Guidance for HMS Community around Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Harvard University and Harvard Medical School are closely monitoring the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak. The health, safety and well-being of our community, on and off campus, is our top priority. We will continue to update the community regularly to keep you informed.
Harvard University guidance and policies:
All Harvard faculty, staff and students must follow the University's policies and guidelines found on this webpage: Harvard University coronavirus webpage. This web page includes important guidance for remote courses, travel policies, campus restrictions and visiting or returning to campus.
For all illness related questions and guidance, visit Harvard University Health Services' page on coronavirus.
Harvard Medical School community guidance:
HMS students and DMD students enrolled in HMS courses:
The School’s educational mission will continue uninterrupted, but in a modified format. We are working to ensure that our faculty and students are supported as we move to virtual classes, and we know that many have already made this transition or will do so by the March 23 deadline.
These guidelines for remote classes apply to Quad-based courses. Clinical experiences for medical and dental students will continue to follow the guidelines issued on March 6.
Given that portions of the HMS learning environment are largely hands-on and that medical students need to complete rotations and patient exams to meet graduation requirements, we plan to proceed with clinical activities and will work with our affiliated hospitals to employ heightened protocols aimed at ensuring the safety of students, patients, staff and faculty.
Graduate students can continue to pursue their laboratory research after consulting with their research supervisors. For those of you who have dual roles at other Harvard schools or HMS-affiliated hospitals and research institutions, we ask that you follow their policies and guidelines if they are more restrictive.
- Government guidance issued on March 10 assures us that international students can participate in online classes without concern for their immigration status, provided they continue to make normal progress in a full course of study as required by federal regulations.
We recommend students not be involved in the care of patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19.
- Exception: HMS students on their required sub-internship in medicine may be involved as part of a care team with undiagnosed respiratory illnesses.
- Students experiencing new onset of a fever >100.0 F or signs of a new respiratory illness (worsening cough, etc.) should contact their course/clerkship director, and if during the PCE, your PCE director, fill out the HMS absence notification form and STAY at home.
- Students should NOT enter HMS facilities or clinical environments until fever-free without medication and without myalgia for >24 hours.
- Please follow Harvard University and HUHS guidance regarding travel restrictions.
- The HMS Absence Policy will also be flexible to allow learning from home (or virtual education from home) when feasible in cases of student illness or quarantine.
- 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.
- Campus Services and Facilities: The HMS campus remains open despite the move to remote work and learning by faculty, staff and students. We are very grateful to our dedicated staff who continue to report to campus every day to support campus functions.
- Building access: We will be moving to card access only for Quad buildings at three specific locations—Goldenson, Building C/TMEC link, and the NRB—beginning Wednesday, March 18, at 5 p.m. for approved essential personnel in accordance with the shutting down of labs and research cores. Access to buildings not connected to the Quad will be limited to essential personnel, as determined by departmental leadership.
- Campus housing: All remaining residents of Vanderbilt Hall have been asked to relocate to housing at Harvard Business School. This follows the decision the week of March 9, when first-year medical students and first-, second- and third-year dental students were asked to move out, with rent prorated, in accordance with Harvard University Health Services and CDC guidelines related to social distancing and bedroom to bathroom ratios.
- Construction: In accordance with the mandate from the City of Boston, campus construction projects will be halted as of March 17, following a necessary ramp-down period as we make the construction sites safe.
- Dining services: Aliquots and the Atrium Café are now closed. Courtyard Café and Elements are open from 7 a.m. until 2 p.m., featuring grab-and-go hot and cold breakfast and lunch items and snacks and beverages. In accordance with new state and Boston mandates, meals must be taken out and cannot be eaten in the cafes.
- Parking for essential personnel: To help employees who are essential to the ramp down of operations on the Harvard Longwood Campus but who typically commute via public transit, there will be no charge for daily parking at the NRB and Quad garages by Harvard Longwood Campus ID holders. Garage access will be limited beginning Wednesday, March 18, at 5 p.m. for approved essential personnel.
- Countway Library: On-site library operations will be closing Tuesday, March 17, and access to Countway will be restricted to essential personnel and building tenants. Select library services will be available remotely. Please use the Ask Countway form if you have questions. And click here to access a collection of COVID-19 information and research.
- Finance: The HMS Office of Finance (OoF) has been working closely with relevant University offices and vendors to manage the transition to remote work.
- Purchasing and processing payments: With the shift to remote operations, Harvard University Accounts Payable has implemented new guidance and procedures for purchasing, paperless invoice and payment processing. The HMS OoF Strategic Procurement Team is reviewing the new guidance and will communicate detailed information to department financial managers.
- Supply chain: We are also engaged with vendors to manage supply-chain issues and ensure the availability and delivery of critical goods and services, including liquid nitrogen, and equipment.
- LCME Accreditation and Quality Improvement: We are following closely LCME updates and resources related to COVID-19 and are reaching out to targeted HMS populations with specific guidance as it becomes available.
- Shuttering of Research Labs: Dean George Q. Daley has announced that HMS will completely shut down research labs and core facilities, with virtually no personnel entering after 5 p.m. on Wednesday, March 18. The closure is expected to last for six to eight weeks. Access will be approved for only the most critical needs and for a small number of individuals whose research focuses on the immediate priorities of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Animal care: All research animals are being cared for by our dedicated Harvard Center for Comparative Medicine staff, as well as by personnel from our science departments, to help ensure the continuity of critical HMS research.
- Sponsored Research: HMS remains aligned with the University’s sponsored research guidance related to COVID-19. See the links below to FAQs, agency notices and communications and related university policies. Contact Rita Bergemann or Rachel Cahoon in the HMS Office of Research Administration with any questions.
- Staying Informed: Continue to visit the University coronavirus webpage and the HMS coronavirus preparedness webpage for the latest information and links to resources. These websites will be updated regularly so check back often. Questions may arise for which we don’t yet have answers, but we’ll keep a running list and inform you when answers are available.
- Working Remotely: Click here for HMS-specific information about working remotely, including information about getting started, connecting with others, accessing files and applications, and additional resources.
- Remote equipment: Approved HMS equipment for working remotely—such as laptops, monitors and tablets—must be documented via the Remote Work Computer Equipment Form. Completing this form will trigger an email confirmation to you and your supervisor, which you can print and use as a permit as you move equipment past HMS security checkpoints.
- Zoom video conferencing: Zoom video conferencing is available now for HMS faculty, staff and students, and can be used on computers or mobile devices. You do not need a Zoom account to join or attend a meeting. To host a meeting, click here to request a Zoom account and test it.
- To Zoom or not to Zoom: Given the extraordinary additional demand anticipated on our technology platforms and our need to prioritize academic use, please refer to these basic guidelines for using Zoom sensibly, including reverting to a phone call when a video conference is not necessary.
- IT support: For any IT support questions or concerns about working remotely, including assistance with your personal remote setup, please contact support.
- Workplace Pay, Benefits and Policies: On March 10, Harvard announcedenhanced workplace policies that expand the guidelines for paid sick time for employees, as well as for family and dependent care.
- Direct deposit: We strongly encourage all employees to enroll in direct deposit if they have not already done so, as the production and delivery of paper checks is likely to be disrupted in the future. To enroll in direct deposit through PeopleSoft Self-Service, see the direct deposit instructions and authorization form or visit the Central Payroll website.
- Entering staff time: It is important that all employees, whether working from home or on campus, enter their time as they always have. For example, if you are caring for a sick family member, you would claim dependent-care sick time for those hours. Likewise, if you are taking a vacation or using a personal day, you would claim those hours accordingly.
- I-9s and new employee onboarding: HMS Human Resources will have an HR representative available periodically to complete the Form I-9 requirements for both staff and monthly/temporary employees. All staff orientations, both for the University and Harvard Longwood Campus, will be conducted remotely.
- Pay continuation: If departments, offices or operations are closed by Harvard/HMS or public health authorities due to COVID-19, Harvard will provide non-remote employees with alternate work assignments or emergency-related paid excused absence. Employees should log into PeopleSoft to request an absence, select “excused absence” and absence reason “COVID-19.” Please note: emergency pay applies only to non-temporary Harvard staff.
- Talent acquisition and recruitment: Recruitment activities, including job postings, sourcing, phone screenings and interviews (via Zoom, telephone or other conference devices), will continue uninterrupted. Conditional and final offers of employment can be extended only if the individual can be onboarded remotely and if the position is deemed critical. All other offers of employment will be placed on hold for 30 days, but are subject to change as conditions change.
- Training and programming: All staff orientations, both for the University and Harvard Longwood Campus, will be conducted remotely. We are working to convert all Harvard Longwood training and programming to a remote format. We are awaiting additional guidance for Center for Workforce Development training and programs.
- Human Resources: For HR-related questions, please contact your local HR consultant.
Additional disease-related resources
- Harvard University Health Services
- Harvard Health Publishing Coronavirus Resource Center
- Employee Assistance Program
- Coronavirus Workplace Policies and Guidance
If you have any additional questions about HMS-specific guidance, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.