Week 31: Planning for the HMS Students’ Return to Campus in the Spring

As you may know, HMS is working on planning for the first year ​MD students to return to campus in the spring. The 2nd, 3rd, and 4th-year students are currently on-site and working in hospitals. In addition, HMS is planning for MD program classes (any year) that need to happen in person on the HMS campus for the spring semester.  In order to plan for all of the supporting functions that students on campus will need, a working group is being formed to plan for the spring semester student experience.  I am a member of this working group and our first meeting is this Thursday. 

Below are some of the topics that we plan to cover over the next 8 to 10 weeks:

Classroom Space for classes:

  • In-person classes
  • Student / Faculty Group sessions
  • ​OSCEs/Clinical practice sessions in the Clinical Skills Center
  • ​Clinical Skills Center technology upgrades scheduled around OSCEs and other sessions

Programing for Study Space and Student Support Spaces: 

  • Dedicated Study / Quiet Space for individuals
  • Quiet space for student testing needs /examination needs ​(e.g., Shelf Exams, course exams)
  • Semi-private space for Zoom meetings 
  • Space that can be reserved
  • Drop-in/touch down space
  • Testing for students returning from the holiday/winter break over the January 2-3 weekend
  • BLS and Mask-fitting sessions in the first week of January
  • Plan for re-opening the Anatomical Gift Program
  • Ad hoc space needs for students who have short-term issues such as noise in their apartments 
  • ​IT support for major events that will likely be virtual (e.g., Match Day, Revisit for admitted  students; ?? Commencement)

 Countway Library:

  • Seating (individual and group rooms)
  • Lahey, Minot, Ware, and other 5th floor rooms (will they be open?)
  • Café
  • Coop
  • Hours and Policies (who gets access, food, and drink, etc.)
  • CHOM

Dining Needs: 

  • Options for Dining
  • Space to eat


  • Virtual Classes
  • Vanderbilt Fitness Center

At this time, we are proposing a January opening of the Countway Library for student study. We expect construction to end inside the building by late November/early December. The Countway Library Space Planning team (me, Luciana, Meredith, Yasmina, and MJ) are working on a variety of scenarios for a Phase 3 opening. I have asked Emily and Scott P. to develop a proposal for limited access to CHOM for researchers. Both proposals will need to go through a variety of approval processes before we can open.

These approvals include the following groups:

  • Student Experience Working Group (described above)
  • Business Continuity Task Force—this is the group that manages all administrative operations for administrative, research, and business operations reopening. This group approved our Phase 1 and Phase 2 reopening plans.
  • SORT (Space Operations Resources Group)—this group works with units that have reopened surrounding their space re-occupancy needs such as schedule for cleaning, signage, etc. We partnered with them in our Phase 1 and Phase 2 opening.
  • SALT—Senior Administrative Leadership Team—this is the group of Executive Dean Lisa Muto’s direct reports. I sit on this team.

The Library’s student study space and CHOM reopening plans go through the above approval processes prior to implementation. The need for student spaces on campus will be carried out with utmost consideration for Library staff. As the details of our Phase 3 plans become available, we will share them with you.