will continue to be offered online only, with the exception of lab, clinical research and other integral components which will take place in person. External education programs, courses, workshops and events will continue remotely.

    Research: Research activities have resumed in wet labs on campus following HMS, University and state guidelines. For more information, please refer to the following: Important HMS Lab Reopening Information, HMS Lab Reopening Phase-2 Checklist and HMS COVID-19 Advisory Team. Please also see these University guidelines and policies: Lab & Office RequirementsReturn-to-Campus Work Guidelines for Researchers and University workplace policies.

    Workforce: Most Harvard faculty, other academic personnel and staff will continue to work remotely through at least the end of June 2021, unless directed otherwise by local leadership and managers. Individuals authorized to work on campus by their manager should review Office & Lab Requirements and the updated University workplace policies.

  • Harvard University Coronavirus Website

  • Managing Stress and Anxiety

    • Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Here are some available resources:
      • Watch the HMS Coping with Coronavirus web series for help dealing with daily stress, anxiety, and a range of other emotions
      • The Ombuds Office serving HMS, HSDM and Harvard Chan School is available to support faculty, staff, students, trainees and affiliate institution appointees with any issue impacting work or studies, including concerns surrounding COVID-19. Ombuds Melissa Brodrick and Justin Neiman are available for Zoom, phone and Skype appointments. Call 617-432-4041 or email Robin Cheung
      • Review the Harvard University Health Services guide to help manage fear and anxiety.
      • Participate in webinars and remote workshops offered by the Harvard Longwood Campus.
      • Access the free Coronavirus Sanity Guide, including meditations, podcasts, blog posts and talks offered by Ten Percent Happier.
      • Contact the Employee Assistance Program to speak with a mental health professional.
  • On Campus Services

    Dining Services

    Elements Café is open Monday-Friday, 11:15 a.m.-6 p.m., for deli, grill and daily specials along with grab-and-go snacks, salads, fresh fruit, drinks, coffee and more.

    Courtyard Cafe is open Monday-Friday, 7 a.m.-2 p.m., for deli, daily specials, grab-and-go snacks, salads, drinks, fresh fruit, coffee and more.

    Elements and Courtyard Cafés are seating one guest per table per HMS Guidelines.

    Parking & Transportation

    New Commuter Rail Flex Pass and 90-day Expired Ticket Waiver:

    • Starting July 1st, the MBTA will offer a five-day Flex Pass on the Commuter Rail. The pass is part of a pilot program, running between July 1st and September 30th, to address changing travel patterns due to the gradual reopening from COVID-19.
    • The Flex Pass is good for five round trip tickets that don’t have to be used on consecutive days. It is only available on the mTicket app, and will be 10% cheaper than buying five round trip tickets on separate days. The pass is good for thirty days after purchase.
    • Along with this, the MBTA announced a one-time extension of its Commuter Rail ticket expiration policy. On June 22nd, Commuter Rail riders will be allowed to used expired tickets that were valid on March 10th for the next 90 days. For mTicket users, the tickets will be automatically pushed to the app.

    Update on MBTA Bus and Silver Line Services Serving the LMA:

    • The MBTA returned to normal service levels for most buses, trains and rapid transit. Learn more about fall service changes and check your bus route.

    • These routes run with reduced service: 4, 18, 43, 52, 55, 79, 91, 92, 99, 216, 236, 245, 354, 426, CT2, SL1, and SL2.

    • These routes are suspended: 62, 76, 84, 170, 325, 326, 351, 352, 428, 434, 451, 456, 502, 503, and 505.

    • MASCO shuttles have been operating at a reduced frequency, but will increase as ridership grows. Supplementary service to accommodate shift changes will be added.
    • Please refer to the MASCO website for details on mask wearing, cleaning and disinfecting protocols, physical distancing measures and other advisories.
    • Please let us know your experience on these routes by completing this comment card


    • Effective July 7, non-monthly parkers may park at the rate of $18 per day (reduced from $25 per day), or will have the option to park from 2 p.m. until midnight for $10.
    • Monthly parking options are as follows:
      • Monthly Permit: $319.00 per month (24/7 monthly permit holders can access their assigned garage or space 24 hours per day, 7 days per week)
      • 3-day Permit: $191.40 per month (3 days of parking per week)
      • 2-day Permit: $127.60 per month (2 days of parking per week)
      • Note: 2-day and 3-day parking options are programmed for specific days of the week on parkers’ IDs. Please contact the HMS Commuter Service and Parking Office to discuss alternative days.
      • If you select one of these monthly options, we strongly recommend using payroll deduction either quarterly, semi-annually or annually. This will allow you to reduce the cost of your permit by up to 35 percent because the cost will be subtracted from your gross earnings before taxes are applied. The pre-tax limit for 2020 is $270.00 per month.
    • Daily parking options are as follows:
      • Online daily parking permit (1 full-day of parking, weekdays, purchased online via debit or credit card): $18.00/day
      • Reserved daily parking pass (1 day of parking, reserved online and billed internally via 33-digit code): $18.00/day
      • Discounted $10 On-campus Afternoon Parking (Weekdays from 2 p.m. until midnight) in the NRB or Quad garage
        • Prior to coming to campus, parkers must go online to the HU Daily Parking Permit System to purchase their daily permit.
        • Choose the location noting HU NRB or Quad Garage option specific to after 2:00 p.m., $10.00 weekday rate.
        • Follow the instructions to make your reservation and process your debit or credit card payment.
        • Print the parking permit and present it to the garage attendant upon arrival at the garage.
        • Parkers using this option must arrive after 2 p.m. and before 7 p.m. (so the attendant can provide the parking card). All daily parking cards expire at midnight.
    • After-hour parking permits are available to HLC employees at the cost of $170 per year.
      • The after-hour parker’s Harvard ID is valid at an assigned garage between 5 p.m. and 5 a.m. Monday through Friday and all day on weekends and Harvard holidays.
    • Daily Parking at Van Ness Garage
      • A $10 per day discounted parking rate (normally $38 per day) has been arranged for HMS/HSDM/HSPH faculty, staff and students through April 2021 at the Van Ness Parking Garage.
      • The Van Ness Parking Garage is easily accessible to and from the HMS/HSDM campus. Parkers will have the option of walking or taking one of three MASCO-operated shuttles. The Landmark, Fenway and M2 shuttles make frequent stops along Brookline Avenue on their return (Southbound) to the Longwood Medical Area. For shuttle stops and schedules, please visit the MASCO Shuttle website and use the TransLoc for real-time shuttle locations.
      • Details about accessing the Van Ness Garage:
        • The entrance to the garage is located at 61 Richard B Ross Way.
        • Pull a ticket from the ticket dispenser upon entering the garage.
        • Retain the dispensed parking ticket and bring it to campus.
        • Upon checking in with HMS Security (located at G/E link, C/E link, or the NRB Security Desk), show the security officer your Van Ness Garage parking ticket.
        • The security officer will then issue a Van Ness Garage chaser ticket.
        • When returning to the garage, use the pedestrian accesses located on Kilmarnock or on Boylston Street (via Target when store open).
        • When driving up to the exit gate at the garage, insert the dispensed parking ticket, then scan the chaser ticket. The rate will automatically reduce to $10.
        • The chaser expires 12 hours after the parking ticket is dispensed. Normal garage parking rates apply after 12 hours.
        • Present your method of payment for the $10 parking fee.
      • Possible extension of this reduced rate beyond November 2020 is dependent on capacity demands in the garage. Any possible extension will be communicated.
    • Additional parking options may be available through your department. Please contact your department administrator for more information.
    • For parking related questions please contact the HMS Commuter Services and Parking Office

    Countway Library

  • Additional disease-related resources