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 September 28, 2020

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 Harvard Coronavirus website under Dorm & House Residence Requirements.


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ emergency order states that those who cannot keep a distance of at least six feet from others must wear a mask or face covering when in public.  Face coverings are required prior to entering any common area, including those listed below.

  • Lobbies
  • Corridors
  • Elevators
  • Stairwells
  • The Joseph B. Martin Lounge (currently closed)
  • The Deanery (currently closed)
  • The Culver Lounge
  • The Computer Room
  • Music rooms, Lounges, and the Prayer room
  • The Library (currently closed)
  • Kitchens
  • Bathrooms
  • The Laundry Room
  • The Package Mailroom
  • The Athletic Facility (currently closed)
  • Walkways
  • The Courtyard and All Outdoor Common Areas


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

Due to the current COVID-19 public health emergency, and according to guidance for social distancing by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it may not be possible to gather together in the designated assembly area for your building.  It is most important that you move away from the building and remain at least six feet away from other individuals.

Observe the following updates to the building evacuation procedure:

  • Put your mask on before you leave your room.
  • Maintain a safe distance of at least six feet from others while evacuating the building.
  • 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.
  • Complete Harvard's Arrival Quarantine  Any individual moving into on-campus dorm or House residences will be required to get tested immediately upon arrival and adhere to Harvard’s arrival quarantine policy, which requires quarantining in two phasesThe Medical School will provide meals.  Bathroom use is permitted. 
  • Self-Administered COVID-19 Testing  Students living in Vanderbilt Hall are required to undergo self-administered COVID-19 testing three times a week (note that this 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. Currently all personal travel is strongly discouraged, and all University-related travel is prohibited*.  If a Vanderbilt resident has a compelling need to travel for personal reasons, they must request approval for travel from their degree program administration and inform the Vanderbilt Business Office of their plans.  For non-emergency travel, fourteen days advance notice is required to request any arrangements for quarantine necessitated by their travel.  Students are also advised to factor in extra time for reentry, including complying with the Massachusetts Travel Order, getting tested immediately upon arrival, and adhering to Harvard’s arrival quarantine policy, which requires quarantining in two phases.
    *For travel related to COVID-19 or critical research activity, a petition process has been established by the Office of the Vice Provost for International Affairs.  Information about this petition process may be found here.
  • Social Distancing  You must adhere strictly to social distancing guidelines and enhanced personal hygiene practices, such as frequent hand-washing.  You should make every effort to stay in your room and to avoid contact with others whenever possible.
  • Athletic Facility  The athletic facilities are currently closed and may remain closed through the spring
  • Common Spaces  Lounges and other common areas will not be available for use.
  • Social Events  Formal gatherings are prohibited.  Informal gatherings that are held outside must maintain 6 feet of separation at all times and can include up to ten people. If eating, outside-informal gatherings are limited to four people.
  • Elevators and Stairwells  If possible, use the stairs rather than sharing an elevator.
  • Shared Bathrooms  Access to the shared bathrooms is restricted to only one or two students at a time based on square footage. Bathroom capacity guidelines will be posted at each bathroom.  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 to only one or two students at a time based on square footage. Kitchen capacity guidelines will be posted at each kitchen.  Kitchens may be accessible only during assigned time(s) on a rotating basis, and 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 wearing a face covering, using the supplies in the kitchens (soap, towels, trash receptacles), washing hands thoroughly upon entering the area, 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.
  • Common Appliances  Please stay with your food when you are using the stove, oven, or microwave, to prevent unnecessary fire alarms. Only consume the food that you purchase, and please respect your neighbors, who have purchased items for their own consumption.
  • Laundry Room  Please practice social distancing while doing laundry in the laundry room, maintaining a distance of at least six feet away from other individuals.
  • 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.
  • Occupied Spaces  If you want to enter a space (example: elevator or study room) that is already occupied, please wait outside the door and indicate to the person inside that you would like to enter the space.  This will allow the person in the room the opportunity to distance themselves or put on a face covering.
  • 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, 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 isolate in you room.


Each resident should take steps to protect their health.  If you invest in your own health by distancing, wearing a mask or face covering, 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.


  • READ all posted signage throughout campus, which detail occupancy and precautions to take for social distancing.
  • We have increased our sanitizing frequency and will be continuously cleaning high touch areas.
  • We are conducting health screening of our front-line workers to make sure they are healthy when they are servicing your area. Please do your part by wearing a mask in common areas and cleaning up after yourself by wiping down surfaces.
  • There will be pre-packaged food available from Courtyard Café.  Please only touch the items you are going to purchase.

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



Important Guidelines for Residents of Vanderbilt Hall Vanderbilt Hall

Updated August 19, 2020

On-Campus Requirements and Testing Protocols

To keep Harvard healthy, all members of our community who will be on campus must adhere to public health measures and participate fully in University programs to control the spread of COVID-19. Specifically, these members of our community must:

  1. Review the Latest Massachusetts Travel Order and Harvard’s Returning to Campus Policies – For those traveling from outside of Massachusetts, this includes:
    1. Completing the Massachusetts Travel Form prior to arrival, unless you are arriving from a lower-risk state as designated by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health; and
    2. Complying with Harvard’s procedures for anyone living on campus, whether from out of state or within Massachusetts.
  2. Complete COVID-19 Training – Before your initial arrival/return to Harvard facilities, everyone must complete state-mandated COVID-19 training (available in the Harvard Training Portal).
  3. Self-Administered COVID-19 TestingStudents living in Vanderbilt Hall are required to undergo self-administered COVID-19 testing three times a week (note that this 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.
  4. Familiarize Yourself with Steps Associated with a Positive or Negative Test Result – You can review these steps on the University’s test results webpage. Anyone who tests positive will must remain in isolation in accordance with public health guidance from Harvard University Health Services (HUHS).
  5. Use Crimson Clear Every Day You are on Campus – Before arriving on campus every day, Harvard community members must complete symptom attestation through the Crimson Clear webpage. Those who live on campus must attest each day prior to leaving their residences and entering common spaces or another campus facility. If you are cleared, you will receive a “clear” pass which is valid for 23 hours. If you are not cleared, an HUHS clinician will call you during regular business hours to determine next steps before you can enter a Harvard facility (those living on campus will not be barred from their residences).
  6. Comply with Contact Tracing and Quarantine Requirements – When a positive test result is received, HUHS will begin contact tracing for close contacts in the greater Harvard community. Anyone with known exposure to a positive case will be required to quarantine and may need additional testing.
  7. Be Accessible – Timely communication is essential to keeping the pandemic under control. We ask that all members of the campus community keep their phones powered and nearby at all times. Outreach from HUHS and School administrators may require that you answer phone calls at any time in order to initiate isolation and quarantine procedures.

Utilize safety measures

Everyone returning to campus has the responsibility and the power to keep Harvard safe. Please use the safety protocols described in the COVID-19 training to keep yourself and those around you safe, especially those most vulnerable.

These protocols include:

  • Universal social distancing
  • Practicing and promoting good, basic hygiene
  • Hand washing and using sanitizer
  • Wearing a cloth face covering

Following posted guidance in residential spaces and other campus buildings We will continue to provide updates to assist you in planning for the fall semester, whether you are coming to campus or continuing to work or learn remotely. We know that the challenges of this pandemic continue to affect every member of our community, forcing each of us to adapt how we learn, work, and live. Thank you for joining us in this commitment to reducing risks for every member of our community and keeping Harvard healthy, helping to hasten the day when all of us can return to campus safely.



Please contact the Housing Office at

Information regarding COVID-19 can be found  at or