Covid-19: Guidance for the Harvard Graduate School of Design Community

The health, safety, and well-being of our community, on and off campus, is our top priority. As of Friday, March 13, 2020, the Harvard Graduate School of Design has shifted to online coursework. The GSD will continue with remote teaching through the entire Fall 2020 semester. All university-related international travel and non-essential domestic travel are prohibited. All in-person school-wide events and public programs are cancelled. We thank our students, faculty, staff, and our circle of alumni and friends for their spirit of cooperation, patience, ingenuity, and kinship in response to this unprecedented situation.

For more information, visit Covid-19 Information for Current and Incoming GSD Students, Covid-19 Information for GSD Faculty, and Covid-19 Information for GSD Staff.


Covid-19 Information for Current and Incoming GSD Students
Covid-19 Information for GSD Faculty
Covid-19 Information for GSD Staff
Harvard Coronavirus Website
Harvard Coronavirus Workplace Policies
Travel Cancellation and Reimbursement FAQs
Employee Assistance Program
Prepare to Learn Remotely
Prepare to Teach Remotely
Prepare to Work Remotely
Virtual Help Desk
Do I Need to Self-Isolate for COVID-19?

Latest Updates

The feed below shows time-stamped updates made to the resources linked above, as they happen.

Updates from the Frances Loeb Library

August 3, 2020 at 14:23

You may now borrow print materials and request items from Scan and Deliver from Loeb Library, Lamont, Widener, Tozzer, Yenching, the Harvard Depository and other libraries using our Front Door Pickup service. Instructions can be found on the COVID-19 Information for Students and the COVID-19 Information for Faculty resource pages.

Teaching Assistant: How to Apply

Jul 20, 2020 at 11:40

A link to the Teaching Assistant: How to Apply resource page, which includes Fall 2020 updates, was added to the Table of Contents of the COVID-19 Information for Students resource page.

HUSHP Changes for Academic Year 2020-2021

Jun 10, 2020 at 14:35

Find a list of changes being implemented to the Harvard University Student Health Program (HUSHP) plan for the 2020-2021 Academic Year on the HUSHP website. Some changes are related to the pandemic and others are standard changes. This link has also been added to the FAQ section of the COVID-19 Information for Students resource page.

Harvard Update on Operational and Financial Planning

Jun 9, 2020 at 12:14

On June 9, 2020, Executive Vice President Katie Lapp sent a message to the Harvard community to share a few updates regarding University operations and finances, as well as updated workforce programs and policies. Read the full message.

Updates from the Frances Loeb Library

Jun 9, 2020 at 12:11

Updates as of June 8, 2020, regarding online research support, library services, and physical collections can be found on the Frances Loeb Library webpage. Corresponding text and links are also on the COVID-19 Information for Faculty and COVID-19 Information for Students resource pages.

Fall 2020 Announcement

June 3, 2020 at 09:55: A message from Dean Sarah M. Whiting regarding the fall 2020 semester:

Dear GSD community,

After intensive scenario planning, I am writing to you today to share our decision that the GSD will continue with remote teaching through the entire fall semester.

Three factors influenced our thinking most. First, our concern for the health and safety of the entire GSD community remains our top priority, and based on current guidance from Harvard University Health Services, we have decided that the uncertainty of the coming months warrants our decision to continue with remote teaching. Second, our international students face very steep and unpredictable challenges obtaining necessary visas for entry into the United States, and international and even domestic travel will continue to pose logistical difficulties for everyone. And finally, we believe it is important to commit now to a full semester online, so that new students and returning students who will eventually need to move back to Cambridge and secure new housing accommodations can make their plans for the fall with certainty, and without any lingering possibility that circumstances may suddenly change in the middle of the semester.

On Friday [June 5, 2020], you will receive a longer email with specific details about what students can expect in the summer months and fall semester.


Leave of Absence Deadline Now June 15, 2020

May 22, 2020 at 10:33

As of May 22, 2020, the deadline to apply for a Leave of Absence for the fall has been extended to June 15, 2020. Find more information and FAQs around leaves of absence on the COVID-19 Information for Students resource page.

New FAQs

May 22, 2020 at 10:31

New FAQs on the re-opening Gund Hall, returning international students studying remotely, and leaves of absence have been added to the COVID-19 Information for Students resource page.

Harvard Guidance in response to Massachusetts Phased Re-Opening

May 19, 2020 at 12:39

On May 18, 2020, Provost Alan M. Garber (AB ’77, PhD ’82, MD) and Executive Vice President Katie Lapp sent a message to the Harvard community regarding Harvard guidance in response to Massachusetts phased re-opening. Read the full message.

2020 Summer Work and Grant Opportunities for Graduating and Returning Students

May 14, 2020 at 12:30

Information regarding 2020 summer work and grant opportunities for returning and graduating students can now be found on its own resource page, which includes frequently asked questions.

Update on International and Domestic Travel Guidance

May 11, 2020 at 16:20

On May 11, 2020, Provost Alan M. Garber (AB ’77, PhD ’82, MD), Executive Vice President Katie Lapp and Executive Director, Harvard University Health Services Giang T. Nguyen MD, MPH, MSCE, FAAFP sent a message to the Harvard community regarding updated international and domestic travel guidance. “University-related travel, both international and domestic, is prohibited until further notice and should not be planned or scheduled at this time,” states the message. “This applies to all community members—students, faculty, staff, postdoctoral fellows, and other academics. We encourage you to explore creative options for alternative study, research, work, and collaboration. We also strongly discourage personal travel, both international and domestic.” Read the full message.

Commonwealth of Massachusetts Order Requiring Use of Face Coverings

May 4, 2020 at 16:09

May 4, 2020, message from Katie Lapp, Executive Vice President, to the Harvard community:

On Friday, May 1, 2020, Governor Baker issued an Order requiring people in Massachusetts to wear face masks or cloth face coverings in public places where social distancing is not possible. The Order takes effect Wednesday, May 6, 2020. This applies to both indoor and outdoor spaces. Exceptions include children under the age of 2 and those unable to wear a mask or face covering due to a medical condition. Full details can be found here:

A violation of this order may result in a civil fine of up to $300 (per violation).

As a reminder, a face covering is not a substitute for physical distancing and regular hand washing, which remain among the most effective ways to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Summer Support for Returning Students and New Graduates

Apr 30, 2020 at 17:56

New and emerging opportunities for grants and jobs that the GSD will be providing this summer for returning students and new graduates are posted to the FAQ section of the COVID-19 Information for Students resource page.

City of Cambridge Issues Emergency Order Requiring Use of Face Coverings

Apr 28, 2020 at 14:37

April 28, 2020, message from Katie Lapp, Executive Vice President, to the Harvard community:

The City of Cambridge issued an emergency order requiring that face coverings be worn in all public places. The order takes effect at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, April 29, and applies to everyone over the age of five years old.

The order applies to everyone in public places, to anyone working in or visiting an essential business (including shoppers and consumers), and in common areas of residential buildings of two or more units.

Full details of the order can be found here:

The Cambridge Police Department will be focused on educating violators and may issue warnings to those residents who do not cooperate. For those who willingly refuse to comply, they may be subject to a $300 fine. There will be a one-week grace period to allow time to comply.

As a reminder, a face covering is not a substitute for physical distancing and regular hand washing, which remain among the most effective ways to slow the spread of COVID-19. Face coverings enhance the effectiveness of physical distancing. The single most effective way to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 is to stay home.

Planning for Fall 2020

Apr 28, 2020 at 14:35

On April 27, 2020, Provost Alan M. Garber (AB ’77, PhD ’82, MD) sent a message to the Harvard community stating that “Harvard will be open for fall 2020.” He continued, “Our goal is to bring our students, faculty, postdoctoral fellows and staff to campus as quickly as possible, but because most projections suggest that COVID-19 will remain a serious threat during the coming months, we cannot be certain that it will be safe to resume all usual activities on campus by then. Consequently, we will need to prepare for a scenario in which much or all learning will be conducted remotely. Even if conditions do not allow for a traditional fall experience on campus, we are committed to ensuring that the learning and research of our students will continue at the highest levels of excellence and that we will do our part to enable them to achieve their aspirations.” Read the full message.

Leave of Absence Requests

Apr 28, 2020 at 09:02

Information regarding Leave of Absence Requests has been added to the Covid-19 Information for Current and Incoming GSD Students resource page.

Scan & Deliver Services from Harvard Library Available Again

Apr 8, 2020 at 14:25

As of April 8, 2020, Scan & Deliver Services from Harvard Library are available again. Requests may be placed through HOLLIS. If the item you are interested in is eligible, the Scan & Deliver link will appear in the item record.

You may also submit a Scan & Deliver request manually via your Scan & Deliver account.

Find current updates for library services on our website.

Update on Travel Prohibitions, Summer Programs, and Visas

Apr 7, 2020 at 09:52

On April 6, 2020, Harvard issued an update on travel prohibitions, summer programs, and visas stating:

Current prohibitions on University-related international travel and non-essential domestic air travel are extended through at least May 31.

Harvard-organized and Harvard-funded international travel for all students that is scheduled to start and end between now and August 31 is prohibited.

The worldwide suspension of routine visa processing at U.S. consular locations is being closely monitored and Harvard is working to advise international students and scholars accordingly.

Read the full update.

Additional information as of April 6, 2020, regarding summer international travel guidance for students from Harvard’s Vice Provost for International Affairs can be found on the Harvard COVID-19 website.

Academic Accommodations

Mar 25, 2020 at 14:32

An FAQ regarding academic accommodations, including classroom accommodations, exam accommodations, and registering for accommodations, has been added to the COVID-19 Information for Students page.

Massachusetts Governor Issues Stay at Home Advisory For Two Weeks

Mar 23, 2020 at 11:29

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has issued a stay-at-home advisory and is ordering non-essential businesses in the state to close beginning Tuesday, March 24 at noon through April 7 at noon. Grocery stores and pharmacies will remain open and you are permitted to go outdoors, as long as you practice strict social distancing measures.

Staff: if you are not sure if you are an essential employee, please contact your manager.

Publishers and Vendors Offering Free Content

Mar 23, 2020 at 09:47

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of publishers and vendors are making an assortment of content—ebooks, streaming services, image resources, and more—freely available. A Harvard Library colleague has put together a site compiling the offerings. This is an evolving list.

Do I need to self-isolate for COVID-19?

Mar 17, 2020 at 14:48

HUHS has put together a one-pager of potential scenarios based on the best scientific advice currently available.

Library Updates Regarding Checked Out and Getting Materials

Mar 17, 2020 at 14:40

If you have materials checked out:

Returns: Hold on to everything you have. This includes books, Borrow Direct and Interlibrary Loan materials, DVDs, periodicals, etc. There’s no way to return anything right now.
Fines: All recall fines that accrue while the Library is closed will be waived. Reach out to us if you see fines on your account.
Due dates: All due dates can be extended. Nothing should be due in the immediate future. Reach out to us if you need help extending a due date.
Graduating seniors: We are working on solutions specifically for you, but hold on to loans for now.

If you need materials:

Electronic materials: You may submit Scan & Deliver requests for book chapters and journal articles, and we will try to fill as many requests electronically as possible.

  • Scan & Deliver requests may be placed through HOLLIS. If the item you’re interested in is eligible, the Scan & Deliver link will appear in the item record.
  • You may also submit a Scan & Deliver request manually via your Scan & Deliver account.

Physical materials
: The borrowing of print materials has been suspended until further notice. Physical items are no longer requestable in HOLLIS.

Students: Vital Spring Break Travel Information Notice

Mar 16, 2020 at 10:28

Students: As we respond to the current, ever-shifting situation, it is very important that we are able to maintain contact with you. Please take a moment to update your contact information in my.harvard. Refer to your email for detailed instructions from Sean Conlon on how to use the site.

If you are traveling domestically or internationally, be sure to register with Global Support Services. If you are traveling specifically for the spring break period and returning to Cambridge, select “Spring Break 2020,” as the purpose for your travel. Additional information on travel registration and support.

If you are living in Harvard Housing or residential halls, you will need to complete the HUHS health form 48 hours before returning. Despite the fact that this form notes it is intended for those who travel to Level 3 areas, you will still need to fill this form out regardless of where you travel. Additional information is available at: Spring Break Travel Registration Instructions for Students and Residential Staff.

Closing Access to the GSD Campus

Mar 16, 2020 at 09:36

As of March 16, the GSD will close access entirely to our academic facilities, including the Fabrication Lab and Loeb Library, until further notice.

Students: As of 6:00 pm on Sunday, March 15, students are expected to have moved out of GSD buildings what belongings they need to continue coursework remotely. All courses will continue online, and while students will not be able to enter any GSD buildings until further notice, the school’s administrative leadership has worked extremely hard to maintain remote accessibility of resources fundamental to the academic experience. Among the resources you will have ongoing access to are the digital collections offered by the Loeb Library. Another is a Virtual Help Desk, which starting Monday, March 16, will be open 8:00 am to 10:00 pm Mondays through Fridays to consult on and help resolve any IT-related issues.

Faculty, Researchers, and Loeb Fellows: In the strongest terms, faculty are now required to work remotely, away from GSD campus buildings. Because this is a change to earlier communications, however, faculty who do need to enter our buildings to access and remove materials may do so until Wednesday, March 18, at 5:00 pm. Between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm Monday through Wednesday, faculty IDs will gain access to all spaces they already have had privileges to enter. To access Gund Hall, please use the Quincy Street entrance. Please do not let anyone else in any building using your ID card. If you encounter any difficulties, or if you are traveling through the deadline on Wednesday and will need to retrieve belongings from your office after you return, or if you need access to other GSD buildings, please contact Trevor O’Brien or Kevin Cahill. The Wednesday 5:00 pm deadline applies to researchers and Loeb Fellows as well.

Some faculty have asked whether their courses may be taught online from their offices. For at least the next two and a half weeks, please teach your courses from home. Over this time (the first week of which involves no teaching, since it is spring break), we will be monitoring this situation as it unfolds, and faculty will be notified if the school’s or the university’s position changes.

Because access to Gund Hall will not be allowed, faculty will continue to have access only to the Loeb Library’s digital collections online. As of Monday, March 16, the Virtual Help Desk also will be available 8:00 am to 10:00 pm Mondays through Fridays to consult on IT-related issues.

GSD Staff: As of March 16, all Harvard staff who are able are being asked to work remotely. Managers will be in contact regarding specific responsibilities and means of accessing information, and please remember to check the page for staff on the GSD’s COVID-19 webpages for the most current updates.

Faculty Affairs and Library to Offer Weekly Zoom Online Pedagogy Discussion Session for Faculty

Mar 13, 2020 at 18:52

Faculty Affairs and the Library are planning to offer a weekly Zoom online pedagogy discussion session, optional and open to all faculty, to facilitate shared learning and provide a space for instructors to talk. The first discussion will be scheduled for next week, in spite of the break, in case faculty want to discuss planning for their first online class meetings, which will take place beginning Monday, March 23. Details to follow via email.

Signing up for Direct Deposit

Mar 13, 2020 at 18:39

Information on how students can sign up for direct deposit was added to the GSD Student Payroll section of the COVID-19 Information for Students page.

Tools for Learning, Teaching, and Working Remotely

Mar 13, 2020 at 16:00

Links to Harvard tools for learning, teaching, and working remotely were added to the Resources section of this website.

GSD Student Payroll

Mar 13, 2020 at 12:55

Information regarding payroll for GSD students holding a current job at the GSD who will continue to work remotely has been added to the Covid-19 Information for Students page. It includes links to download timesheets and instructions on how to submit timesheets. It also includes further instructions for students planning to start a new job that includes remote work. Should students have any questions regarding the process, please contact payroll coordinators directly.

Moving Assistance

Mar 13, 2020 at 11:06

Moving supplies and carts will be available in Piper Auditorium for GSD students Friday March 13 through Sunday March 15 at 6:00 pm. Moving Vans and Passenger Vans will be on-site 9:00 am – 6:00 pm Friday March 13 through Sunday March 15. Visit the Covid-19 Information for Students page for additional information about moving assistance and logistics. Please direct any questions around moving to [email protected].

Student Employment for the Spring Semester, Housing, and Emergency Assistance

Mar 13, 2020 at 10:02

Additional information regarding Student Employment for the Spring Semester, Housing, and Emergency Assistance has been added to the Covid-19 Information for Students page following the email from Laura Snowdon, Dean of Students & Asst. Dean for Enrollment Services, to students at 5:50 pm EDT on Thursday, March 12, 2020.

Financial Assistance for GSD Students

Mar 12, 2020 at 18:15

The GSD is organizing an emergency fund to assist students who depend on financial aid and others who find themselves with unforeseen and insurmountable financial hurdles. Details will follow by email. Meanwhile, students who have specific and immediate financial issues should email Keith Gnoza, Director of Financial Assistance at [email protected].

Zoom Online Training

Mar 12, 2020 at 18:11

Sign up for an online training for Teaching Remotely with Zoom with HUIT.

Additional resources from CRG for anyone who would like to learn more about Zoom:

  • Harvard University IT knowledgebase articles: Visit Harvard’s IT Service Portal and search for “zoom.”
  • Zoom’s corporate web site also offers a robust online Help Center, including how-to videos, live webinars, and FAQ’s.
  • Learn best practices, available tools, and how to get support for teaching your classes online.
  • Information about CRG’s Virtual Help Desk.

Virtual Help Desk

Mar 12, 2020 at 15:52

Starting Monday, March 16, the HelpDesk will host an open meeting in Zoom 9:00 am to 5:00 pm daily to discuss any IT-related questions or issues.

Students Starting a University Job after March 13, 2020

Mar 12, 2020 at 15:24

If you are a student that is planning to start your first university job after March 13, 2020, you must see your payroll coordinator by close of business on Friday, March 13, 2020. This also applies to those who have not worked in over a year. See your email for a list of documents that must be presented. General payroll questions can be directed to Pilar Raynor JordanIf you have, or had, a job during the Spring semester, this does not apply to you.

Fabrication Lab Update

Mar 12, 2020 at 15:17

The Fabrication Lab will be closing at 6:00 pm on Sunday, March 15, and will remain closed until further notice. Everything must be removed from the Project Room by this time. Anything left after that time will be discarded. The store will be open normal hours through Saturday, March 14, for returns through Crimson Cash only. It will accept items that are in good condition, not damaged or warped. Student Services is discussing procedures that will allow some limited access to Gund Hall for Fabrication Lab, 3D Printing, Helpdesk, and Digital Printing/Plotting, consistent with the School’s stated goal of limiting occupancy in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, for students whose work truly cannot be accomplished otherwise. This situation is evolving. Students should check their email and this website for updates.

Frances Loeb Library Loaned Material: No Fines

Mar 12, 2020 at 11:30

The Frances Loeb Library is taking steps to ensure that no loaned material will be due before the end of the term. This will involve pushing due dates forward, resetting renewal periods, and turning off recalls. If you have questions or problems with returning books, please respond to the Access Services email address on all Alma notices, and we will fix the issue for you.

Zoom Drop-in Clinics

Mar 12, 2020 at 11:28

Computer Resources Group and Library Staff will be offering a drop-in clinics for anyone who would like to receive hands-on assistance in learning how to use Zoom. Staff will be located in Frances Loeb Library/Collaboration Space 2 during the week of March 9–13 for drop-in sessions between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm. Helpdesk will provide an open online Zoom meeting for Helpdesk access.

Free Live-Streaming of Yoga Classes

Mar 12, 2020 at 11:25

YogaGSD and Student Services are coordinating live-streaming of yoga classes with Elizabeth Brown. More information will be forthcoming. Meanwhile, the yoga app Down Dog is free until April 1.