Correspondence sent to undergraduate students who applied for an exception to the COVID-19 undergraduate move-out requirement.


Correspondence Sent to Students Granted an Exception on March 16, 2020


Dear Student,

Thank you for confirming your plans to stay in on-campus emergency housing. We know this isn’t the situation you thought you would be in - none of us did - but we are grateful for your collaboration, patience, and good will as we collectively do our part to keep one another and the broader community safe during this public health emergency.

In the coming days, we are going to help you settle into emergency on-campus housing. Housing & Residential Services (HRS), MIT Medical, and MIT Emergency Management will be responsible for implementing a plan to ensure residents in on-campus emergency housing move to single-room, spread-out settings. Depending on our final numbers, this means that all students who have been approved to stay will be placed into two (or perhaps one) dining residence halls. By maintaining fewer residences, we will be able to better focus our limited staffing resources on meeting your housing, dining, and support needs. And we will be able to respond more effectively in the event there is a medical emergency on campus.

To students who currently live in FSILG housing: we want to work with you and your alumni corporation to determine how best to relocate you to the on-campus residence hall emergency housing you have been granted. Please remember our efforts are focused on promoting a healthy and safe living environment where we can best provide you food, student support, and medical services if needed.  

HRS will send your building and room assignment along with moving assistance resources on Wednesday, March 18 and we will begin helping people move on Friday, March 20.

Your wellness is our top priority during this period. In addition to bringing our academic and personal support services online so students have access to these resources from a distance, we are also focused on ensuring students who stay have access to the food they need to be healthy. We will be offering all undergraduate students in emergency on-campus housing a free bridge dining plan for the period you remain in on-campus housing during this pandemic. The plan goes into effect today, Monday, March 16, and will enable you to eat brunch and dinner seven days-a-week in either the Maseeh or Baker dining halls. With the rapidly changing guidance from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, we will inform you if this plan needs to be adjusted. Rest assured, however, that we will ensure you have access to meals. Additionally, TechMart, MIT’s low-cost grocery store, will also move from Walker Memorial on the east side of campus to Maseeh Hall’s Flowers Dining Room for the remainder of the spring term.

You should also be aware of important changes to normal campus operations: please read more about Student Center (W20) and DAPER services and program disruptions here.

Thank you again for your cooperation and partnership during these unsettled times. We are certain we can get through this together. If you have any questions, please email undergradcovidmoveout@mit.edu.

Sincerely,

David Friedrich
Senior Associate Dean
Housing & Residential Services

Judy Robinson
Senior Associate Dean
Residential Education

[Note: Students who signed the agreement to stay were sent a personalized link to complete a short questionnaire to help HRS assign them to a single room, indicating it was very important to get this information as soon as possible. Students who had not completed the form would still be assigned a building and room assignment at HRS discretion.]

 

Correspondence Sent to Undergraduate Students Regarding the Exception Process on March 15, 2020


To the members of the MIT community,

We know that this is a challenging, disruptive time for the MIT community, and we want to reiterate that we are all in this together. We also know that there is interest in the exception process we established for undergraduate students seeking to remain in on-campus housing during the global COVID-19 pandemic. We prepared these FAQs so that you have the latest information about our approach to, and the outcome of, the review process.

We hope you will read the FAQs but here are the points that we think are the most salient:

  • Our actions have been and will continue to be informed by our dedication to protecting the health of the individuals we have a responsibility to care for. That means not only the students who reside in our residences but also the residential life, student support, housing, and facilities staff entrusted with providing them the services upon which they depend.
     
  • The COVID-19 Exception Review Team was made up of professionals from across the Division of Student Life, the Office of the Vice Chancellor, and MIT Information & Systems Technology. They have extensive experience in supporting students and crisis management. Every day at MIT, many of them respond to student issues related to accommodations, mental health needs, financial hardship, visas, and urgent concerns.
     
  • When conducting reviews, the team relied on the interconnected principles of showing compassion for students and meeting our responsibility to limit the spread of the virus by limiting the number of people living in confined, shared spaces.
     
  • The team has completed their review of roughly 700 submissions from undergraduates for either financial assistance to leave, requests to remain in on-campus housing, or other questions:
    • About 260 of the individuals who contacted us ultimately left campus, and many of them requested and received financial assistance with moving. The financial support we offered these students is in addition to the substantial moving and travel reimbursements we are offering all undergraduate students who relocate off campus.
       
    • Just over 400 undergraduates received approval to stay in on-campus emergency housing (about 40 of these students are staying for two weeks or fewer). We are observing students changing their minds so the total number of students in emergency on-campus housing will be significantly lower than the initial number approved.
       
    • About 30 undergraduates did not receive approval because they did not meet the criteria we established at the outset of this process.
       
    • We set up an appeal process for these students, and only a small number of appeal requests were submitted. The vast majority of appeals included new information meeting the criteria so these requests have been approved.  

We hope the information shared above and in the FAQs helps to better inform campus conversations about our work to support students and to protect everyone’s health and safety. The Exception Review Team worked around-the-clock to be there for our students and for our entire community, and we are profoundly grateful for their dedication, care, and good judgment.

Sincerely,

Cindy, Suzy, and Ian