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 June 23,2020

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 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
  • Oliver Wendell Holmes 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.


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Travel  HMS has suspended all University-sponsored travel, and non-essential international and domestic travel is strongly discouraged for all community members.  Upon return to Vanderbilt Hall, a self-quarantine period of 14 days in the student’s bedroom is required.  The Medical School will provide meals and HUHS Comfort Kits.
  • Social Events  Gatherings within the residence hall have been suspended until further notice.
  • 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.  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.  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. Please stay with your food when you are using common appliances such as 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.


Important Guidelines for Residents of Vanderbilt Hall Vanderbilt Hall

Updated July 1, 2020

As part of the University’s plan for a safe reopening, there are four important steps that individuals returning to campus must follow prior to entering Harvard buildings. These steps are critical to enable the safety of those returning and of our essential on-site staff.

Step 1: Complete the required online training

Before returning to Harvard facilities, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts requires individuals to complete the COVID-19 Safety Awareness Training (EHS-C19OSG170), available on the Harvard Training Portal. Completion of the training is required before proceeding to Step 2. Note: Although the defined audience says staff and personnel, students returning to campus are also required to complete this training.

Step 2: Use Crimson Clear every day before leaving Vanderbilt Hall

Those living in residence halls should use the Crimson Clear website every day to attest to the absence of COVID-19 symptoms before leaving their residential room/suite and accessing another Harvard building. Those who plan to remain in their room/suite for the entire day do not need to use Crimson Clear that day.

The website is compatible with all smartphone and computer operating systems. Those who are cleared will be provided with a digital or hard copy clearance for access to campus facilities for 24 hours. Those who are not cleared should self-quarantine in their rooms/suites to ensure the safety of others. Harvard University Health Services (HUHS) will receive an automatic notification if an individual is not cleared, and a clinical staff member will follow up by phone to assess and discuss next steps.

Those without access to a device or in the event of technical difficulties may complete a printable attestation form. To learn more about Crimson Clear, visit the FAQ page. For technical support, the HUIT IT Help Desk is available at 617-495-7777 and at

Step 3: Get an initial baseline viral test

All members of the residential community must take a baseline viral test for SARS-CoV-2. HUHS will administer the test at no cost to you. Visit HUHS’ Testing Information webpage this Friday, July 3, to schedule your test for next week. This site also includes information about testing protocols, locations, arrival information, results and more. Further details about recurring tests will be announced as they become available.

Step 4: 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


Please contact the Housing Office at