Messages sent from HMS leadership to the community

To read messages about coronavirus by Harvard University leadership, visit the University's Updates & Community Messages page

  • Weekly updates and voices from our community

    Dean George Q. Daley
    May 21

    Dear Members of the HMS Community:
     
    This weekend marks the unofficial start to summer. I think we can all use a little sunshine, not to mention a long weekend. On Monday, in observance of Memorial Day, please consider dedicating some time to remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice while serving our country. As Martin Luther King Jr. said so eloquently: “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
     
    Earlier this week, Governor Baker announced a four-phase approach for reopening the state. Harvard Provost Alan Garber and Executive Vice President Katie Lapp sent an email to clarify what this means for the University’s plans and its workforce. Let me be specific about what this means for HMS: We will not be broadly opening the doors to our HMS buildings or campus on May 25 or June 1. Those of you who are currently working productively from home will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
     
    As you heard during our HMS Town Hall last week, we are working on reopening plans and will resume our laboratory operations first. These plans align squarely with public health guidelines and the reentry plan released last week by the University Laboratory Reopening Committee. We are currently at Phase 0 of that plan as we work to review and approve lab-specific proposals for the return to on-campus research and codify and execute training for those who will be returning to campus and those who have been on campus during the restricted-access stage. More news will be shared soon about our lab ramp-up and business continuity plans, including answers to the questions that have been raised by so many of you.
     
    This has been a challenging time for all of us. I know many spring breaks, summer vacations and celebrations have been held remotely, postponed or canceled, and travel restrictions remain. Despite these realities, taking time off is critical to our health and well-being. I therefore strongly encourage you to use your vacation time and step away from the computer, whether it’s for a couple of hours, days or even weeks.
     
    Speaking of celebrations, graduations are a spring staple. Next Thursday, starting at 11 a.m., our community is invited to gather online to celebrate the HMS and HSDM Class of 2020 as they receive their hard-earned degrees. I look forward to this day every year, and this year is no exception.
     
    As a preview, I hope you will enjoy this week’s Voices from the Community video, which features Dean for Students Fidencio Saldaña interviewing three graduating medical students: Parisa Fallah, Tiffany Minors and Gavin Ovsak.

    Please join me in congratulating them on their hard work and achievements. They are a source of hope and inspiration. I also send my very best wishes to newlyweds Parisa and Gavin, who tied the knot in a virtual ceremony last month.

    Sincerely,
     
    George Q. Daley
    Dean of the Faculty of Medicine
    Harvard University

  • Education programs at HMS this fall

    Deans George Q. Daley, Edward Hundert, Rosalind Segal and David Roberts
    May 13

    Dear Members of the HMS Community:

    Two weeks ago, Harvard Provost Alan Garber announced that the University will be open for the fall 2020 semester. He also acknowledged that Harvard schools have different approaches to learning and research and, as a result, aspects of the fall semester will likely vary among them.

    At HMS, we have undertaken an intensive planning process over the last several weeks, working together to better understand and discuss the unique needs and timelines of our medical, graduate and external education programs, which differ from many of the course schedules at Harvard College and the other professional and graduate schools. Throughout this process, we have sought to balance health and safety with the educational aspirations of our students and the need to sustain the health care workforce.

    After deep analysis in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have decided that our 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. Given the uniqueness of our education programs, which run for 12 months and emphasize hands-on learning, we hope to be able to hold in-person research and clinical experiences for our returning medical and graduate students and will continue to closely follow institutional guidelines and public health developments. Our 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.

    We hope 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. In the meantime, please know that we are committed to delivering high-quality, transformative educational experiences to our students. We are confident that we can uphold the excellence that is the signature of a Harvard education. We are also committed to assisting our teaching faculty in designing online courses that meet these high standards and in supporting technologies that bolster our teaching and learning initiatives.

    HMS has always been an innovator in education. Our dedicated program faculty, staff, postdocs and students have already displayed unrivaled creativity and commitment to scholarship and learning through a revised curriculum. We look forward to what they will design and accomplish this fall to advance our critical mission of education, research and service.

    Thank you for your dedication, ingenuity and perseverance. Your collective energy sustains our entire community.

    Sincerely,

    George Q. Daley
    Dean of the Faculty of Medicine
    Harvard University

    Edward Hundert
    Dean for Medical Education
    Harvard Medical School

    Rosalind Segal
    Dean for Graduate Education
    Harvard Medical School

    David Roberts
    Dean for External Education
    Harvard Medical School

  • Updates and voices from our community

    Dean George Q. Daley
    May 7, 2020


    Dear Members of the HMS Community:
     
    I hope you all have been able to enjoy some sunshine, blossoms and May flowers. It is important to take the time to get outdoors—wearing a mask, of course, given the mandatory state order that took effect yesterday.
     
    I would like to acknowledge the sobering communication sent earlier this week from Harvard University Executive Vice President Katie Lapp. At HMS, we’re starting to comprehend the economic consequences of the pandemic. After revising our financial projections, we are now estimating losses of somewhere between $39 million and $65 million for FY20, which ends June 30.
     
    A significant portion of this deficit is the result of our decision to stand in solidarity with our affiliated hospitals, which are also facing devastating losses, by forgiving their FY20 contribution to HMS, which totals $31 million. Other contributing factors to our deficit include the cancellation of many external education programs and the unforeseen costs related to the rapid transition to remote learning, research and work. Unfortunately, we anticipate further economic losses in FY21.
     
    To emphasize the positive, we had been anticipating and planning for a potential downturn in the economy even before the pandemic. Because of this advance planning, we have already identified significant cost reductions, particularly in various construction projects across campus. Additionally, our finance team is working closely with unit administrators and finance managers to outline actions to reduce spending, as well as to understand which programs are most essential for preserving our commitment to research and teaching. While we are facing a very challenging situation, we feel confident in our ability to weather the storm.
     
    In other news, I have established a business continuity task force 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. I have asked Executive Dean for Administration Lisa Muto and Dean for Clinical and Academic Affairs Anne Becker to lead 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 I told you about last week. The full group will meet for the first time next week and will share regular updates.

    Finally, I want to thank our essential staff, who have been coming to campus over the past several weeks to perform the critical work that keeps HMS running. Their efforts will enable us to smoothly transition back to campus. I know many of you miss seeing these familiar faces. Therefore, I think you will enjoy this week’s Voices from the Community video, which features Director of Campus Services Rob Dickson interviewing Mohammad Awad from security, Travis Bell from mail/receiving and Carissa Kelly from facilities operations.

    Please join me in thanking our essential staff for their hard work and dedication. At HMS, our people are our greatest asset.
     
    Sincerely,
     
    George Q. Daley
    Dean of the Faculty of Medicine
    Harvard University

  • Updates and voices from our community

    Dean George Q. Daley
    April 30

    Dear Members of the HMS Community:
     
    A little communication goes a long way. With the challenges before us, it’s more important than ever to keep our lines of communication open, but I also want to be respectful of your time.
     
    To balance information flow and efficiency, I will be communicating with you weekly, primarily on Thursdays, for the foreseeable future. You will be hearing from members of my senior leadership team and from me, as we provide new updates and guidance as they emerge. While we can’t promise to have all the answers, we will be as transparent and timely as possible. We will also feature voices of other members of our community. We hope this sharing of lived experiences will bring us together in new ways.

    This week, I am pleased to share this short conversation with Anne Becker. A longtime member of our community, Anne stepped forward on April 1 to become dean for clinical and academic affairs at HMS. I trust you will enjoy hearing her insights on starting this new role in the midst of a pandemic, how she and her team are adapting and how her perspective as a psychiatrist is shaping her plans for serving this community.

    I have asked Cliff Tabin and Julie Huang to chair an HMS-based committee to develop principles, plans and a timeline for ramping up on-campus research and reopening our laboratories. This committee met for the first time yesterday and 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.
     
    In closing, I want to once again thank you all—those who are on campus and those at home who are working so hard to steward our mission. We are all feeling anxious about the unknown and share in the desire to know what our future holds. Please know that we will be sure to work with all of you, our HMS community, to do so in the most thoughtful way.
               
    Sincerely,
     
    George Q. Daley
    Dean of the Faculty of Medicine
    Harvard University

  • HMS preparations for this fall

    Dean George Q. Daley and Executive Dean Lisa M. Muto
    April 27

    Dear Members of the HMS Community:
     
    In his email this afternoon, Provost Alan Garber announced that Harvard will be open for the fall 2020 semester. There are still many unknowns with this pandemic, and therefore, it’s too early to determine exactly what the fall will look like at HMS and other Harvard schools. Nonetheless, we are heartened by this news.
     
    Please know that we have undertaken a rigorous scenario-planning process to ensure we are prepared if needed to conduct our core education, research and service work online versus on campus for part or all of the semester. We are also acutely focused on how we will ramp up our on-campus pursuits and plan for the safe return of our students, faculty and staff.
     
    Although we had to transition quickly to remote teaching, learning, research and work, you have all adapted well, and productivity remains high. Additionally, essential personnel are working diligently to keep our campus and facilities safe and in good shape for those employees who are still coming to campus, especially the significant number of scientists who are conducting high-priority COVID-19 research. These combined efforts position us well for a phased return of the remainder of our community when the time is right.
     
    Our ramp-up of activities will follow the Governor’s lifting of stay-at-home restrictions and will adhere to guidelines for mask-wearing, physical distancing, and personal and environmental hygiene. We are actively monitoring the pandemic and will revise our plans accordingly in direct response to best available evidence and recommendations from infectious disease and public health specialists, many of whom are close colleagues within the Harvard community.
     
    We acknowledge and sympathize with the anxiety caused by the current pandemic and by the uncertainty of the guidance we are able to provide at this time. We will be communicating with you to share new recommendations as they emerge and to raise up voices from members of our community who will impart their varied experiences and bring us together in new ways.
     
    Thank you for looking out for one another. There are numerous examples of creative, virtual gatherings that have helped to keep morale high during this challenging time. We are proud and heartened by this display of empathy. Your spirit, strength and commitment to each other and to this community are the strongest assets that Harvard Medical School can count on to get us through these trying times.
     
    Sincerely,
     
    George Q. Daley
    Dean of the Faculty of Medicine
    Harvard University
     
    Lisa M. Muto
    Executive Dean for Administration
    Harvard Medical School

  • Financial sustainability at HMS

    Dean George Q. Daley and Executive Dean Lisa M. Muto
    April 14

    Dear Members of the HMS Community:

    By now you have likely read the email sent yesterday afternoon from Harvard President Larry Bacow, Provost Alan Garber and Executive Vice President Katie Lapp about the economic impact of COVID-19 on the University. This news is sobering for all of us. 

    As we stated during last week’s virtual Town Hall, right now we cannot tell you the extent to which this pandemic will impact our HMS finances, but we know it will be substantial. We are disappointed because we have worked diligently and made challenging decisions over the past several years to bring our budget back into balance, and we have focused on raising revenues and philanthropy to provide resources to support your extraordinary work in service of our mission. Before this pandemic, we were projecting the first budget surplus in over a decade. Now, we will inevitably see a return to deficits.

    We can assure you, however, that we are much stronger financially than we were during the Great Recession of 2008. Our FY21 budget process had already factored in downside planning for a potential recession, though not of this acuteness and magnitude. We have prepared and will weather this financial downturn.

    We are already modeling strategies to preserve our financial stability through discipline and resourcefulness. In close coordination with Interim Chief Financial Officer David Smallwood and his team, as well as with the University, we are working to anticipate and address the vulnerabilities in our budget. We are being both thoughtful and strategic, focusing on reducing spending to align with decreased revenues, identifying opportunities where we can raise revenues and managing our reserves to stay liquid, while simultaneously investing purposefully where possible. 

    Our colleagues in the Office of Finance will be partnering with every department and unit to revisit forecasts and budgets and to better understand and provide guidance around discretionary spending. The more each of us can do locally to curtail spending and to bolster grant and revenue portfolios, the more we can help improve the School’s bottom line and avoid more stringent mandates down the road. We know the University’s decision to freeze salaries and hiring is difficult, but it is an important one and, therefore, we must be disciplined in considering any exceptions. 

    Let us say clearly that we will need your help. We will need your understanding and your patience. We will need each and every one of you to do your part to help weather this crisis and to be thoughtful, selfless stewards of our resources. Please know that we must ask for sacrifices from all members of our community. But also please know that there will be many others—some of our peers, other institutions and even entire industries that will be suffering far more.

    In troubled times, we are fortunate to be part of such a great institution. But we are most proud of being part of such a great community of people. We thank you for partnering with us as we face the current situation and the uncertainty that will confront us in the weeks and months ahead. We look to the future, and know there are better days ahead.

    Sincerely,

    George Q. Daley
    Dean of the Faculty of Medicine
    Harvard University

    Lisa M. Muto
    Executive Dean for Administration
    Harvard Medical School

  • Updated HR policies on pay and benefits

    Executive Dean Lisa M. Muto
    March 27

    Dear Members of the HMS Community:

    Today, Harvard Executive Vice President Katie Lapp shared updated human resources policies in response to COVID-19. These new policies were made in consultation with administrative deans and leaders across the University and its schools, and I am pleased to share these highlights.

    • 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.
       
    • 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. 

    I hope that these updated policies on pay and benefits provide you and your families with greater certainty and stability during these undeniably uncertain times. Thank you again for your unwavering commitment to one another and to our school.

    Sincerely,

    Lisa M. Muto
    Executive Dean for Administration
    Harvard Medical School

  • Exploring the option of early graduation

    Deans George Q. Daley, Edward M. Hundert and Fidencio Saldaña
    March 27

    Dear Members of the HMS Community:
     
    Yesterday afternoon, during Governor Charlie Baker’s public coronavirus update, Massachusetts Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders announced that the state is prepared to provide 90-day provisional licenses to speed the process of getting medical school graduates into hospitals as soon as possible to help on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.
     
    In response, HMS is collaborating with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, hospitals and the deans of other medical schools in the region—Boston University, Tufts and the University of Massachusetts—and is actively exploring the option of early graduation and granting  medical degrees to students who meet graduation requirements. This step would give qualified MD graduates the opportunity, if called upon, to join the clinical workforce up to two months earlier than would otherwise be possible. 
     
    We are working with the University and our accrediting bodies on the details and expect to have more information to share soon. In the meantime, a Zoom meeting was held last night to discuss this emerging opportunity with our graduating students and get their initial feedback.

    We stressed to the students that, when early graduation is enacted, they will each have to make a personal decision about whether to graduate early and respond to hospitals in Boston or in other parts of the country where absorbing early graduates as part of the workforce is being built into COVID-19 contingency plans. While many soon-to-be graduates have already expressed their eagerness to help, there will be no pressure to do so.
     
    These are unprecedented times that call for extraordinary decisions and action. We are proud of how all of our students, staff and faculty continue to adapt and rise to meet these challenges.
     
    Sincerely,
     
    George Q. Daley
    Dean of the Faculty of Medicine
    Harvard University
     
    Edward M. Hundert
    Dean for Medical Education
    Harvard Medical School
     
    Fidencio Saldaña
    Dean for Students
    Harvard Medical School

  • Faculty appointments and promotions

    Jules L. Dienstag
    March 26

    Dear Colleagues,
     
    The Office for Faculty Affairs wants members of the faculty of medicine to know that that our work on appointments and promotions will continue, despite this time of uncertainty and the suspension of our regular routines.
     
    Our promotions committees are transitioning to virtual meetings, which may present minor technology glitches and challenges, but the OFA team is committed to doing its very best to keep faculty promotions on course and on schedule. Because of the pandemic, however, we anticipate potential delays.
     
    Similarly, although OFA staff are all working from home, we strive to address faculty requests for advice and guidance regarding the promotions process. Please be patient with us. We are monitoring our phones and email accounts regularly and we are committed to responding to your inquiries and requests in a timely manner.
     
    As always, we encourage you to visit the Office for Faculty Affairs webpage for important announcements and resources, including information on faculty development, recruitment, announcements and events, as well as the Faculty of Medicine Handbook.
     
    Be safe and be well.
     
    Sincerely,
     
    Jules L. Dienstag
    Interim Dean for Academic and Faculty Affairs
    Carl W. Walter Professor of Medicine
    Harvard Medical School

  • Guidance for HMS essential personnel

    Executive Dean Lisa M. Muto
    March 25

    Dear Members of the HMS Community:
     
    By now you have heard the news about Governor Baker’s emergency order and have received Executive Vice President Katie Lapp’s email to the University community about essential personnel. I wanted to reach out with guidance about how this order will impact our HMS community.
     
    Last week 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.
     
    Thank you for your commitment to keeping our school safe and productive. Whether you’re carrying out your work remotely or on campus as one of our essential personnel, your support for one another and for our community is inspiring.  


    Sincerely,

    Lisa M. Muto
    Executive Dean for Administration
    Harvard Medical School

  • We are Harvard Medicine

    Dean George Q. Daley
    March 23

    Dear Members of the HMS Community:

    As we start a new week uncertain of the challenges ahead, I want to express how grateful I am to all of you and how enormously proud I am of the HMS community. You have acted individually and collectively to protect one another and our community as a whole and you have risen to the occasion to continue the work of this great institution.

    People around the world look to Harvard Medical School for reliable expertise and activism in times of chaos. Our scientists have responded to the crisis by collaborating in unprecedented ways to develop innovative diagnostic tests and to launch drug screens and vaccines to confront the virus. Our clinician investigators have expeditiously initiated clinical trials to test experimental therapies. Our extraordinarily compassionate community of physicians, nurses, technicians and therapists has answered the call, accepting personal risk to treat patients on the front lines. Our medical students have volunteered to answer phone calls from anxious patients, to support the needs of busy clinicians by providing child care and other services and to stand ready to be called into clinical service where and when they are most needed. And our dedicated administration and staff have selflessly continued to work on site and remotely to safeguard our campus and to ensure that the mission of this community can continue.

    It’s worth acknowledging that we have made a world of change in just a matter of days. To help reduce the spread of COVID-19, particularly to those who are most vulnerable, we have transitioned all courses online, shifted the majority of our faculty and nonessential staff to remote work, moved students out of Vanderbilt Hall and closed our labs and research cores—including my own lab at Boston Children’s Hospital. Nevertheless, our important work carries on, and we strive to maintain the rituals that mark the milestones of an academic community. Last Friday, we held our first virtual Match Day for our soon-to-be MD graduates and we anticipate more online celebratory events in the weeks to come.

    As we settle into working remotely, Zooming to classes and meetings, or continuing to sustain the campus, I know we will continue to make the best of our shared new reality. I know we will get through this together and I am optimistic that we will come out stronger as individuals and as a community.

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    Sincerely,

    George Q. Daley
    Dean of the Faculty of Medicine
    Harvard University

  • Update on Commencement and Class Day

    Dean George Q. Daley and Interim Dean Vicki Rosen
    March 20

    Dear Members of the HMS and HSDM Community:
     
    Celebrating our new graduates is something we look forward to every year. This is what makes Harvard University President Larry Bacow’s announcement today so difficult: due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the University’s Commencement exercises will be held virtually, with an in-person ceremony to be scheduled for a future date when it is safe for people to gather in person again.
     
    For HMS and HSDM, Commencement and Class Day exercises will be held virtually instead of in-person to ensure the health and safety of our community during the pandemic. In addition, alumni reunions will be canceled.
     
    We know this news is extremely disappointing for everyone, most notably our 2020 medical, dental, master’s, PhD and DMSc graduates and their families and friends who look forward to celebrating their accomplishments. However, we are sure you will agree that this is the right decision to help reduce the spread and impact of the disease and, most important, reduce the risk to those who are most vulnerable. Speaking as scientists and health care professionals, and on behalf of our eager graduates who are poised to shape the future of research and health care, we know it is imperative that we take these steps for the good of all.
     
    In accordance with this decision, our master’s graduation ceremony on May 27, HMS and HSDM Class Day on May 28 and the Division of Medical Sciences hooding ceremony on May 28 will all be held virtually and diplomas will be mailed to graduates. Planning is already underway for these celebrations, and we are committed to making them special and memorable for our graduates and their loved ones. We look forward to sharing more details with you soon as we solidify our plans.
     
    This is an unprecedented time. Thank you for your patience and understanding, and for your continued commitment to our community. We will get through this. Though apart, we will come together, like never before.
     
    Sincerely,
     
    George Q. Daley
    Dean, Harvard Medical School
     
    Vicki Rosen
    Interim Dean, Harvard School of Dental Medicine

  • HMS Advisory: Access to HMS buildings, effective Wed., March 18, at 5 p.m

    Office of Communications and External Relations
    March 18

    Dear Members of the HMS Community: 

    Effective Wednesday, March 18, 2020, at 5 p.m. - ACCESS TO HMS BUILDINGS

    Pre-approved essential personnel who have access to HMS buildings must enter and exit through the following entrances:

    • Goldenson/Armenise link 
    • Quad garage-in Gate
    • C-Building/TMEC link entrances
    • NRB garage gate 1
    • NRB garage gate 2
    • NRB main entrance (at 77 Ave. Louis Pasteur)
    • NRB Blackfan Circle entrance

    These entrances, with the exception of the garages, will be staffed by security 24/7. All pre-approved essential personnel must tap their HUID for access and must sign in with security upon entry. All pre-approved essential personnel will be asked to provide the following information: name, time-in, destination, last four digits of HUID and cell phone number.

    For the safety of all, security personnel will conduct hourly safety checks by calling the cell phone number provided. All pre-approved essential personnel must sign-out with security at the same location where they enteredIn the event of an emergency where fire alarms have been activated, all occupants should exit the garage via the closest exit regardless of where they entered.

    NOTE: All other Quad Buildings and NRB entrances will be secured until further notice.

    Here is the guidance for other campus buildings:

    • 180 Longwood, 160/164 Longwood, 641 Huntington, and Landmark Floor 5: Access will be restricted to pre-approved essential personnel.
       
    • Countway Library: Access will be restricted to pre-approved essential personnel. The building will be staffed by security seven days a week, from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m.
       
    • Vanderbilt Hall: Access will be restricted to pre-approved essential personnel. The building will be staffed by security 24/7.

    If an urgent situation arises precipitating the need for additional essential personnel:

    If you have questions about whether or not you are on the pre-approved essential personnel list, please contact your direct supervisor.  
    As a reminder, here are the contacts for specific types of emergencies and urgent situations:

    • Medical emergencies, including injury, illness, or fire: Call 911 (in the City of Boston via cell, call 617-343-4911)
       
    • Threat, violence or theft: Call Harvard University Police Department at 617-432-1212
       
    • Flooding, hazardous material accident, utility failure or facilities issues: Call the HMS/HSDM Facilities Office at 617-432-1901
  • Updated guidelines and practical resources

    Executive Dean Lisa M. Muto
    March 17

    Dear Members of the HMS Community:

    As you make the shift this week to remote work, we want to thank you for your incredible flexibility and commitment to our school and the public health of our community. We have all received a great deal of changing information over the last week, and this can be difficult to stay on top of.

    To help you manage the information overload, we have provided below an updated list of resources and guidelines to help support you through this transition and to answer some practical questions that are undoubtedly on your mind.

    We encourage you to continue to visit the University coronavirus webpage and the HMS coronavirus preparedness webpage, which include helpful FAQs, for the latest information and links to resources that are being updated regularly. 

    We hope this new guidance will give you and all members of the HMS community more peace of mind in balancing your work, health and well-being. We will get through this, together.

    Sincerely,

    Lisa M. Muto
    Executive Dean for Administration
    Harvard Medical School


    Guidelines and Practical Resources for the HMS Community
     

    • 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 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: As of today, all remaining residents of Vanderbilt Hall have been asked to relocate 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 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 ofCOVID-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.
  • Urgent guidance for your research

    Dean George Q. Daley
    March 14

    Dear Members of the HMS Research Community:
     
    Yesterday, you received a communication from Harvard Longwood leadership directing you to ramp down your laboratory research activities, which parallels recommendations from our hospital affiliates. Recommendations from epidemiologists and inferences based on observations of the outbreaks in Italy and Seattle indicate that we need to institute drastic measures of social isolation to impede the spread of the coronavirus.
     
    SARS-CoV-2 is already in our community. Cases of COVID-19 will rise swiftly and overwhelm our hospitals unless we take emergency measures that don’t just distance people, but dramatically restrict people from coming into and going out of our immediate community.
     
    We are rapidly approaching, if we haven’t already surpassed, the time to limit in-person access to our laboratories only to essential individuals. I understand that everyone is concerned about the very real loss of research productivity. What you may not understand are the devastating consequences, loss of life and disruption to our hospitals that will ensue if our caseload approaches those in Italy and Wuhan.
     
    Some labs endeavor to practice social distancing by working as small groups in shifts. A single infected person will leave a trail of virus. Given that surface contamination is a major mode of transmission, shift workers will be unwittingly exposed.
     
    Furthermore, please appreciate that infected individuals shed virus before they become symptomatic, and apparently for some days post-recovery. We currently have inadequate means to diagnose those among us who are or have been infected. To reduce epidemic spread, we have to reduce gatherings of individuals, which we all endorse and are already practicing, and minimize the migration of individuals into and out of our community, which limits the migration of the virus. This is why we have called for the emptying of our laboratories and encourage all to pursue alternative scholarly activities in isolation.
     
    We are seeking to cease research operations on the Quad and expect to completely shut down each lab and core facility, with virtually no one entering a lab or research core after 5 p.m. on Wednesday, March 18. Access will be allowed for only the most critical needs—to maintain animal colonies, to replenish liquid N2 and to ensure the stability of experimental material. This blanket laboratory ramp-down will also exclude the small number of individuals working on research directly related to immediate priorities of the COVID-19 pandemic. We anticipate this will be the situation for 6-8 weeks. Attached to this email is an information sheet that provides instructions as to how to submit requests for access. Petitions for access will be reviewed and approved by a committee of the department chairs in consultation with me.
     
    I realize that many individuals may take exception with or doubt the wisdom of this directive. As a scientist, I found it difficult to deliver this message to my own lab. But as a physician and steward for this community weighing the grim reports I’m reading from colleagues in Seattle and Italy, I believe the recommendation to shutter our labs is in our collective best interest. Each one of the six high-level colleagues I have contacted in China has had their labs entirely mothballed for over two months. There are vanishingly few experiments that take precedence over life and death in our community.
     
    The outbreak of COVID-19 is the single most threatening pandemic to arise in the last century, and has historians recalling the devastation of the influenza pandemic of 1918, which infected about a third of the world’s population, resulting in at least 50 million deaths. The world’s population today is almost four times larger, and our communities are correspondingly denser and more vulnerable. Reducing not only community density but containing the migration of those infected with the virus will be essential for dampening the impact of this pandemic.
     
    I ask you to act responsibly on behalf of our entire community, especially those who are most vulnerable. Please work remotely and maintain distance and isolation until we have a better understanding of the course of this outbreak. We will get through this, together.
     
    Sincerely,
     
    George Q. Daley
    Dean of the Faculty of Medicine
    Harvard University

  • Coronavirus Update: Guidance for the research community

    Deans George Q. Daley, Vicki Rosen and Michelle A. Williams
    March 13

    Dear Members of the HMS, HSDM and Harvard Chan School Research Communities:

    Given the COVID-19 pandemic, our shared goal is clear: we must lower the risk of infection within our community by promoting social distancing and aggressively limiting the number and size of community gatherings to minimize the spread of disease, particularly to those who are most vulnerable.

    Therefore, it is imperative that we eliminate or at least significantly reduce the number of physical interactions among our graduate students, postdocs, faculty and staff. We request your help in developing a rapid ramp-down strategy for the majority of our research activities to enable remote work to the maximum extent possible. We are taking this action in close coordination with other Harvard schools.

    Each PI will be responsible for coordinating a strategy to ramp down laboratory research activities by Wednesday, March 18, with the expectation that this period of low productivity will likely last at least six to eight weeks. We will revisit this timeframe periodically as more information on the trajectory of disease transmission becomes available, and we will update you if this estimate changes.

    To implement our goal, we are mandating that all group meetings, courses and scientific convocations be conducted virtually, per the University’s guidance. To minimize community interactions, we ask each lab to identify, in consultation with the department chair, no more than two or three key individuals to manage animal husbandry and essential experiments—those that if discontinued would generate significant financial and data loss. Please be prepared to implement your plans as soon as possible, or by Wednesday, March 18, at the latest. 

    We understand your research is critically important. During this period we urge you to devote your time to productive alternatives, such as writing grant proposals, reviewing articles, writing thesis chapters, conducting analyses, compiling data and/or synthesizing important research. This is a good opportunity to reflect and to work on books and research papers. Research group leaders are asked to identify specific contributions that individuals in their groups can make while working remotely.

    We are facing a potentially catastrophic crisis for our health care system. This is our chance to act decisively, rise to the occasion and protect our community. The time to act is now, and your partnership and commitment to the greater good are essential.

    Sincerely,

    Dean George Q. Daley, Executive Dean Lisa M. Muto and the Preclinical Department Chairs
    Harvard Medical School

    Interim Dean Vicki Rosen
    Harvard School of Dental Medicine

    Dean Michelle A. Williams
    Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

  • Coronavirus Update for HMS Staff

    Executive Dean Lisa M. Muto
    March 12

    Dear Harvard Medical School Staff:
     
    We understand that the email sent earlier this week from Harvard President Larry Bacow has prompted questions about how staff will be impacted by the decision to shift to virtual classes. As you know, this is an emerging situation, and therefore, our guidance and policies will continue to adapt accordingly.
     
    As such, we are reaching out with more detailed guidance around remote work. Specifically, we are now strongly encouraging unit and department leaders to shift their teams and nonessential staff to work from home as soon as possible. The reason we are providing this guidance is to follow University and public health guidelines around social distancing in order to deter the possible spread of disease. 
     
    We know that some teams are more readily equipped and practiced to do so, while others will need more time to prepare. Unit leaders and managers will be completing an email survey to help gauge the degree of readiness of their units to transition to remote work. This will help our HMS administrative leadership better understand where we are currently, who is working from home or still on campus, and what additional support is needed.

    To that end, we have prepared below some resources and guidelines to help support you through this transition and to answer some practical questions that are undoubtedly on your mind.

    We understand that it’s not always clear who is considered an essential or nonessential employee. Therefore, please check in with your managers and unit leaders, who have been given the discretion to determine the needs and business continuity for their individual areas.
     
    As you work together with your units and teams on this shift to remote work, we hope this new guidance will give all HMS staff more peace of mind in balancing their work and personal well-being.

    Sincerely,  

    Lisa M. Muto
    Executive Dean for Administration
    Harvard Medical School


    Resources and Practical Guidelines for HMS Staff

    • 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.
       
      • Zoom video conferencing: Zoom video conferencing is available now for HMS faculty, staff and students. It can be used on computers, mobile devices and with the same conference room equipment for which you have used WebEx in the past. Importantly, you do not need a Zoom account to join or attend a meeting. To host a meeting, click here to request a Zoom accountand test it.
         
      • IT resources: For IT-related questions or concerns about working remotely or video conferencing, please contact the HMS IT Service Desk at 617-432-2000 or itservicedesk@hms.harvard.edu.
         
    • Workplace Policies: On March 10, Harvard announced Enhanced Workplace Policies that expand the guidelines around paid sick time for employees, as well as family and dependent care.
       
      • Entering staff time: It is important that all employees, whether they are 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.
         
      • Direct deposit: We strongly encourage all employees to enroll in direct deposit if they have not already done so. The production and delivery of paper checks depend on various external services, such as printing, private shipping and the U.S. Postal Service, which may be disrupted in the future. You can enroll in direct deposit through PeopleSoft Self-Service; please see the direct deposit instructions and authorization form or visit the Central Payroll website.
         
      • Employment interviews: Effective immediately, all staff employment interviews, including finalist interviews, must be conducted remotely viaZoom, telephone or other conference device.
         
      • 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.
         
      • Parking: While staff are strongly encouraged to work from home, we understand that some must continue to work on campus and may not feel comfortable taking public transportation. Staff may reserve and pay for daily parking using their personal debit or credit card (please see detailed instructions here, in the Teaching, Learning and Operations section of the FAQ). The parking fee at both the NRB and Quad garages, which are open Monday through Friday starting at 7 a.m., has been temporarily reduced to $15 per day. Additional parking considerations are also being made for those deemed essential personnel, so please consult with your manager.
         
      • Human Resources: For HR-related questions, please contact your local HR consultant.
         
    • Meetings and Events: Effective immediately, we are transitioning to nonessential gatherings of no more than 25 people. For any gathering, take steps to lower riskand prevent spread of viruses: use videoconferencing and teleconferencing options wherever possible, remind attendees to practice social distancing, ensure easy access to handwashing facilities and make sure alcohol-based sanitizers are readily available to all participants.
       
    • Staying Informed: Continue to visit the University coronavirus webpage and theHMS 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.
  • Changes to HMS learning environment

    Dean George Q. Daley and Executive Dean for Administration Lisa M. Muto
    March 10

    Dear Members of the HMS Community:
     
    We want to call your attention to the email sent this morning from Harvard President Larry Bacow, who has made the decision to transition to virtual instruction for undergraduate and graduate classes by Monday, March 23. Harvard joins the growing list of colleges and universities that have made the same difficult decision. The University has also changed its guidance around group gatherings and is now strongly discouraging any nonessential meetings or events of 25 people or more on campus.
     
    We want to stress that despite this change to our educational environment, our campus will remain open. As you know, the continuity of our HMS research and business operations is critical, as is the work of our faculty and staff. Labs and departments are in the process of adjusting continuity plans for the current situation to accommodate potential disruptions and minimize loss of resources.
     
    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. Over the next week and a half, course directors will be working with education technology and PME staff and students to prepare their courses to be delivered remotely.
     
    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.
     
    Our HMS Information Technology team has rolled out the Zoom video conferencing platform for faculty, staff and students, and the Webex platform may also be available for some courses. Moreover, the University has launched a new Teach Remotely website to provide faculty with best practices, tools and support for teaching classes online.
     
    However, 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.
     
    Additionally, our 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. 
     
    President Bacow referenced that Harvard students have been asked not to return to campus after spring recess (March 16-20 for many at the College) and to meet their academic requirements remotely. We recognize that HMS break periods do not align with these dates and that there could be serious consequences for not returning, including disrupting graduation requirements. Therefore, HMS students should plan to return to campus following their breaks. This decision may be revisited should the current situation escalate. We are also considering adjustments to campus housing, in addition to the extra cleaning and precautions already underway, to ensure the safety of students and staff.
     
    As we mentioned yesterday, our shared goal is to lower the risk for our community by promoting social distancing and limiting the number and size of community gatherings in a measured way to help prevent spreading the disease. President Bacow’s decisions support that important goal.
     
    We want to thank our staff, in particular, for your commitment to our shared mission during this rapidly evolving situation. We know this shift will precipitate many questions, including how the move to virtual classes may affect F1 visas. We are working to prepare additional guidance and to get clarification and answers to these questions. We will share updates as they are available. In the meantime, we encourage you to refer to the University coronavirus web page and the HMS coronavirus preparedness web page for detailed guidance and policies around travel, meetings, events and more, including helpful FAQs.
     
    As our community rises to plan for and meet the challenges posed by this disease, we are already seeing a silver lining in the positive ways our faculty, staff and students are joining forces to connect and collaborate. The fortitude of our full community has never been more vital.
     
    Thank you for your patience and support as we work through this evolving situation while advancing our mission of research, education and clinical care.

    Sincerely,  

    George Q. Daley
    Dean of the Faculty of Medicine
    Harvard University
     
    Lisa M. Muto
    Executive Dean for Administration
    Harvard Medical School

  • HMS actions and resources

    Dean George Q. Daley and Executive Dean for Administration Lisa M. Muto
    March 9

    Dear Members of the Harvard Medical School Community:

    We know that news of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is on your minds as it permeates the news and our daily conversations. While infection rates are still low in Massachusetts, we are monitoring the spread of the disease and are aware that the situation is changing rapidly.

    The HMS coronavirus task force, led by Carl Cowan as part of our Local Emergency Management Team, is working with leaders at HMS and colleagues across the University to develop contingency plans to address a host of potential scenarios and impacts.

    Our shared goal is to lower the risk for our community. We intend to do so by promoting social distancing and decreasing the density of community gatherings in a measured way, which will help prevent the disease and its spread. With this goal in mind, here are the actions we are taking and new resources available:

    • We have created an HMS COVID-19 web page to curate and centralize the policies and guidance from both the University and HMS specifically. This web page includes links to specific policies and an FAQ with answers to the most common questions being raised. It will be updated daily so the information remains current.
       
    • HMS IT has expedited the rollout of the Zoom video conferencing platform for faculty, staff and students. Zoom is available right now and can be used on your computers, mobile devices and with the same conference room equipment for which you have used WebEx in the past. Importantly, you do not need a Zoom account to join or attend a meeting. If you intend to host a meeting, click here torequest a Zoom account now and test it.
       
    • To prepare for the possibility of increased remote work, we also recommend that you review additional HMS-specific information about working remotely. If you have any IT-related questions or concerns about video conferencing or working remotely, please reach out to the IT Service Desk at 617-432-2000 oritservicedesk@hms.harvard.edu.
       
    • In an abundance of caution, HMS dining services is eliminating self-service food stations (e.g., salad bar, global market bar, yogurt parfait, etc.) and moving to a combination of pre-packaged meals and service by Restaurant Associates staff behind the counter.

    Thank you to all of the members of our community who have come together to help make these changes actionable so that faculty, staff and students can continue to engage in meetings, work and learning on campus.

    Please also be aware that we are keenly focused on ensuring the continuity of our research and business operations. We will continue to update the community as new information becomes available and local decisions are made.
     

    Sincerely,
     
    George Q. Daley
    Dean of the Faculty of Medicine
    Harvard University
     
    Lisa M. Muto
    Executive Dean for Administration
    Harvard Medical School

  • Travel, visitors, meetings and events

    Dean George Q. Daley and Executive Dean for Administration Lisa M. Muto
    March 6

    Dear Members of the Harvard Medical School Community:

    We wanted to call your attention to the email sent today from Harvard University Provost Alan Garber, Harvard University Executive Vice President Katie Lapp and Harvard University Health Services Director Giang Nguyen, which includes significant updates to Harvard University’s policy related to domestic and international travel, individuals returning to or arriving on campus, and on-campus events and meetings.

    HMS and all Harvard schools and units are expected to follow the University’s policies and guidance to ensure the health, safety and well-being of our community. We are working to compile HMS-specific FAQs and information to complement the University policies. We will share that as soon as it is ready.
     
    Sincerely,
    George Q. Daley
    Dean of the Faculty of Medicine
    Harvard University
     
    Lisa M. Muto
    Executive Dean for Administration
    Harvard Medical School

  • Coronavirus (COVID-19) preparedness at HMS

    Dean George Q. Daley and Executive Dean for Administration Lisa M. Muto
    March 4

    Dear Members of the Harvard Medical School Community:

    We are all concerned about the potential impact of the novel coronavirus. Earlier this week, HMS convened a meeting of the greater Boston biomedical community to assess the public health threat posed by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which is responsible for the respiratory disease COVID-19. We did so to bring the extraordinary expertise of Harvard Medical School, our hospital affiliates, the Harvard Chan School of Public Health and many other players in the region together to collaborate and deliver on our mission to alleviate suffering and improve health and well-being for all.
     
    While infection rates remain low in Massachusetts, HMS has been working to ensure preparedness and has been formulating plans in the event that local cases increase in number. Our Local Emergency Management Team has formed a coronavirus task force that is working with colleagues from across the University to coordinate response procedures.
     
    We want to give you an overview of some of the measures being developed or enhanced to safeguard the HMS community. We will continue to monitor the impact of the coronavirus and will share more in the coming days.

    • In a message sent to the Harvard community earlier today, Harvard University Provost Alan Garber, Harvard University Executive Vice President Katie Lapp and Harvard University Health Services Director Giang Nguyen outlined updated travel advisories and introduced the University’s new coronavirus webpage, which will be updated frequently with the latest guidance and resources. The webpage containscoronavirus workplace policies. Supervisors should contact their local HR consultant with questions specific to HMS.
       
    • HMS Information Technology is working to ensure appropriate capacity and tools so that teaching, research and administrative functions can be carried out remotely, as needed. This includes expanding capacity for remote access and collaboration with Webex and Zoom. Please look for an email from IT that will outline how to obtain and use Webex and Zoom.
       
    • HUIT’s newly released webpage is designed to aid staff in preparing for workplace and travel changes due to the coronavirus.
       
    • Students should be aware of and adhere to the Provost’s guidance regarding international and domestic travel plans. Emails with recommendations from their specific programs will be sent to students in the coming days.
       
    • HMS custodial services has implemented enhanced cleaning procedures, including disinfecting high-touch areas across campus.
       
    • Additional hand-sanitizing dispensers have been placed in buildings across campus. The University has also provided best practices for appropriate hygiene and preventive measures that everyone can employ to prevent the spread of viral illness on campus.
       
    • Harvard Health Publications has teamed with HMS faculty experts to create the HHP Coronavirus Resource Center, which provides answers to a range of frequently asked questions, such as what are the symptoms of coronavirus and how can individuals protect themselves and others?

     We will continue to update the community as new information becomes available.
     
    Sincerely,
    George Q. Daley
    Dean of the Faculty of Medicine
    Harvard University

    Lisa M. Muto
    Executive Dean for Administration
    Harvard Medical School