Vanderbilt Hall is the residence hall for Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Dental Medicine. It also houses students from the Division of Medical Sciences and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, as well as visiting students from all over the nation and the world.


Vanderbilt Hall COVID-19 Policies and Information

Updated October 21, 2021

The Medical School is closely monitoring the ongoing COVID-19 situation and taking action for the health and wellness of our students. We understand that this is a very difficult and stressful time, but we will work together to keep everyone safe and well.  We will continue to make policy adjustments and implement additional measures as necessary. All updates to housing policies will be posted to this webpage.

The most up-to-date and detailed information may be found on the HMS Returning to Campus website.


Face coverings are required prior to entering any common area, including those listed below.

  • Lobbies
  • Corridors
  • Elevators
  • Stairwells
  • The Joseph B. Martin Lounge (open to residents only)
  • The Deanery (open to residents only)
  • The Culver Lounge (open to residents only)
  • The Computer Room (open to residents only)
  • Music rooms, Lounges, and the Prayer room (open to residents only)
  • The Library (currently closed)
  • Kitchens
  • Bathrooms
  • The Laundry Room
  • The Package Mailroom
  • The Athletic Facility (open to HMS/HSDM/HPSH students only)


In the unlikely event of a fire or building evacuation, please follow the evacuation procedures that you have learned during regular fire drill procedures.

Observe the following updates to the building evacuation procedure:

  • Put your mask on before you leave your room.
  • Do not take the elevator.
  • Go to the designated assembly location, which is The New Research Building (NRB) Plaza.  If the space is too crowded, please move away and maintain at least six feet from other residents.
  • Do not stand in front of the building entrance.  Firefighters require easy access to the building.
  • Do not stay in the building. If there is inclement weather, take shelter in nearby buildings wherever possible, and maintain proper distance.
  • Once the Boston Fire Department (BFD) gives the “all clear” to return to your room, be sure to keep six feet away from other residents as you return to the building.
  • In an effort to maintain social distancing, avoid taking the elevator to return to your room.


  • Visitors  No visitors are permitted in Vanderbilt Hall.  The only exceptions to this policy will be for friends and family members who are helping you move in.  Friends and family members helping with your move are required to wear a mask at all times while on the premises.
  • COVID Vaccinations  All students living on campus are required to have a COVID vaccination.  As with existing student requirements for other vaccines, exceptions will be provided only for medical or religious reasons.  Students should plan to be fully vaccinated before arriving at Vanderbilt Hall, meaning that at least two weeks have passed since the final dose of an FDA-authorized or approved vaccine (currently Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson) or vaccines that have been authorized for emergency use by the World Health Organization (e.g., AstraZeneca/Oxford). More information about the requirement and how to submit documentation may be found on the Harvard University Health Services (HUHS) website.
  • Students Returning to/Arriving at Campus  Any individual moving into on-campus dorm or House residences will be required to follow Harvard University Health Services' arrival protocols. 
  • Self-Administered COVID-19 Testing  Students living in Vanderbilt Hall are required to undergo self-administered COVID-19 testing (testing frequency is subject to change based on changes in the epidemiology of COVID-19). Students who receive a positive test result will be required isolate in a designated area other than their assigned room.
  • Travel  Residents of Vanderbilt Hall must follow the latest University Travel Guidelines.
  • Social Distancing  You must adhere strictly to posted social distancing guidelines and enhanced personal hygiene practices, such as frequent hand-washing.
  • Athletic Facility  The athletic facilities are currently open to HMS/HSDM/HSPH students only.
  • Common Spaces The JBM Lounge, Deanery, and Culver Lounge spaces are open to current Vanderbilt residents only.  These spaces will be open 24/7, outside of 5am-8am Mon-Fri when the space will come offline for mandatory cleaning and disinfection.  Reservations are not required at this time; a reservation system may be developed in future depending on student needs for reliable use of the spaces.  Masks and physical distancing are required in these spaces.  No eating or drinking is allowed in these spaces.  Residents are expected to adhere to the maximum occupancy limits posted outside the entry to each space and as noted below:
    • JBM Lounge:  Maximum Occupancy: 10 persons
    • Deanery:  Maximum Occupancy: 10 persons
    • Culver Lounge:  Maximum Occupancy: 10 persons
  • Social Events  Formal indoor gatherings are subject to current guidance and must adhere to posted capacity guidelines. Eating and drinking is only permitted in designated dining spaces; for Vanderbilt Hall this is only in student kitchens and individual bedrooms.  In-room gatherings are capped at 10 persons per room at any time, and masks must be worn for any such gathering.   Outdoor gatherings are permitted.
  • Elevators and Stairwells  If possible, use the stairs rather than sharing an elevator.
  • Shared Bathrooms  Best practices include wearing a face covering, using the supplies in the bathrooms (soap, towels, trash receptacles), washing hands thoroughly upon entering the area, and wiping down fixtures and surfaces before and after each use. While our facilities staff will be following robust cleaning and disinfecting protocols, they cannot clean fixtures and services after each student use, so please do not rely on the cleaning staff to wipe down surfaces for you.
  • Kitchens  Access to kitchen areas is restricted based on square footage. Kitchen capacity guidelines are posted at each kitchen.  Masks must be worn until seated.  A mask may only be removed when actively eating and drinking and be replaced as soon as finished eating/drinking and before leaving the chair.  There may be periods of time when access to kitchens will be prohibited.  Kitchen utensils must be cleaned thoroughly after use, and all surfaces must be wiped down. Please do not rely on the cleaning staff to wipe down surfaces for you. Common best practices include using the supplies in the kitchens (soap, towels, trash receptacles), washing hands thoroughly upon entering the area, and wiping down surfaces before and after use.
  • Kitchen Utensils, Silverware, and Cookware  Each time you use the kitchen, please bring your own kitchen supplies, including silverware, plates, cups, pots/pans.  After using the kitchen, you must bring your kitchenware back to your room or lock it securely in a kitchen cabinet.  There will be no storage allowed on counter tops or tables in the shared student kitchens, with the exception of small cooking appliances that cannot be used in student bedrooms (Insta Pots, rice cookers, toaster ovens, etc.).  Such appliances must be thoroughly wiped down after each use.
  • Laundry Room  Masks are required while doing laundry in the laundry room.
  • Piggybacking/Tailgating  Facility access is permitted for the Vanderbilt Residents only by using a Harvard ID card.  Each resident is responsible for ensuring that visitors do not follow or tailgate to gain entry.  Harvard University photo IDs are not transferable.  Loaning or sharing of IDs for access is strictly prohibited for the safety of all our residents.
  • Smoking  Smoking is prohibited in Vanderbilt Hall. HMS is a smoke free environment; occupants who wish to smoke must do so outside and at least 25 feet away from any entrance to the building.


If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms, complete the Crimson Clear health attestation and call HUHS at 617-495-5711 to speak with a clinician.  They will evaluate your condition and provide further instructions.

If you seek alternate medical attention and are planning to isolate please immediately notify housing at for further instruction on how to properly quarantine/isolate.


Each resident should take steps to protect their health.  If you invest in your own health by distancing, wearing a mask and hand-washing, these actions will also help safeguard your neighbors’ wellbeing. Please consider those around you when making decisions that might affect their health, as well.


Enforcement Policy


We believe these additional rules and conditions are a critical component to managing the risks to students remaining on campus. Failure to comply with these expectations may result in a referral to the Office of Student Affairs and a potential loss of a rooming contract in Vanderbilt Hall.


Please contact the Housing Office at

Information regarding COVID-19 can be found  at or