Updated 5.13.2020

  • As announced by Dean George Daley on May 7,  a business continuity task force has been established to plan for the safe transition back to campus of scientists and staff engaged in hands-on research, while other members of our community will continue to work or learn remotely. Executive Dean for Administration Lisa Muto and Dean for Clinical and Academic Affairs Anne Becker are leading this task force, which consists of representatives from our research, academic and administrative units, as well as the chairs of the Lab Ramp-up Committee. 
  • The Lab Ramp-up Committee, chaired by Cliff Tabin and Julie Huang, is developing principles, plans and a timeline for ramping up on-campus research and reopening our laboratories. This committee will meet daily for the next several weeks so we can be ready when restrictions are lifted by Governor Baker. Their work is connected with a University-wide group that has a similar responsibility.
  • Fall 2020 courses will commence remotely for our entering classes of medical, dental and graduate students, as well as for our HMS-directed external education programs that would have been held on campus.
  • Program leaders will be communicating soon with current and incoming students, faculty and staff to provide further details and preparations—including considerations for start dates, travel, housing, visas and financial aid/support—relative to their respective programs.
  • HMS hopes to have all of our students back on campus by January, but we are mindful of the many unknowns and will update our projections as new information becomes available.


Guidelines and Practical Resources for the HMS Community

  • What protocols should essential employees follow?

    The week of March 16 we worked with HMS departments, offices and units to compile a list of essential personnel. We also reviewed petitions from lab PIs and research core directors and approved lab access for a small number of projects. Thankfully, these existing lists of approved personnel do not need to change.
    To ensure unimpeded access to campus, these essential HMS personnel will receive an official exemption letter that can be shown to local, state and government officials upon request. Our human resources team will be sending these exemption letters to department administrative leaders to distribute this week.  
    If you have been identified as essential personnel and need to work on campus, please continue to follow the enhanced Harvard workplace policies, updated March 22, regarding sick time and dependent care.
    If you have any questions about this protocol, please contact your manager or HR representative. I also encourage you to continue to visit the University coronavirus webpage and the HMS coronavirus preparedness webpage, which include helpful FAQs and the latest information and links to resources. These pages are being updated regularly.

  • Managing Stress and Anxiety

    Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Here are some available resources:

  • 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 for our dedicated staff who continue to report to campus every day to support campus functions. 

    • Building access: Effective Wednesday, March 18 at 5:00 p.m., only pre-approved essential personnel will be able to access HMS campus buildings. Please refer to the email communication sent to the HMS community on March 18 for entry points for essential personnel, security protocol and contacts for more information. 
    • Campus housing: As of today, all remaining residents of Vanderbilt Hall are being moved to housing at Harvard Business School. This follows the decision last week, 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, 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 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 are now closed, 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 resourcesrelated to COVID-19 and are reaching out to targeted HMS populations with specific guidance as it becomes available.

  • Shuttering of Research Labs

    Access to research labs and core facilities 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.

    The Lab Ramp-up Committee, chaired by Cliff Tabin and Julie Huang, are meeting daily to develop principles, plans and a timeline for ramping up on-campus research and reopening our laboratories. Their work is connected with a University-wide group that has a similar responsibility.

    • Animal care: All research animals are being cared for by our dedicated Harvard Center for Comparative Medicine staff, as well as by those 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

    HMS Human Resources continues to be aligned with the Harvard University Human Resources Enhanced Workplace Policies related to COVID-19. See the link below for the enhanced workplace policies and resources. Contact your HR Consultant with any HR related questions.

    Harvard’s Enhanced Workplace Policies (updated March 27th, 2020)

    FAQ’s - Employees and Workforce

    Pay Continuation

    For HMS employees (core staff, including administrative/professional, support staff, and service workers) who are well and available to work but cannot carry out their duties remotely or, because of the shifts in population on campus, they no longer have work to carry out, we will guarantee their regular pay and benefits through May 28, 2020. Additionally, we will expand eligibility for this guarantee of pay and benefits to part-time contingent employees who work less than half time (LHT). For questions, please contact your local HR consultant directly.

    How to report 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. Harvard’s emergency excused absence may be used to sustain regular pay and benefits if an eligible employee is well and available to work, but cannot work remotely.

    Instructions on how to report time in PeopleSoft can be found on the Harvard Enhanced Workplace Policies page.

    Direct Deposit 

    We strongly encourage all employees to enroll in direct deposit if they have not already done so.  Enroll in direct deposit through PeopleSoft Self-Service.  Effective immediately, all paper checks (paid on or after 3/17/20) will be mailed to home addresses, not campus addresses.


    The Department of Homeland Security is temporarily allowing virtual review of documents for the Form I-9, with certain requirements.  The I-9 completion for new biweekly staff will continue to be completed by the HR Talent Acquisition team but will be done virtually for the time being. For monthly and temporary appointments, please contact Jose Martinez, in HR Compliance to conduct and complete these verifications virtually. 

    New Staff Orientations

    All staff orientations, both for the University and Harvard Longwood Campus, will be conducted remotely. Managers and HR officers can register a new employee or the employee can register themselves on the New Employees website. New employees can access the Benefits Enrollment Videos and the New Employee Resource Guide for other useful information.

    For contract employees working in dining, custodial, parking and security roles, the University will provide financial relief in the form of pay and benefits if these employees are well and available for work but are displaced from their contract assignments due to the COVID-19 public health emergency and unable to obtain new assignments. Employees of Harvard’s 14 major suppliers of these services are eligible for this support for work disruptions between March 10 and May 28, 2020. The University is working with these suppliers to ensure that its financial support will be used for the direct benefit and financial relief of contract custodians, food service workers, parking staff and security guards. For questions, please reach out to your contract manager directly.

  • Financial Assistance

    How is the Harvard University Employees Credit Union (HUECU) helping staff, faculty and students during COVID-19?

    HUECU is committed to meeting the needs of its members and the Harvard community during this challenging time. For HUECU members with current HUECU loans, there are payment relief options available, including up to three-month payment deferment for some loans and credit cards. For individuals looking for additional funds, HUECU is offering a 0% emergency loan for HUCTW members. Depending on your unique situation, there may be other options available if you submit a Request for Assistance form.

    Can I take advantage of the Harvard University Employees Credit Union (HUECU) emergency loan if I am not an HUECU member?

    In order to take advantage of the emergency loan, you must be a HUECU member. However, all Harvard University employees, students and alumni are eligible to become members. Memberships can be opened online, and tutorial videos for using online and mobile banking are available as well. Membership benefits and eligibility extend to member’s families, even if they are not Harvard University employees or students.

    I am an HUECU member. Who can I speak with if I have concerns about my finances?

    If your concerns are specific to your HUECU account or loans, please contact HUECU Support Center at 617-495-4460 or huecu@harvard.edu.

    If you have general concerns, HUECU provides free financial budgeting, credit and COVID-19 counseling to the Harvard University community through their partners at GreenPath Financial Wellness. The call is confidential; help is available in 150 languages and during nights and weekends.


  • Who is considered an essential employee?

    As a 24/7 residential university, Harvard rarely closes. Many employees must work on campus to provide services that are essential to residential life, campus health and safety, critical research including animal care, the protection of physical and intellectual assets, or the continuity or resumption of academic programs and operations. Additional measures and policies to support these employees are being considered. 

  • Is there additional guidance for managers and supervisors?

    • Managers and supervisors, including faculty who supervise staff, must not pressure others to come to work if they are ill or need to stay at home to care for ill dependents. Conversely, if employees are well, they should not be pressured to stay away from work for reasons such as their ethnic or racial background, home address, having cared for a sick family member (without any indication of COVID-19) or recent travel to unaffected areas. As described above, there is a need to stay away from work because of caring for someone confirmed to have COVID-19.
    • Given Harvard’s interest in maintaining a safe and healthy workplace for all, managers and supervisors (with the support and involvement of local HR as needed) should ask employees who are exhibiting symptoms of respiratory illness to go home and stay home until 24 hours after they are free of symptoms. In these instances, paid sick time will be provided. Please cooperate with managers who are taking on this uncomfortable responsibility for the well-being of all.
    • A doctor’s note or documentation of dependent care responsibilities will not be required from employees when using sick time, except in very rare cases where abuse of paid sick/dependent care time is suspected. It is assumed that Harvard employees are honest and trustworthy in their dealings with each other and the University.