Coronavirus Response

coronavirus cells

Harvard University and Harvard School of Dental Medicine are closely monitoring the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. As the situation continues to change rapidly, the top priority remains the health, safety, and well-being of our community, on and off campus. The University, the School, and the Harvard Dental Center remain open and operational and are taking appropriate measures to protect the health of the community. 

We are planning for several contingency scenarios and taking decisive, informed action to limit the spread of COVID-19 while ensuring the continuity of our teaching and research mission. These efforts involve moving to virtual learning, ramping down our research labs, and encouraging our workforce to work remotely, among other efforts. We will continue to update the community regularly to keep you informed of additional measures.  

Harvard University guidance and policies

Please refer to the University's policies and guidelines found on Harvard University coronavirus webpage. This web page includes important guidance for remote courses, travel policies, campus restrictions and visiting or returning to campus.

Harvard Dental Center

Starting Monday, March 23, the Harvard Dental Center will be triaging all emergency consultations through tele-dentistry. Emergency calls will be directed to an on-call doctor that will help patients via teleconference communication.  All elective appointments will be rescheduled until further notice. Patients will be notified by an HDC staff member of appointment changes. Patients with questions regarding upcoming appointments may also call (617) 432-1434, contact the HDC by email, or use the online appointment form to request or cancel appointments as needed. ​​​

Harvard School of Dental Medicine community guidance

Coronavirus Workplace Policies

As of March 16, HSDM implimented a remote work policy for staff and faculty. See the Harvard HR website for policies related to sick time, and guidance for managers. 

Working Remotely: IT Tools and Resources

All members of the HSDM community are encouraged to use the technology and resources the University has to support working remotely. Check our HSDM IT Work Remotely site to ensure you have the necessary tools at your disposal. 

Business and Personal Travel

Government travel restrictions and public health measures are changing rapidly. All HSDM-related international and domestic travel is prohibited until at least April 30, and all personal travel is strongly discouraged. If you choose to travel, you will need to report your travel plans in advance. See University-wide travel guidance here.

Frequently Asked Questions


When will students be allowed to return to campus?

With the steady increase of cases of COVID-19 throughout the US, we are asking that students now plan not to return to campus until further notice (with the exception of AGE on-site emergency clinical coverage). The Harvard Dental Center has restricted treatment to emergency care only through Monday, April 6th. All preclinical and clinical activities will be suspended and didactic coursework will continue virtually until further notice.

How long will classes be held virtually?

Didactic courses will continue being held virtually as regularly scheduled. Your Course and Program Directors will be in touch with you about their plans to virtualize their courses if they have not already contacted you about this.

Instructions for DMD Students

First-year DMD students: Courses will continue virtually. No clinical responsibilities.

Second-year DMD students: On break through Monday, April 6th. The Diagnosis and Treatment Planning course will start on April 6th virtually. Dr. Coffin and Adrien will be in touch with more details in the upcoming weeks.

Third-year DMD students: On spring break through Monday, Monday, March 23rd. The Advanced Dentistry course will start on Monday, March 23rd virtually and the Leadership course will continue as regularly scheduled virtually.

Fourth-year DMD students: On spring break through Monday, Monday, March 23rd. All preclinical and clinical activities suspended until further notice.  Adrien will be in touch with CCR students regarding the POD II session currently scheduled for Wednesday, March 25th.


Instructions for AGE Students

School-based clinical programs: All preclinical and clinical activities suspended until further notice. Didactic and AGE courses will continue virtually as regularly scheduled. Your program director and HDC will communicate with you directly regarding On-Site Emergency Clinic Coverage.  

School-based non-clinical programs: Didactic courses will continue virtually as regularly scheduled.

Hospital-based programs: Please defer to the guidance of your hospital and program director.


How will Commencement be impacted by the spread of COVID-19?

On March 20, 2020, the University announced it would be necessary to postpone the in-person May 28 commencement exercises. View President Larry Bacow's announcement here.

For more information on Harvard's 369th Commencement Exercises, visit the Commencement FAQ page.

International Students

Will online classes affect international students’ I-20/visas?

The U.S. government recognizes there are extenuating circumstances because these classes were not intended to be online. The Harvard International Office (HIO) received guidance from the government that they intend to be flexible with temporary adaptations to classes. Provided international students can continue to make normal progress in a full course of study as required by federal regulations, students’ legal immigration status are not in jeopardy. International students and scholars should contact their HIO advisor with any questions or concerns.

What should I do to prepare to travel home?

International students who have decided to travel home or to another location should refer to the HIO website travel page for information about the proper documents you will need for your return to the United States. Before you leave, make sure you have a valid travel signature. Contact your HIO advisor with additional questions or concerns.

Instead of traveling back to my home country may I go elsewhere?

Yes, as long as you maintain your student visa status while taking your full-time on-line classes, you can go somewhere else in the U.S. You must provide the address where you are residing using the HIO change of address form.

What if I can’t leave campus or go home?

We realize that leaving campus on short notice will be difficult and challenging, and there will be extenuating circumstances for some international students. Examples include, but are not limited to, if your home is in a location with a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention level 3 warning for COVID-19 or in a country subject to the federal government’s travel ban. Harvard will provide you the help you need to stay safe, secure, and continue with your academic work. If you cannot leave campus or go home, you should consult with your resident dean or the office in charge of your housing as soon as possible to discuss potential delays, waivers, and accommodations. Any students who need to remain on campus for extenuating circumstances will receive their instruction online and must prepare for severely limited on-campus activities and interactions. Rest assured that we are actively contingency planning to support your academic continuity and well-being should Harvard need to reduce its on-campus workforce. We encourage you to reach out to Carrie Sylven, Director of Student Affairs, for more information.


Harvard Dental Center Patient Care

Is Harvard Dental Center open?

Beginning Monday, March 23, the Harvard Dental Center will no longer be open for in-person appointments, but will be triaging all emergency consultations through tele-dentistry. Emergency calls will be directed to an on-call doctor that will help patients via teleconference communication.  All elective appointments will be rescheduled until further notice. 

What is considered emergency care?

Emergency care is reserved for existing patients at the Harvard Dental Center and will be limited to pain or infection. 

How do I know if my appointment has been canceled?

Patients will be notified by an HDC staff member of appointment changes. Patients with questions regarding upcoming appointments may also call (617) 432-1434, contact the HDC by email, or use the online appointment form to request or cancel appointments as needed.

If a patient needs immediate care, what should they do?

Patients who need emergency care should call (617) 432-1434.

Health and Wellness

What should I do if I feel symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19)?

COVID-19 symptoms include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. If you have these symptoms and traveled to any location with a CDC Level 3 warning for COVID-19, you must complete this confidential health form and self-isolate using guidance from Harvard University Health Services (HUHS). In addition, if you have had close contact with someone showing these symptoms who recently traveled to a CDC Level 3 location, it is important to seek advice from a health care provider.

Anyone with flu-like symptoms should call their Primary Care Provider or HUHS at 617-495-5711 (24/7) for advice. Your Primary Care Provider or HUHS will help you determine whether to get assessment or treatment.

Should I self-isolate?

Review HUHS' guide to determine whether you should self-isolate.  Then contact your Primary Care Provider or email HUHS,, for additional guidance. Medical professionals are best equipped to offer advice based on factors such as how direct or indirect an individual’s contact with coronavirus was, recent travel history, an individual’s personal health history, and any symptoms that person may be experiencing.

Who should I notify?


For employees who do not receive their care at HUHS: If you’re being tested for COVID-19, or if you’ve received a positive test result for COVID-19, please immediately notify HUHS at We appreciate your help in protecting our entire community. 

If you're concerned about potential exposure to individuals who have been tested or tested positive: Contact investigation and notification is overseen by the local Department of Public Health. Any persons who have had close contact with those individuals in question have been notified by the Department of Public Health in accordance with standard public health principles. If you have not been notified, then you are not deemed to have an increased risk because of exposure to these individuals.


How do I cope with feelings of anxiety?

Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. The Harvard University Health Services guide provides helpful resources to manage fear and anxiety.

Students who are feeling overwhelmed or are in need of support, should contact Counseling and Mental Health Services at 617-495-2042 or 617-495-5711 (urgent care).

How can I protect myself and others?

  • Practice universal social distancing measures, including maintaining a six-foot distance from others, respectively staying away from sick people, limiting your movements, and avoiding public spaces and large, crowded gatherings. Universal social distancing is critical to protecting everyone.

  • Promote good, basic hygiene, including washing your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds; avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth; coughing/sneezing into a tissue or your sleeve; avoiding close contact with those who are sick; and staying home when you are sick.  Know when and how to wash your hands and use sanitizer.

  • Take steps to lower your risk at meetings and events, including holding video- or teleconference meetings, modifying in-person interactions, and maintaining a 6-foot distance.

Health and Wellness Resources

The health of our community is our top priority. We realize the extraordinary social distancing measures and the ongoing uncertainty of COVID-19 are incredibly challenging. Find a list of University resources to help maintain health and wellness here.