Messages to the HSDM Community

Stay informed of guidance to the HSDM community in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Steps to Protect our Community–September 3, 2021

Dear Members of our HSDM Community,

As yesterday’s University-wide message from Dr. Giang T. Nguyen, Executive Director of Harvard University Health Services reminded us, the pandemic is not over. While we are pleased that the vaccination rate of our campus-wide and local community is very high, breakthrough infections have been documented with the Delta variant even in vaccinated individuals. Despite these concerns and evolving challenges, through working together, we’ve kept HSDM extremely safe - but that work is not over. 

The key to protecting ourselves and our community is through vigilant maintenance of each of our known safeguards against COVID-19 and its variants. Regular testing, masking, and mindful engagement within our community and among close social contacts are among the most effective strategies to protect ourselves and to maintain a safe on-campus environment.

We ask that you to carefully acquaint yourselves with Dr. Nguyen’s update and continue your personal commitment to Harvard policies and guidelines.  You can find up-to-date information on those guidelines on our HSDM Return-to-Campus FAQ webpage and the Harvard University Return-to-Campus webpage.

We’re incredibly grateful to our community for your continued compliance with University policies, and the thoughtfulness and responsibility you have shown over the course of the pandemic.  Our HSDM community has done an exemplary job in keeping our community safe.

As we head into the Labor Day weekend, please stay safe and have a nice break!


William V. Giannobile
Harvard School of Dental Medicine

Charles Frizzell
Dean for Administration and Finance
Harvard School of Dental Medicine

Important COVID Updates–August 27

Dear Members of our HSDM Community,

Over the past few months we welcomed new AGE and DMD students to campus, and the majority of our faculty and staff have now returned as well. As our on-campus presence continues to grow, the health and safety of the HSDM community remains our top priority. Although it’s reassuring that the vaccination rate of our community is very high, breakthrough infections have been documented with the Delta variant even in vaccinated individuals. We know that vaccines continue to provide the best protection against severe disease and hospitalization, but we need to remain vigilant and do everything we can to protect those in our community who are most vulnerable. We continue to evaluate and adapt our policies and behaviors based on emerging public health guidance. We, again, ask for your cooperation and compliance with these Harvard requirements:

  • Verify Your Vaccination Status: As noted in a recent email from University leadership, faculty and staff have until August 31 to submit verification of  COVID vaccination status. Students are already required to comply with this request prior to being on campus. Those not yet compliant are subject to registration holds. Human Resources has been in touch with those faculty and staff who have not yet verified their vaccination status.
  • Testing: COVID-19 testing requirements remain in place for every member of the community who is on campus, including those who come to campus infrequently. To review your cadence, go to Crimson Clear. It is very important to adhere to weekly testing and keep to the day of the week you are scheduled to test. If for some reason you cannot make that particular day of the week, it is more important that you test at another point during the same week. Reminders by text and email will shift to a week from the day you test. There are now two daily self-test distribution times Monday through Friday to make picking up your test kit more convenient: 9:30-10:30am in the REB Lobby, and 2:30-3:30pm in the Main Lobby. We are very grateful to our staff who are helping with distribution. You are encouraged to drop-off your completed test as early in the day as possible due to a higher volume of tests being processed across the University.
  • Masking: The University’s indoor mask requirement remains in place, regardless of vaccination status. It is important for each of us to remain masked in HSDM buildings, unless alone in private offices, or actively eating or drinking in spaces where eating is permitted. While we understand the importance of collaboration and social interaction, gathering with classmates or colleagues indoors without masks is strictly prohibited per University guidelines and the recent Public Health Order from the City of Boston. Students should also use their best judgment when socializing off-campus on evenings and weekends. Cases of breakthrough infections are possible and self-isolating for 10 days if infected can be very disruptive to your academic and clinical training.

HSDM departments and offices with an onsite workforce presence, are encouraged to continue to evaluate and adapt flex work schedules as needed, and have ongoing conversations with their employees as we look to extend flex work options into the Fall. We also want to remind employees that the University is extending its emergency excused absence for dependent well care benefit through December 31, 2021. This additional benefit can be used if needed for care of immediate family or household members who are well but whose schooling or care arrangements have been disrupted by COVID-19.

We understand it is challenging to stay on top of the evolving guidance. For detailed information and requirements for returning to campus, please visit the HSDM Return-to-Campus FAQ webpage and the Harvard University Return-to-Campus webpage.

Thank you for your continued patience as we adapt to the changing realities of living amid a pandemic. We’re extremely grateful to our community for your continued compliance with University policies, and the responsibility you have shown over the course of the pandemic. Working together, we’ve kept HSDM extremely safe.


William Giannobile
Harvard School of Dental Medicine

Charles Frizzell
Dean for Administration and Finance
Harvard School of Dental Medicine


Welcome Back to Campus- July 9, 2021

Dear Members of our HSDM Community,

This is an exciting time as more of our community members have started to return campus this month. The majority of our workforce now has an onsite presence, and our new cohort of Advanced Graduate Education students just started their specialty programs at HSDM last week. I am delighted to welcome those returning, as well as those who are new to HSDM, to campus. I look forward to meeting all of you. 

As yesterday’s University-wide message from Dr. Giang T. Nguyen reminded us, vaccinations are key to our return and keeping our community safe. If you have not already done so, it is imperative that you share your vaccination record with HUHS through their secure Patient Portal by the deadline of July 15. It is recommended that even those vaccinated at HUHS check to make sure their records show their COVID vaccination.

It is encouraging to see that with the majority of the University population vaccinated, distancing guidelines are starting to ease, and COVID testing cadences will decrease in frequency. The University is no longer requiring that vaccinated persons distance indoors or outdoors, and as of July 28 new testing frequencies will be implemented to lower the amount of testing required for vaccinated individuals. Masks will still remain in use indoors for the time being. Please note the update about Crimson Clear in Dr. Nguyen’s message pertains everyone except those working in the clinic who should continue with daily Crimson Clear attestations. These updates will be reflected in our Return to Campus FAQ.

The Longwood campus has sprung back to life, and walking around the Quad I’ve noticed many of our community members out enjoying the summer weather (on nicer days than today). Outdoor programming  sponsored by MASCO has returned, bringing food trucks, musical performances and other activities to the Longwood Medical Area. Soon, we hope to bring back HSDM traditions such as tea time and in-person programming as well. Next week you’ll see a call for volunteers for the WE (Wellness and Events) Committee. I hope you’ll consider contributing your time or ideas in support of community events. Like you, I am eager for us to be able to gather as a community once again. 

William Giannobile

Important changes in COVID-19 policies for research & education–June 25, 2021

Dear Members of our HSDM Community,

I am pleased to share that we received an update from Harvard University Health Services (HUHS) that will allow us to expand research and education activities. HUHS has announced that effective today, Friday, June 25, vaccinated persons in the Harvard research community (lab and non-lab) and in educational programs whose academic year begins in July, are no longer required to follow physical distancing in situations where distancing negatively impacts scientific or academic progress, and are no longer required to distance outdoors. 

This is very welcome news as our Advanced Graduate Education programs begin next week. The change in policy will allow us to move forward with plans to expand classroom and research support spaces to full occupancy, and have more robust onsite activities in the weeks to come. 

This policy currently only applies to those in the Harvard research and medical education communities which includes HSDM and HMS. Unvaccinated persons are required to continue to maintain physical distancing. For all, masks are still required indoors, and distancing of six feet is required when removing masks to eat indoors. 

Vaccinated members of the Harvard community should submit proof of their vaccination to HUHS as soon as possible. University administration continues to evaluate campus vaccination status and relaxation of remaining public health measures.


Charles Frizzell
Dean for Administration and Finance

Updated guidance, fully re-opening clinics–May 28, 2021

Dear Members of our HSDM Community,

Today’s message from Harvard University leadership, brings positive news that we are continuing to make progress toward resuming more robust on-campus academic, clinical, and work activities. With Governor Baker’s announcement that remaining COVID-19 restrictions in Massachusetts will be removed May 29, Harvard University Health Services (HUHS) and Environmental Health & Safety have reviewed all the restrictions that affect healthcare settings operated by the University and given us the green light to fully reopen our clinics and expand access!

As of May 29, there will no longer be specific density/distance guidelines for dental practices, so our teaching and faculty clinics can expand access as necessary. More details will be shared as the Harvard Dental Center (HDC) begins to implement this expanded model. This is exciting news for many of us, and I’m so grateful to our dedicated faculty, staff, and students in the HDC who throughout the pandemic have led the way in implementing new protocols and safely providing patient care. 

While distancing guidelines will be relaxed in the clinic, we will still need to follow Harvard’s physical distancing protocols in all other areas of the School until further updates are provided by the University. While we await new guidance, the Office of Dental Education (ODE) and Facilities will be evaluating classroom spaces and preparing to transition to more in-person didactic learning when guidance permits. It is likely that some courses will remain flexible in their mode of instruction and will blend both in-person and remote instruction dependent on the content and format of individual class sessions. I am also pleased to announce that we will begin expanding student access to the Pre-Clinical Learning Clinic (PCLC), the Prosthodontic Lab, and the Digital Dental Lab in the evenings and on weekends. More information will be shared on this from ODE. 

The University’s recent change to Crimson Clear, that states attestation is no longer required for most individuals on campus, will apply to our researchers, faculty and administrative staff who do not work in clinical areas. All students, staff, and faculty working in clinical settings will still be required complete Crimson Clear daily in accordance with Massachusetts Department of Public Health requirements. We hope this will evolve as case counts continue to drop in the state.

As more of our offsite workforce begins to return to campus this summer, we will continue to put the health and safety of our community first. The University’s new vaccination requirement for all Harvard faculty, staff, and researchers on-campus, will provide added reassurance and keep our community protected. I know many of our community members are already vaccinated, and vaccines have become readily available to all. If you haven’t already done so, please share your vaccination record with HUHS (email mrecords@huhs.harvard.eduparticularly if you are already on campus, or are returning soon. Your commitment to keeping yourself and our community healthy is so important. 

The Return-to-Campus Task Force has begun initial planning work, and will be sharing FAQs and other resources with our community as plans develop. Working with the Task Force, Human Resources has shared tools and resources with managers and will host upcoming workshops as departments consider a variety of flexible approaches for onsite coverage. Please hold the date of Tuesday, June 22 at noon for an HSDM Town Hall Meeting, organized by the Task Force, that will cover questions and topics related to our expanded onsite presence and as well as the latest University guidance.

Thank you again for your patience and determination as we continue to make progress toward a more active and vibrant campus community in the months ahead. Please enjoy a restful and relaxing Memorial Day holiday and long weekend!  

With gratitude,

William Giannobile
Dean, Harvard School of Dental Medicine

Encouraging News- May 5, 2021

Dear Members of our HSDM Community,

Today’s message from University leadership brings more encouraging news and signs of our campus returning to a more vibrant state in the days and weeks ahead. We can now step outside on campus without wearing masks outdoors, which is welcome news for strolling on the Quad and getting out to enjoy the nice springtime weather. The University and HSDM have remained remarkably safe throughout the pandemic, and we will continue to chart a course that keeps our community safe based on current public health guidance. As more of our community members return to HSDM beginning this summer, we will continue to follow testing protocols, wear face coverings indoors, and maintain other important steps established by the University to ensure a healthy campus environment. 

The University has taken the additional step of requiring all students to be fully vaccinated. Most of our students at HSDM are already vaccinated as health care providers, and the new requirement will give us additional reassurance as we welcome a new cohort of students on campus this summer. While this requirement doesn’t yet extend to staff and faculty, I continue to strongly encourage those of you who have not already been vaccinated to consider doing so. I’m pleased that Harvard University Health Services will offer vaccination clinics open to all Harvard students, faculty and staff at the Murr Center beginning on May 7. Instructions on how to schedule an appointment, dates and times for future vaccine clinics, and FAQs can be found on the HUHS vaccine webpage

As we look forward to celebrating our Class of 2021 graduates in the upcoming weeks, I’m inspired by their determination in the face of so many challenges this year. The importance of our educational mission is critical and I’m grateful to all those who supported our students during their final year at HSDM. I’m also hopeful that our return to campus will bring back our vibrant community committed to advancing our mission. Your resilience this year has proven we can achieve great things in the face of adversity. I’m confident that with your commitment to HSDM we will continue to make great progress.  

With gratitude,
William Giannobile
Harvard School of Dental Medicine

Return-to-Campus Task Force- April 15, 2021

Dear Members of our HSDM Community,

As mentioned in yesterday’s message from University leadership, all Harvard Schools are making plans for their staff, faculty, and students to return to campus. Each School and Unit has been asked to make their own determinations on a date that works best to coincide with their academic needs. The University recognizes there will be a wide variety of flexible approaches and varying return-to-campus dates based on School needs and priorities. At HSDM, we are targeting the date of July 1, 2021—the date our Advanced Graduate Education programs begin—for more members of our remote workforce to gradually return. As noted, this is not a “one-size-fits-all” approach so some individuals may return earlier, and some later, based on departmental needs. Our current students, and many of our clinical faculty, researchers, and essential staff, are already onsite. I’m grateful to those who have returned to support our students and our clinical needs.

I have assembled a task force to look at all aspects of the re-entry process and create a roadmap for our community’s safe return. I’m delighted that the following individuals have agreed to serve as task force members: Paula Anderson, Jane Barrow, Dawn DeCosta, Heather Denny, Jim McBride, Sarah Troy-Petrakos, Andy Radics, Kate Rezendes, Lia Sgourakes, and Judy VanceThe objective of the task force will be to review and develop a safe workforce re-entry plan for our currently remote faculty and staff that meets the needs of the various business units, while taking into account the unique needs of the individuals. Thank you to all those who provided feedback through the recent HR survey. Your input will be very valuable to the work of the task force.

We are grateful to so many of you working in such a flexible manner to provide continuity of clinical care and teaching for the benefit of our students and community members.  The University’s announcement that two additional paid days off will be given to everyone on Tuesday, June 1 and Friday, July 2 in conjunction with the Memorial Day and Independence Day holidays is welcome news. I’m thrilled that the hard work of our dedicated community members will be acknowledged in this way, and I hope that you will make plans to enjoy the extra time off to unwind and spend time with your families and loved ones. During this challenging year, when we’ve asked so much of you, it is very well deserved! Thank you again for all you do for HSDM.

With gratitude,

William Giannobile
Harvard School of Dental Medicine

Importance of Vaccinations- April 12, 2021

Dear Members of our HSDM Community,

Last week’s message from Provost Garber and Dr. Giang T. Nguyen of Harvard University Health Services (HUHS) underscored the importance of vaccinations and continued adherence to University health and safety protocols to ensure a smooth transition back to campus. I urge you to follow their recommendations and get a COVID vaccination as soon as you are eligible. While the vaccine is not mandatory at this time, it is highly recommended for all staff, faculty, and students, and it has been proven to be remarkably safe and effective. The University’s vaccine webpage points to resources that will help you find appointments in your area, or pre-register for a vaccination through the state’s portal. 

A high vaccination rate in our community is a critical component to our return to full in-person learning, research, patient care, and other activities on campus. As I mentioned in an earlier email, we are targeting July 1, 2021 as the date we will begin to gradually bring more of our workforce back to campus. I will assign a task force of HSDM faculty and staff members to look at all aspects of this process and create a roadmap for our community’s safe return. I encourage you to provide feedback to the process by completing the recent survey sent out by Human Resources. Your responses will help to inform our process.

I’m encouraged that we are already well ahead of other graduate schools in our vaccination rate and number of community members on campus. Whether you are on campus or working remotely, once you are vaccinated, the University asks that you please send a clear copy of your completed vaccination card to HUHS at HUHS keeps this information secure and confidential, and this will help them monitor progress toward full vaccination within Harvard’s population. Those vaccinated by HUHS do not need to submit this information, since it is already recorded.

I’m very grateful to our dedicated community members on campus who have ensured our community stays extremely safe by being vigilant, testing regularly, and getting vaccinated. I’m also thankful for those working from home who are juggling work and home life and remaining highly productive. Our full return to campus is reliant on everyone playing an important part. Thank you again for your commitment to this process. I look forward to sharing more in the days to come.

With gratitude,

William Giannobile
Harvard School of Dental Medicine

Returning to Campus- March 25, 2021

Dear Members of our HSDM Community, 

The start of spring brings new hope as we see vaccination rates climb and state restrictions begin to lift! We are optimistically looking ahead to what the summer and fall will look like on our campus. As you saw in a message earlier this week from Harvard University leadership, schools and units across the University are actively planning their return to campus.

HSDM is unique in that nearly 400 members of our community, including clinical staff, faculty, and students, are already back on campus. More than 250 members of our community have been vaccinated and that number continues to grow as vaccines become more readily available. With encouraging developments on the horizon, I’m pleased to report that we intend to bring our remaining faculty, staff, students and postdocs back to campus gradually beginning July 1.

Our transition back to campus will be informed by public health guidance, state and University guidelines, and input from our community. We’ve successfully expanded our in-person capacity thus far by putting safety first with continued testing, improvements to our facilities, capacity limits, and enhanced custodial services—we will continue to keep safety at the forefront of our decision making. 

Anticipated Reopening Plans: 

Research/Lab Activities 
HSDM labs have been expanding capacity in accordance with University and state density guidelines, and research activities have returned to near pre-pandemic levels. Additional capacity in specific lab rooms/facilities is anticipated to increase over the coming months. The HSDM Lab COVID Oversight Committee will continue to monitor the School’s safety reporting process, address incidents of noncompliance, and support lab personnel, postdocs, PIs, and departments. As a reminder, issues of noncompliance that cannot be addressed at the department level can be submitted anonymously via the online reporting form

Education Programs 
Current students already on campus will continue their clinical training in-person and didactic learning remotely until we are notified of changes in capacity limits. Our hope is that capacity limits will be expanded soon to allow for in-person instruction and increased density in areas such as the Pre-Clinical Learning Center and other facilities. By July 1, we anticipate bringing a new cohort of Advanced Graduate Education (AGE) students to campus to begin their programs in person. We are coordinating with Harvard Medical School on plans for the incoming DMD class, who start their program with their HMS classmates in early August. 

Administrative Staff 
Significant numbers of essential HSDM staff members are already back on campus to support research, clinical and educational programs. Many more will return in the coming months as we increase lab densities and in-person instruction. Our hope is to begin bringing more staff back to campus in phases starting July 1. You may be wondering about the expectations for flexibility and future remote work. Many departments, offices, and units will be exploring options, and this will be the topic of upcoming discussions with School leadership as well as a survey by our Office of Human Resources. We hope you will lend your feedback to this effort. We will share more details about the timing and phases for staff members to return to campus in upcoming messages.

Vaccinations, Testing, Public Health Guidelines
Our on-campus community has remained extremely safe by being vigilant, testing regularly, and getting vaccinated when given the opportunity. I thank them for their dedication. They are leading by example as we look forward to welcoming more members of our community back. Updates on vaccine availability, University protocols, and travel policies were shared in a community message last week from Dr. Giang Nguyen, executive director of Harvard University Health Services. It’s important that we continue to follow guidelines for the Crimson Clear health attestation, testing at the assigned frequency, physical distancing, and mask-wearing in campus buildings—all of which must be followed by everyone on campus, regardless of vaccination status. 

I’m very hopeful that our transition back to campus is the beginning of what will be a promising new year ahead. We are eager to see our friends and colleagues in person again. Our full return to campus is reliant on all of us. We are eager and excited to have you here, but more than that, we need you. We need your enthusiasm and adaptability as we chart a course for HSDM’s future. Thank you for your continued patience and resilience. I look forward to sharing more details about our plans in the weeks to come. 

William Giannobile 

A Year of Extraordinary Work- March 12, 2021

Dear Members of our HSDM Community, 


This week marks a year since COVID-19 upended our world and changed our lives and our school in ways we never imagined. The pandemic has caused great heartache and loss, shifted our work and priorities, and at times tested our ability to persevere. Yet with these significant challenges, our community has always supported each other. We’ve found new ways to connect virtually, new methods to learn, and a new appreciation for our work and mission. I am so grateful to all of you for your extraordinary efforts during this difficult year. You’ll find several examples of these efforts highlighted in our FY20 annual report


As we look ahead, there is encouraging news. Vaccinations are starting to change our outlook and give us hope. Nearly 250 members of our HSDM community have been vaccinated. Importantly, this includes our resilient students, faculty, and staff on the front lines of patient care. We are hopeful that as the vaccine becomes more widely available, restrictions will begin to lift and our community will be able to return to on-site work. We have greatly missed the connections associated with seeing our friends and colleagues in person. Additional good news is that our new practice in Cambridge is attracting a large number of patients and adding additional staffing to keep up with demand. Our students are all back on campus, and the Class of 2021 is making excellent progress toward their graduation in May. In early April, we look forward to welcoming newly admitted students in the Class of 2025 for virtual Preview Days 


While we can’t yet gather in-person to celebrate these important milestones, virtual events such as the installation of Dr. Robert Tanner Freeman’s portrait and presentation on HSDM’s inspirational Black trailblazers have given us meaningful ways to connect as a community. This month, we recognize Women’s History Month and the accomplishments of our female alumnae, faculty, students, and staff. Diversity and Inclusion Fellow Shaida Parsaei, DMD23, recently wrote a wonderful reflection on International Women’s Day that I hope you have read. She points out that although women have historically been underrepresented in the field of dentistry, the number is steadily rising today. Her own Class of 2023 is a great example of this with 71% women.  


In the weeks ahead, we are looking forward to sharing the results of the schoolwide Climate Survey we conducted at the end of last year. We will do this in focus groups, organized by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion with support from the Dean’s Office, to allow for deeper exploration of the findings. Our community provided very constructive feedback that will help guide our efforts in bringing greater focus to diversity, inclusion, and belonging at HSDM. Human Resources also plans to conduct a survey of faculty and staff focused on how our workforce is managing during the prolonged period of working from home, and what resources can best support our productivity and health. 


As we turn our clocks ahead this weekend to begin daylight savings time, I’m reminded that this harbinger of spring brings additional hope this year. Hope that we are turning a corner, and brighter days are ahead. Thank you again for your continued strength and resilience, and for all you do for HSDM! 


With gratitude, 
William Giannobile 


Harvard School of Dental Medicine 


Spring Term Update on Plans for January 2021–October 20, 2020

Dear HSDM Students, 


We hope you and your loved ones are staying well and healthy. As always, we are sincerely grateful to each and every one of you for your patience, dedication, and support as we navigate the current crisis together. We are truly proud of all you have accomplished during these challenging times and look forward to continue working with you closely in the coming months.


We are writing to provide an update regarding plans for the Winter/Spring term that will allow adequate time for many of you to prepare for your return to campus. HSDM remains committed to bringing students back to campus for Spring 2021 courses beginning in January. Curricular content will be delivered with a blend of remote and in-person learning in accordance with space and occupancy restrictions. As has been the case since March, we will need to be flexible as the COVID-19 crisis evolves in new and potentially unexpected ways, however, we are planning for limited on-site preclinical and clinical training and will resume clinical and hospital rotations.  


Similarly, HMS will bring their students back to campus in January, including our first year DMD students, under a hybrid model of online learning and in-person training. Second-year DMD students will also return in January at the start of the Spring term; while students in non-clinical AGE programs are urged to be in touch with their Program Directors about plans for the Winter/Spring term as teaching, research, rotations, and other requirements differ among the various programs. Planning is still underway and many details are still being worked out for the upcoming term, however, we will continue to share updates as they are available. 


We remain optimistic that clinical operations will be able to expand in the upcoming months and allow our Teaching Practices and Faculty Group Practice to continue to increase in capacity, while balancing the need to maintain additional federal and state health and safety protocols to ensure the health and wellbeing of our community and our patients. The Harvard Dental Center will continue to monitor the evolving needs and feasibility of increased patient care and will communicate accordingly. 


For those students who will be returning to campus for the first time in January, please be aware of the following pre-requisites for your return and be sure to make the necessary arrangements in advance of your return to ensure your compliance. 


Requirements for return to Campus: (please note, these requirements are subject to change/update)   

  1. Proof of Flu Vaccine and submission of all required health forms and immunization records to HUHS 
  2. Compliance with Massachusetts Travel Order: Complete the Massachusetts Travel Form prior to arrival, unless you are arriving from a lower-risk state as designated by the Department of Public Health. These guidelines are constantly changing so you will need to monitor them  
    • Quarantine for 14 days or produce a negative COVID-19 test result that has been administered up to 72-hours prior to your arrival in Massachusetts. If your COVID-19 test result has not been received prior to arrival, both visitors and residents must quarantine until you receive a negative test result. Failure to comply may result in a $500 fine per day.  
  1. International students are advised to contact their Harvard International Office Advisor in the next few weeks to inquire about requirements for returning to campus in January 
  2. Complete the state-mandated COVID-19 safety awareness training, available on the Harvard Training Portal.  
  3. Complete Crimson Clear wellness attestation daily when you plan to be on-campus. This requires completion of the COVID-19 safety awareness training first. 
  4. Routine testing – under current guidelines, students living in Vanderbilt Hall will get tested at least three times per week, and students coming to HSDM who do not live in Vanderbilt Hall will get tested at least once a week. Frequency of testing is subject to change. More details will be shared as we approach the start of the term. For more information about testing, click here: 
  5. Students with pre-existing or chronic health conditions that have concerns about participating in-person and/or clinical activities are urged to contact their health care provider(s). Your providers can provide assist with guidance on learning in preclinical and clinical settings as well as precautions and/or accommodations that may be necessary for your participation. If you would like to discuss setting up potential support as recommended by your provider, please contact the HMS/HSDM Office of Disability Services at or call (617) 432-9198. 


Requirements while on Campus: 

  1. Face Coverings- The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, as well as the Cities of Boston and Cambridge, along with several other municipalities, have instituted emergency orders requiring the use of face coverings in public places. While on campus (both inside and outside our buildings), a University-issued mask is to be worn. This mask will be distributed at the REB entrance and should to be donned at final destination. For those living in Harvard dormitories, you must wear a cloth or disposable face covering whenever indoors (unless you're in your own private residence or room with the door closed), and whenever you're outside and can't physically distance. It is expected that all students, faculty, staff, and visitors to Harvard comply with these orders when in public, when at work in the presence of others, and when in common spaces at Harvard, with limited exceptions.  
  2. Travel Restrictions- All University-related travel, both international and domestic, is prohibited until further notice and should not be planned or scheduled at this time. We also strongly discourage personal travel, both international and domestic. Students may be required to seek approval from the Office of Dental Education for any planned or unplanned personal out of state travel.  
  3. Limitations on Gatherings- In Massachusetts, indoor gatherings are limited to 8 socially distanced people per 1,000 square feet and must not exceed 25 people in a single enclosed indoor space. The University’s Coronavirus workplace policies specify that in-person gatherings should be banned or severely limited. At HSDM and in the Vanderbilt Hall residence hall, strict restrictions on the number of people that can gather in a particular location will be enforced (room capacity numbers are posted on doors). Students and other community members are only permitted to be in the School buildings for approved curricular activities. 

Thank you again for your continued patience and resilience. We are committed to maintaining the excellence of our educational programs, both those conducted online and in-person, and assure you that the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff is our highest priority. 


Sending you our warmest thoughts and best wishes, 

Sang Park, DDS, MMSc
Associate Dean for Dental Education
Director, Predoctoral Education Program
Program Director, MMSc in Dental Education 


Fall Plans and New Testing Protocols–August 5, 2020

Dear Members of the HSDM Community:

I hope you are staying well this summer. This week we welcomed a new class of HSDM predoctoral students during our virtual DMD Orientation program. While this happy occasion reminds us that life goes on during a pandemic, we are still quite far from normal. Today, Harvard’s Provost, Executive Vice President, and Executive Director of Harvard Health Services detailed what the fall will look like at Harvard University in the midst of the ongoing pandemic. We once again ask for your continued understanding and support of these new guidelines outlined by Harvard leadership.

As we continue to grapple with COVID-19, the majority of Harvard personnel, including most Harvard School of Dental Medicine (HSDM) personnel, will continue to work remotely through at least the end of the calendar year. This guideline is extremely important for the health and wellbeing of our community and to ensure the availability of testing and tracing to protect those who are on campus.

HSDM continues to operate with a reduced number of students, faculty, and essential staff on-site. For these members of our community, new enhanced testing protocols will become part of our weekly operations and their routine. More information will be provided soon on these protocols which will include the option of self-administered tests. Enhanced testing is vital to keeping our community and our patients safe.

Individuals who are permitted on-site, will continue to complete daily Crimson Clear attestations. Those on-site for limited periods of time will only be allowed physical access to the locations necessary to complete specific activities. Please check with your supervisor if you have any questions about access. Because the safety of our community is paramount, we will be strictly enforcing compliance with all COVID-19 regulations, and failure to comply may result in loss of access. This includes wearing a face covering at all times, keeping physical distance, and frequently washing hands.

Everyone has a part to play in keeping our community strong. I continue to be impressed by the dedication I see of those working both on-site and remotely, and how you’ve risen to meet challenges we’ve never faced before. Thank you again for all you do for HSDM.

Vicki Rosen
Interim Dean


Supporting HSDM's International Students–July 8, 2020

Dear Members of the HSDM Community,

President Bacow’s message this morning expressed the deep concern we all feel about the recent guidance issued by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and its potential impact on our international student population. As several of our DMD and AGE programs have shifted online this fall due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the new guidelines put our students at risk of needing to leave the country, or not being allowed to return to the U.S. if currently abroad. This is unacceptable and goes against what we stand for as a School and a University.

I want to reiterate our commitment to our international students. The University has taken decisive action, to file pleadings seeking a temporary restraining order against enforcement of the recent ICE guidance. We will do all that we can to ensure that our students continue their studies without fear of being forced to leave the country or their academic programs. Our international students have worked hard to come to Harvard to advance their education, and we must now work hard on their behalf.

If you are an international student who is potentially impacted, Harvard’s International Office (HIO) is an excellent resource to consult. I encourage you to reach out to your advisor at HIO with questions and concerns. Please also keep in touch with me and other HSDM deans, advisors and program directors, so that we can offer our support.

I hope to share more in the coming days as the University moves forward with legal action. Until then, we stand with our students.

Vicki Rosen
Interim Dean

HSDM Office Reentry–June 23, 2020

Dear HSDM Faculty and Staff,

I hope you are staying well. Two weeks ago, we announced the first steps to reopening our research labs, and plans to slowly increase capacity in our clinics and bring third-and-fourth-year DMD students and AGE students back. Since then, we’ve implemented many new safety protocols and physical changes to our building and spaces to ensure compliance with University and State health guidelines. I’d like to thank all of those who have been instrumental in making this happen.

While the majority of HSDM faculty, and staff will continue to work remotely through at least the end of the summer, a small number of essential personnel will be allowed to return to work with the permission of a dean or department head. Please consult with your supervisor to determine if this applies to you. Any staff or faculty allowed to return to HSDM will need to closely follow the Office Reentry Protocols outlined on the intranet. HSDM students who are returning have received separate communications outlining similar steps they must take before their return.

Whether you are returning soon, or would like to prepare for an eventual return to the office, you may take the Covid-19 Safety Awareness Training in the Harvard Training Portal anytime.

In the days ahead, we will share more information on the progress made throughout our gradual reopening process. Thank you again for your patience and dedication to HSDM.

Charles Frizzell
Dean for Administration and Finance

Update on Student Return to Campus–June 5, 2020

Dear Advanced Graduate Students and DMD Class of 2021 and 2022,

Thank you for your continued patience and understanding during this significant disruption to your preclinical and clinical education due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As you are all aware, the health and safety of our community is paramount in all of our decisions and planning to bring you back to campus. We have received approval from the University to re-open the School for preclinical and limited clinical education beginning Monday, July 6th. Didactic coursework will continue be held online through December 2020. 

Preclinical Education:
Initially, incoming AGE and rising Year 3 DMD students will be divided into small groups in order to observe social distancing within the preclinical lab space, and sessions will be conducted each morning, Monday thru Friday, and repeated each afternoon to allow everyone to participate. The specifics of these plans will be communicated to you by the Office of Dental Education or your AGE program director in the upcoming weeks.

Clinical Education: 
A taskforce, comprised of HSDM faculty, HDC staff, and Harvard University EH&S staff has developed a phased plan for clinical care in the Harvard Dental Center (HDC). Phase I, which is currently in progress, allows for expanded emergency care by faculty and allows faculty and staff to triage and become accustomed to new protocols developed to ensure safe patient/provider interactions. Phase II will focus on returning AGE and DMD students to the patient care environment. Phase III will focus on safely increasing the operational capacity of the HDC and continue to monitor and adjust protocols as deemed necessary. The rate at which capacity can be increased is being determined by the state of Massachusetts.

A detailed safety plan has been developed and will necessitate all students, faculty and staff that work in the HDC to undergo an in-depth orientation covering these updated protocols. These orientations will begin starting in July. The Office of Dental Education in conjunction with the Harvard Dental Center will communicate the specifics of this plan in the upcoming weeks.

Research Labs:
A plan for reopening research labs has been developed with research teams comprised of HSDM faculty and our colleagues in the Quad at Harvard Medical School and will be communicated in a separate communication.

Rest assured we are aware that many of you will have unique circumstances and needs when planning your return to campus in the upcoming weeks. Please know that we will work with you to accommodate these needs. Should you have concerns or anticipate any difficulty returning to campus by July 6th, please contact your program director, senior tutor, or Carrie Sylven, Director of Student Affairs. In addition, we want to provide you with the following considerations in for planning your return to campus:

Students with Pre-existing Health Conditions:
Students with pre-existing or chronic health conditions that have concerns about participating in-person and/or clinical activities are urged to contact their health care provider(s). Your providers can provide assist with guidance on learning in preclinical and clinical settings as well as precautions and/or accommodations that may be necessary for your participation. If you would like to discuss setting up potential support as recommended by your provider, please contact the HMS/HSDM Office of Disability Services at or call (617) 432-9198.

Massachusetts Travel Guidance
Please be aware that current travel guidance from the Governor of Massachusetts requires all travelers arriving in Massachusetts must self-quarantine for 14 days. Visitors are instructed not to travel to Massachusetts if they are displaying symptoms.  

Additionally, when planning your return to Boston, please be aware of the recommended precautions for travel issued by Harvard University: 

During travel, take the appropriate precautions to protect yourself and others:

  • Wash your hands often with warm soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If you can’t wash your hands, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Remain at least six feet from others.
  • Wear a cloth face covering.
  • If you develop symptoms during or after travel, notify your Primary Care Provider.

We are committed to delivering continuous educational experiences to our students and it is our hope that this staged approach will allow us to achieve our goal of creating a safe learning environment for DMD and AGE students.

Vicki Rosen | Chair and Professor of Developmental Biology | Interim Dean, HSDM

Update on DMD and AGE Fall Programs–May 13, 2020

Dear Members of the HSDM Community,

Today, HMS Dean George Q. Daley announced that fall 2020 courses will begin remotely for entering classes of medical and graduate students due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This decision was made after much analysis and thoughtful planning for a phased approach to re-opening. As this decision relates to HSDM, the incoming class of DMD students, who spend their first-year learning alongside their HMS classmates, will start their program with online learning and transition to in-person learning in January. Our rising second-year DMD students who traditionally transition to HSDM in the Fall, will also continue taking online courses until January.

We recognize that uncertainty around when we will reopen clinical operations can be concerning to students at an already stressful time, but we must wait for guidance from the state of Massachusetts and the Department of Public Health before committing to an opening date. It is likely we will need to implement additional protocols recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that augment our already enhanced safety measures to ensure the health and wellbeing of our community and our patients once given the permission to reopen. Once we can confirm start dates for third and fourth year DMDs, and all AGE students, those returning to Massachusetts from outside of the state will need to plan accordingly to allow for two weeks of quarantine.

To recap the phased re-entry plan, here are the plans for each program:

Entering first-year DMD students: Start virtually in August; begin on-campus courses on January 4, 2021
Rising second-year DMD students: Start virtually in September; begin on-campus courses at HSDM on January 4, 2021
Rising third-year DMD students: More information to follow after May 18 regarding preclinical re-entry
Rising fourth-year DMD students: More information to follow after May 18 regarding clinic re-entry
AGE students: More information to follow after May 18 regarding return to HSDM when the clinics and preclinical lab reopen

Thank you for your continued patience and resilience. We are committed to maintaining the excellence of our educational programs, both those conducted online and in-person, and assure you that the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff is our highest priority.

Sincerely, Vicki Rosen
Interim Dean, HSDM

Predoctoral and Advanced Graduate Programs–May 4, 2020

Dear HSDM Predoctoral and Advanced Graduate Students:

Thank you for your patience during this time of disruption and unease surrounding the COVID-19 threat. We are committed to keeping our community safe and are making plans for the future at HSDM. It is likely that virtual courses will continue for the time being. Our reports to the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) reporting programmatic changes have been submitted. CODA will be meeting during May to review the reports and provide feedback to the school. The state of Massachusetts continues to limit dental practice to emergency care only until further notice. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have begun to update their guidance for dental practice. We will need to acquire the personal protective equipment (PPE) recommended by the CDC and OSHA. As you may know, PPE is in very short supply with vendors and the state prioritizing supplies for first responders and medical personnel.

Once we have approval from government agencies and Harvard leadership, we plan to begin onsite teaching by opening the preclinical learning center and the teaching practice for lab exercises with social distancing. This will allow first year advanced graduate students and predoctoral students to begin their preclinical course work. The number of days that we will provide emergency care to patients will also be increased to accommodate our patients in greatest need. This care will be provided by faculty and AGE students. As we learn more about the requirements for patient care from CDC, OHSA and the Department of Public Health, clinical care will be expanded, first to continuation of care patients and then to our general patient population.

We currently do not have a firm reopening date for patient care from the University or the State. We are in regular communication with University to continually assess the situation. The health and safety of our students, faculty and staff will always be our highest priority. Please continue to practice social distancing and avoid gatherings. Everyone needs to do their part to keep all of us healthy and safe. We will keep you informed as we learn more.


Vicki Rosen
Interim Dean

John D. Da Silva
Vice Dean


First Steps to Reopening–June 8, 2020

Dear Members of the HSDM Community,

We hope you are staying well. Working with our colleagues at the University, and with guidance from State and local health authorities, we have started to take first steps to reopen portions of the School, starting with our laboratories. A great deal of thought and consideration has gone into our planning as well as additional precautions to ensure safety and maintain social distancing. While the majority of us will continue to work from home, a small number will return in the following areas:

We announced with HMS that a limited number of researchers and lab personnel will be authorized to return to campus beginning as early as today, Monday, June 8. Laboratory facilities and personnel will be required to follow a detailed re-entry plan, beginning with Lab COVID-19 Awareness Training before returning to campus. Additionally, all individuals who are authorized to be on site must complete the COVID-19 screening certification on Harvard’s health-reporting website, Crimson Clear daily in order to enter campus buildings. Access for lab personnel to HSDM buildings will be only through the Research and Education Building (REB) at 190 Longwood Avenue. Those entering will be required to show their Harvard ID and Crimson Clear attestation to the security attendant. This applies to both entering and exiting. For more details see HSDM’s laboratory reopening detailsposted online.

Clinical Care
The Harvard Dental Center is currently seeing patients of record for emergency and urgent dental needs, while following a phased approach to reopening that entails heightened infection control protocols, new screening procedures, PPE, and social distancing protocols. Phase I, which is currently in progress, allows for expanded emergency care by faculty. Phase II will focus on returning AGE and DMD students to the patient care environment. Phase III will focus on safely increasing the operational capacity of the HDC. The rate at which capacity can be increased will be determined by the state of Massachusetts.

As announced earlier, incoming DMD students and rising second year DMD students will be taking all courses remotely through the end of the calendar year. Third-and-fourth-year students and AGE students in clinical training programs will begin to return to the School for preclinical and limited clinical education on Monday, July 6. Detailed plans for returning students include continued remote didactic learning, social distancing, and other protocols which will be communicated by the Office of Dental Education. International students will receive special guidance. 

While we begin to reopen some areas of our operations, all other personnel should plan to remain working remotely through the end of August, with possible extension to December or later depending on the course of COVID-19. 

We thank you for your continued patience and understanding. Please rest assured all decisions regarding a phased approach to reopening are made with thoughtful consideration of sustaining our research and educational programs, and providing much needed care to our patient population, while keeping the health and safety of our community at the forefront. 

Vicki Rosen | Interim Dean, HSDM

Charles Frizzell | Dean for Administration and Finance

HSDM Preparations for Fall–April 27, 2020

Dear Members of the HSDM Community,

This afternoon Provost Alan Garber announced that Harvard will be open for the fall 2020 semester. This is promising news but it is too soon to know exactly what open will look like at HSDM. Any plan we develop will place the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff first. We remain hopeful that if we continue to be flexible and creative, we can adapt to meet the challenges inherent in the hands-on instruction required to educate HSDM students. 

Guidance from the University, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and recommendations from infectious disease and public health experts will inform our ramp-up of school-based activities. We will share next-steps as they emerge and seek your input as we go forward.

Thank you again for your continued resiliency during this pandemic. Your caring and commitment to this School and our community is truly heartening.


Vicki Rosen
Interim Dean, HSDM

Charles Frizzell
Dean for Administration and Finance

Thank You to the HSDM Community–March 23

Dear Members of the HSDM Community, 

Today marks a week since we became a remote workplace to protect the health and safety of our community and those around us from the threat of coronavirus (COVID-19). We’ve rapidly ramped down our research labs, transitioned the Harvard Dental Center to emergency care only (by tele-dentistry starting today), and asked our faculty and students to quickly embrace online teaching and learning. These are monumental changes for all of us. I want to thank each of you for rising to meet the significant challenges we continue to face and let you know how much I truly appreciate our community’s response. We are a community that is both resourceful and resilient.

Our faculty members have shared thoughtful perspectives and advice through their lens as practitioners and public health experts. I encourage you to read Putting Public Health First: A Coronavirus Q&A with Dr. Brittany Seymour, andAt graduate Schools reinvention on the fly an article in today’s Harvard Gazette in which Drs. German Gallucci and Jennifer Gibbs are quoted. Our HR team has also assembled a helpful list of resources that support work-life balance during a time of social distancing.

During these uncertain times, every day brings new information, updated guidance, and fresh worries. We miss our daily interactions with friends and colleagues. As I think of those who are working from home, perhaps juggling the demands of young children, or concerned about elderly parents, it reminds me that we also need to be patient and give ourselves flexibility while adjusting to this new environment. It’s important to establish healthy work-life boundaries and take moments to pause and enjoy quiet reflection, a walk outside, or an activity with your family.

We are a small school with a big heart. Let’s continue to look out for each other.

Vicki Rosen
Interim Dean, HSDM

Update on Commencement and Class Day–March 20, 2020

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 COVID19 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 inperson 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.


George Q. Daley
Dean, Harvard Medical School

Vicki Rosen,
Interim Dean, Harvard School of Dental Medicine

Changes to Protect our HSDM Community–March 12

Dear Members of the HSDM Community:

Thank you for your patience during this week of disruption and unease surrounding the coronavirus threat. We are committed to keeping our community safe and are making changes rapidly to respond accordingly. Yesterday we notified students that several class years will not return to campus until further notice. Today, we are announcing the following changes in clinic protocols. Effective March 16 through March 20, all clinical operations in the HDC will be reduced to emergency care only.

In accordance with University and public health guidelines around social distancing to deter the possible spread of disease, we are now strongly encouraging nonessential staff to prepare to work from home as soon as possible. We know that some teams are more readily equipped to do so, while others will need more time to prepare. Specific guidelines for research staff will be forthcoming. We also understand that it is not always clear who is considered an essential or nonessential employee (our winter recess coverage is a good guide for this). Supervisors will determine needs and provide guidance to their teams to ensure business continuity.

To support this transition, please refer to the following resources:

  • Working Remotely: Find HSDM-specific information about working remotely on the IT intranet page including information about getting started, connecting with others, accessing files and applications, and additional resources. You may also access HMS resources. 
  • Zoom Video Conferencing: Zoom video conferencing is available now to all HSDM faculty, staff and students and is the preferred method for conferencing. It can be used on computers, and mobile devices. Importantly, 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.
  • IT Resources: For IT-related questions or concerns about working remotely or video conferencing, please contact the HSDM IT team at or call at 617-432-2000
  • 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 an employee is caring for a sick family member, they would claim dependent-care sick time for those hours. Likewise, if an employee is taking a vacation or using a personal day, they need to claim those hours accordingly.
  • HR Workplace Policies: Harvard Enhanced Workplace Policies provide expanded guidelines around paid sick time for employees, as well as family and dependent care.
  • HR Resources: For HR-related questions about remote work, please contact Judy Vance or Mary Anderson in HSDM’s HR office.
  • Support: The Employee Assistance Program at 877-EAP-HARV (877-327-4278) is available for help with feelings of stress or anxiety about these events.

We understand this is a challenging time and ask for your patience and understanding as we endeavor to provide the best guidance to our community. We will continue to keep you informed with ongoing communication.

Vicki Rosen
Interim Dean, HSDM


For earlier School-wide messages and additional guidance related to COVID-19, see the HSDM intranet Coronavirus page.

Also see University-wide updates and community messages on the Harvard University Coronavirus website.