COVID-19.png

Undergraduate
Student
Policies

Updated December 21, 2020


MIT is closely monitoring the ongoing COVID-19 situation and taking action to protect the health and wellbeing of MIT students, faculty, and staff, as well as our neighboring communities.  Below are updated policies for undergraduate students that have been guided by MIT Medical and the Institute’s Emergency Management Team, and reviewed by undergraduate Heads of House, DormCon, and other campus partners.

MIT will continue to make policy adjustments and implement additional measures as necessary. Any updates to housing policies will be posted to this webpage.

We're in this together.


MIT encourages students to be attentive to building good communications with others who live near them, who are in the same lab, or with whom they share classes. If students are concerned about the behaviors of other students relative to COVID-19 and health risks, they can report this information through the COVID-19 Public Health Concern Report Form. Concerns about the behaviors of non-student members relative to COVID-19 and health risks may be reported to the MIT Hotline.

 

Students, and all other authorized occupants of MIT housing (i.e. student’s spouse, partner or children), must comply with all MIT policies and instructions adopted in response to COVID-19 concerning access to buildings and campus locations. These may include limiting access to certain buildings via designated entrances and exits, scanning of the MIT ID at designated access points, and signing in and out when reporting to or leaving campus buildings. Where a building has a designated entrance or exit, students must not enter or exit (or allow anyone else to enter or exit) the building through any other entrance or exit. In order to access MIT campus buildings, you must complete your daily health attestation and scheduled COVID-19 testing as described below.    

PLEASE NOTE:  All on-campus residents are required to complete a daily health attestation through Covid Pass, even if they may not leave their residence hall on a given day.  Failure to complete daily health attestation is considered noncompliance with COVID-19 student policies and may result in disciplinary action.

In the unlikely event of a fire or other need for a building evacuation, regular evacuation procedures that you have learned during fire drill procedures, including some of those listed below, remain in place. However, due to the need to maintain physical distancing, it may not be possible to gather together in the designated assembly area for your building.  It is most important that you move away from the building and remain at least 6 feet away from each other in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.  Please observe the following building evacuation procedure:

  1. Select the nearest exit
  2. Please wear your face covering (everyone)
  3. Do not take the elevator
  4. Activate the manual fire alarm if not already sounding
  5. Travel along the right-hand side of corridors and stairwells
  6. If you were unable to grab a mask, turn away from others passing to limit exposure.
  7. If possible, direct yourself to the designated assembly locations* for your building (indoor or outdoor), and away from fire lanes. If the space is too crowded, please move away and maintain at least 6 feet (2 meters) from other residents.
  8. As others begin to gather, please observe 6 feet (2 meters) physical distancing.
  9. Do not stand in front of the building entrance.  Firefighters require easy access to the building.
  10. If there is inclement weather, take shelter in nearby buildings wherever possible and maintain proper distance.
  11. Once the Cambridge Fire Department or MIT housing staff give the ‘all clear,’ you may return to your room, while continuing to keep 6 feet (2 meters) away from other residents.

*Assembly locations are reported on the Emergency Evacuation Plan posted on each floor next to elevators and stairs.

In an effort to maintain physical distancing, avoid taking the elevator to return to your room. If you have any questions about evacuation procedures, please do not hesitate to contact Division of Student Life (DSL) Environment, Health & Safety (EHS) Program Manager, Alice Ursella, via e-mail at aursella@mit.edu or via phone at (617) 253-4257 or the EHS Office at (617) 452-3477.

It is required that all students adhere to these policies as well as any other MIT COVID-19 policies.  Doing so is important not only for your own wellbeing, but for the safety and wellbeing of those around you—other students, faculty, staff, and our Cambridge-area neighbors, especially those who are elderly, immune-compromised, or otherwise vulnerable to COVID-19. Failure to comply with these policies may result in a referral to the Committee on Discipline.  MIT reserves the right to take interim measures—including immediate removal from MIT housing—to protect MIT and surrounding community members.

  • The Committee on Discipline (COD) has authorized the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards (OSCCS) to use an expedited process to resolve suspected COVID-19 policy violations.  Please visit the OSCCS website for additional information and view this helpful document which summarizes the expedited process. 

In addition to these COVID-19 policies, the Mind and Hand Book is MIT’s guide for student conduct and behavior. The handbook contains standards, guidelines, regulations, and procedures pertaining to academic integrity and non-academic behavior, and policies for all undergraduate and graduate students. Specific information about other housing policies is available on the Housing & Residential Services website.  In the event of any inconsistency between the Mind and Hand Book and these COVID-19 policies, the COVID-19 policies govern.

The health, safety, and general welfare of MIT students are of the utmost concern to the Institute. MIT recognizes that there may be circumstances in which the potential for disciplinary action for violations of Covid-19 Student Life policies could act as a barrier to students who want to seek critical assistance for themselves or others and/or report an incident involving a serious violation of Institute policy.

In instances where students may have violated Covid-19 student policies (Graduate | Undergraduate) related to another incident they wish to report or seek assistance for, the following apply:

  • If a student seeks medical attention for themselves or other(s) for an alcohol or prohibited substance-related medical emergency, MIT will apply the Good Samaritan Amnesty Policy and will also treat the violation of Covid-19 policies primarily as a health and safety matter, not as a disciplinary incident.
  • If a student reports or files a complaint or otherwise participates in the investigation or resolution (other than as a respondent) of serious violations of Institute policy (for example instances of sexual misconduct, hazing, possession of weapons or dangerous objects, etc.), MIT will not pursue disciplinary action against the student for violation of any Covid-19 Student Life policies.

Students or student organizations who call for help or report violations under this policy may still be required to comply with wellness follow-up, including, but not limited to: educational requirements, guidance by medical or public health officials, and quarantine and self-isolation.

This statement of amnesty applies to violations of Covid-19 Student Life policies but does not preclude MIT from taking disciplinary action to address other serious or flagrant violations of MIT policy including, but not limited to, violence, sexual assault, harassment, serious property damage, hazing, or the manufacture, sale, or distribution of prohibited substances. It also cannot preclude or prevent action by police or other legal authorities. In cases where there have been other violations of Institute policy, calling for assistance for an individual in need of help may be considered a mitigating factor in any disciplinary process arising out of such violations.

Using COVID Pass, students must complete a health screening questionnaire each day to determine whether they have symptoms that may be associated with COVID-19 as established by the CDC.  In addition, students will be asked to attest that within the past fourteen (14) days, they have not tested positive for COVID-19, and are not aware of coming into close contact with anyone who they know has COVID-19 symptoms or who has had a positive test for COVID-19.

Students are required to complete a SARS-CoV-2 test to be administered by MIT Medical when coming to campus or moving into a residence hall. Students who do not complete this test at the time of move-in will be denied access to campus buildings, including their residence hall, unless provisional access is granted by Housing & Residential Services (i.e. a student arriving after MIT Medical is closed for the day).  Students will need to quarantine until their second negative test, taken seven days later, comes back negative (graduate students are encouraged to review guidance about vacation time and quarantine). Students will also be required to comply with MIT’s COVID-19 testing expectations while living in on-campus housing or accessing campus facilities during the fall semester, as well as undergo additional viral testing as directed by MIT.  All campus residents (students/spouses/partners) are required to test twice-per-week on either a consistent Monday/Thursday or Tuesday/Friday schedule.  [Italicized text added 10-28-20]

If possible, use stairs rather than sharing an elevator.

If you have not done so already, please verify the emergency contact information you provided to the Institute. Review and, if necessary, edit your emergency contact information within WebSIS.

Anyone with a Kerberos ID and cell phone registered with Duo is automatically added to the MIT Alert system, which is used to send advisories and critical notifications associated with COVID-19.  Students are encouraged to also update their preferred email and phone number in the MIT Alert system to ensure notifications are also sent to that email and phone number. Community members who do not have a Kerberos ID or cell phone number in the Duo system should follow this link to register for MIT Alert notifications.

All events and parties within residence halls and FSILGs are prohibited until further notice. Additionally, MIT students are not permitted to organize or to attend events or parties off campus until further notice. Our biggest concern is students holding events and parties like the ones we read about in the news that have shut down other colleges and universities and undermined the wellbeing of thousands of community members. Boston mayor Marty Walsh said it succinctly: “Do not have parties.” 

The goal of these policies is to limit the spread of Covid-19. MIT has taken a conservative approach to the on-campus fall ramp-up by limiting access to campus, requiring daily attestations and regular testing for those who have access, and restricting interactions and the size of gatherings. While inconvenient, these policies are informed by science and public health guidance. For more information about risk factors that impact the spread of the virus, see these brief articles from MIT’s Institute for Data, Systems, and Society (IDSS).

These policies will be revisited on an ongoing basis and will be adjusted as needed to reflect current public health guidance and conditions.

Guidance:

Students should apply good judgment and common sense when considering their social interactions. Factors that influence how Covid spreads include the number of contacts one has with others; the duration of time spent in the presence of others; the behavior of others (e.g., wearing face-coverings, physical distancing, personal hygiene), the size of a gathering; the location (e.g., indoors vs. outdoors); the ventilation and capacity of a space; and space cleaning. Whether one lives on- or off-campus, there are ways students may connect socially in a safe manner (see examples below). However, events and parties are prohibited by this policy. 

According to updated policies from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, in-person gatherings will not be allowed beyond 9:30 pm beginning Friday, November 6, 2020 (this does not impact undergraduate residential pods). Failure to comply with provisions set forth by the recent Executive Order may result in a fine from the Commonwealth of up to $500 and potential disciplinary action by the Institute. [Italicized text added November 6, 2020] 
 

Examples of acceptable social connections that are not events or parties:

A small circle of close friends, who socialize only with each other and who limit their interactions outside of the group, is generally safer than interacting with a broader group of people. The idea behind forming a small group of no more than six people is that people can relax adhering to physical distancing or wearing a face-covering when in the presence of those in the group. All members of the group agree to abide by an honor system whereby they will take several precautions, including limiting their interactions with others. See MIT’s IDSS analysis of pods for more information. 

  • Residential undergraduate students may form a pod in their residence hall (see Covid-19 Residential Pod Program). As a reminder, undergraduate pods participating in MIT’s testing protocol are strongly encouraged to maintain the integrity of their pod, and as such, socializing with friends outside of their pod is discouraged.
  • Residential graduate students are encouraged to review the graduate residence hall guest policy for additional information about guests and visitors. 
  • Off campus students may maintain a small group of friends. See MIT’s IDSS analysis of pods for more information.  Off-campus students are permitted to socialize in groups of 10 outdoors and six (6) individuals indoors; ideally, these indoor groups should remain intact and not involve different people.
  • Non-local off-campus students should follow the appropriate guidance and laws of their town, state, or country of residence for safe social connections. (Italicized text added 10-9-20) 

Students who live on- or off-campus may take a walk or engage in fitness activities outside in pairs or with small groups of friends. Other examples of ways students can interact safely is by having a picnic or enjoying a coffee in an outdoor space with a few friends. 

Students may attend religious or family gatherings that are in compliance with state and local guidelines.  Students may also attend off-campus gyms or participate in recreational fitness activities that are in compliance with state and local guidelines. (Italicized text added 10-9-20)

Students are able to meet in groups of 10 outdoors on campus [see the section “Outdoor Common Space” below].

Students inside the residence halls can use pre-approved space as determined by Housing & Residential Services and the House Team [see the section “Indoor  Common Space” below].  

 

Summary Chart:

Student status

Outdoor @MIT

Inside Residence Halls

Off campus

Residential undergraduates

  • Outdoor MIT space <10 per circle                                       
  • Outdoor designated West Campus space <10 per circle        
  • Outdoor residential space <10 per circle
  • No more than 25 total in any outdoor space.                         
  • Designated spaces w/pods (<6 or max space capacity)
  • Open common spaces up to posted capacity limit: Check with house teams.   

Not permitted to host or attend events or parties off campus

Residential graduate students

  • Outdoor MIT space <10 per circle                                       
  • Outdoor designated West Campus space <10 per circle       
  • Outdoor residential space <10 per circle
  • No more than 25 total in any outdoor space.                       
  • 1 visitor who lives in your residence can be in your apartment/room               
  • Open, reservable designated spaces: Check with house teams.                     

Not permitted to host or attend events or parties off campus

Off-Campus graduate students with Covid Pass-approved access to campus

Outdoor MIT space <10 per circle

No more than 25 total in any outdoor space.

No access to residence halls

Not permitted to host or attend events or parties off campus

See guidance above for safe social connections

Off-Campus local students without Covid Pass-approved access to campus

No access to campus

No access to campus

Not permitted to host or attend events or parties off campus

See guidance above for safe social connections

MIT requires the use of face coverings while on campus, including in common areas and public spaces, and anytime you are around other people.  Disposable masks must only be worn for one day and then disposed of in the trash.

It is important to note that face coverings are used to protect others because you may be infected and asymptomatic.  Reports indicate that a significant number of individuals who are infected remain asymptomatic and COVID-19 is mainly transmitted from one person to another through respiratory droplets.  Use of face coverings, in combination with physical distancing and good hygiene, is a public health measure intended to reduce this community-based transmission pathway.  On the basis of published test data, bandanas are not acceptable face coverings because of unacceptably low protection.  

Face coverings will be provided to students upon residence hall check-in.

Limited exceptions to this requirement include:

  • If it is after Quarantine Week "Q-Week" and you are a member of a pod in a designated space for studying or gathering (undergraduate houses only)
  • When communicating with a hearing-impaired person, who needs your mouth to be visible
  • Anyone with a disability or medical condition for whom wearing a face covering is not recommended by their healthcare professional*
  • When consuming food or drink
  • When you are alone in a private office or personal space with a closed door.

Please review the PPE policy statement for guidelines and best practices.

Residents should also abide by and be aware of guidance from the City of Cambridge (or guidance from the cities/towns where they live), and Massachusetts laws* regarding face coverings when in those areas. For certain city/town orders, those who violate may be subject to fines by the city.  Within the City of Cambridge, the following guidance regarding the City's face covering policy has been provided by the Director of Environmental Health at Cambridge Public Health Department regarding eating and/or drinking in outdoor residential spaces:

"Eating and drinking requires flexibility and it is expected that staff and students will pull down their masks during meals. The provision related to multi-use housing and workplace both allow for eating and drinking as exempt activities."  

Consistent with guidelines from public health agencies and state and local guidelines, MIT recognizes there may be limited circumstances in which exceptions to wearing a face covering may be necessary and appropriate. If a student believes they are unable to wear a face mask or covering due to a disability or health condition, they may request an accommodation through the Disability and Access Services Office and an individualized assessment will be made. Decisions will be made in conjunction with the student’s health care provider and MIT Medical, taking into account both the student’s needs and the risk to the community.  Requests that are deemed by MIT to create a risk to the campus community will not be approved.

MIT will work diligently to review these requests in a timely manner, but students may need to delay access to certain areas while requests are reviewed.  If the request for an exemption to the wearing of a face covering is approved, access to certain areas/activities on campus may remain restricted.


*NOTE: As of November 6, 2020 face coverings are now required in all public spaces across Massachusetts, even if you are able to maintain six feet of physical distance from others, which is similar to the policy already in effect within the City of Cambridge.  While our current COVID-19 policies already require face coverings in all residential common spaces and public areas of campus, please make sure you’re wearing a face covering in all other public areas (on and off campus), regardless of physical distancing.  Failure to comply may result in a fine from Massachusetts of up to $300 and potential disciplinary action by the Institute.

Undergraduate Residence Halls: Daytime and overnight visitors from other residence halls or outside the MIT campus are not permitted in the residence hall at any time.

FSILGs: FSILGs will be closed for the fall 2020 semester. No daytime or overnight visitors are permitted in FSILGs at any time.

Health Monitoring

MIT may seek to perform health monitoring of students, including, for example, taking the temperature of students, if MIT determines that such measures are prudent to maintain a safe campus environment.

Privacy and Disclosure of Health Information

MIT will take appropriate measures to ensure the confidential and private nature of the diagnostic testing and health monitoring information it obtains from students. MIT (including MIT Medical) may, however, share the testing results and health monitoring information with certain MIT community members who have a legitimate need to know this information, including those with whom a student may have been in close contact.

All community members are required to have their ID visible at all times when accessing campus spaces. Students and residents living on campus are not required to wear their ID when inside their residence hall.

Residents may enter their residence hall by tapping their valid MIT ID. It is a resident’s responsibility to ensure that visitors do not follow them inside.

Per the Proper Use of MIT ID Policy, ID sharing is prohibited.

Effective September 8 Until Further Notice:

Pods can use pre-approved space as determined by Housing & Residential Services and the House Team.

In working with Housing & Residential Services and their House Team, residents are permitted to reserve spaces in their hall that have been designated for use. Each house is required to review the occupancy limits, ventilation, and other factors for their indoor spaces before determining which house spaces may be open for student use, and in what capacity and at what occupancy level. Occupancy of designated spaces may not exceed the size of gatherings permitted indoors by the Institute. For more information on how students may use indoor spaces within the house, students should consult their house team. 

Surge Conditions: If the Institute determines that communities need to make adjustments to existing polices and/or shelter in place due to surge conditions on the campus or in the area, the following actions may be taken:

  • Closing all common areas (kitchens, gyms, open lounges, dining halls)
  • Suspending the pod program in undergraduate residences

Kitchens in Undergraduate Houses: 

At this time, floor kitchens in undergraduate residence halls are closed. Houses may allow access to identified kitchens only for the use of sinks, refrigerators, trash barrels for food waste, and microwaves. Capacity limits and cleaning protocols must be observed.  Stoves and ovens will not be available for routine cooking.

Gyms: Each house’s gym has different considerations. Currently, DAPER is planning to open indoor fitness spaces on September 8 to community members living on campus and graduate students enrolled in MIT’s safety and testing protocols, and houses should anticipate following the same timeline if the requirements for opening the gym space can be met. Until this time, house gyms are closed.

Makerspaces: House-based maker spaces are closed unless academic making needs cannot be met by centralized options such as the Hobby Shop. https://studentlife.mit.edu/hobbyshop Consult with Alice Ursella regarding academic needs and how it may be possible to open your house makerspace for this limited purpose. For those houses that do not have maker spaces, but do have residents with academic remote making needs, a temporary space can be created to accommodate “green” level tools as described in the Remote Making wiki. https://wikis.mit.edu/confluence/display/make/Remote+Making Again, consult with Alice Ursella regarding options and next steps.

Open Common Spaces: Individuals may occupy open indoor common spaces temporarily (e.g. while waiting for an elevator), but open common spaces may not be used for gatherings. Residents are required to wear face coverings and practice physical distancing.

Please follow all posted regulations in the laundry room and practice physical distancing while doing laundry in the laundry room, leaving six feet between you and others.

Launder items as appropriate in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. To help keep clothes free of germs, launder items using the warmest appropriate water setting and dry your clothes completely. For more information about environmental cleaning and disinfecting, visit the CDC’s website by clicking here.

Students who exhibit symptoms of COVID-19, or who come into close contact with someone they know has tested positive for COVID-19, must stay in their room, suite, or apartment and immediately notify MIT Medical [covid19reports@mit.edu], and await further instructions.

Students who test positive for COVID-19 need to isolate in their suite, apartment or an identified space that they will be moved to until they are cleared by MIT Medical and cannot leave the suite, apartment, or other isolation space unless they are advised to by MIT Medical.  MIT ID card access will be turned off for at least 10 days for positive individuals, or until MIT Medical provides clearance. Students must cooperate with MIT Medical for all activities necessary to rapidly identify those with whom they may have had close contact, and follow any directions by MIT Medical, the Division of Student Life, or public health authorities to quarantine or isolate in their suite or apartment or a temporary alternative on-campus living space arranged by the Institute. If a positive student is asked to go to MIT Medical for because they are ill, they need to email their head of house and copy covid-support@mit.edu so that they can regain entry to their residence hall after upon their return.

Students who are determined to be a “close contact” of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 need to quarantine in their room, suite, or apartment until they are cleared by MIT Medical. Their MIT ID card access will be turned off for at least 14 days or until MIT Medical provides clearance. If a student in quarantine is asked to go to MIT Medical for an appointment, they need to email their head of house and copy covid-support@mit.edu so that they can regain entry to their residence hall after their appointment.  

Special Note for Graduate Students: Graduate students are encouraged to review guidance about vacation time and quarantine.

In general, it is recommended that outdoor spaces be places where students can connect safely. Residential students may access their residence hall courtyards, roof decks, and other outdoor spaces when house-specific plans are in place that meet Institute guidance. Guidance for developing house-specific protocols for use of residential outdoor spaces will be shared with heads of house. 

Undergraduate houses may open outdoor spaces on or after September 8, 2020, when quarantine week has ended. Graduate houses may open when ready. 

Posted occupancy limits must be observed for the entire space, and residents may only socialize in groups of 10 or fewer within the space. Face coverings may be removed when outdoors, however all residents are required to follow physical distancing requirements.

There are also designated outdoor spaces on West Campus for gatherings of 10 or fewer resident students and house team members. House Teams and residents may reserve the West Campus spaces through the CAC. At this time, non-residential students with access to campus are not permitted to use designated outdoor spaces for resident student use.

Physical distancing and face covering guidelines must be met and posted occupancy limits must be observed. 

MIT Medical advises all community members to practice enhanced personal hygiene habits and to practice physical distancing. You should make every effort to avoid contact with others. An article that shares more information about physical distancing may be found here.

MIT has suspended all Institute-sponsored travel, and is strongly discouraging personal international and domestic travel for all community members. Students should adhere to MIT’s guidance on travel as indicated in the MIT COVID-19 Return to Campus FAQ.

Graduate students may request a waiver for essential domestic travel from the High-Risk Travel Committee.

Students living on campus are encouraged to stay in the immediate Boston and Cambridge area. If a student leaves New England, MIT Medical has determined that they will require two COVID-19 tests within a seven-day period upon return. Students should go to MIT Medical immediately for a test at one of the times when testing is available. They should then self-quarantine for seven days. After seven days, students are expected to go back to MIT Medical for a second test. Students will be able to access campus buildings while awaiting their second test result.

Students should stay current with Massachusetts state guidance for travel. At present, if a student takes a day trip to a local New England area and takes appropriate precautions (e.g. wears a face covering, physical distancing), self-quarantine for seven days is not necessary. Please note that travel guidance and restrictions are subject to change as COVID-19 cases increase or decrease in various parts of the country. Students should always refer to the MIT COVID-19 Return to Campus website for the most up to date guidance.