We Solve for Fall Research and Resources

Please get familiar with the information below, which includes research by MIT's own Peko Hosoi, associate dean of Engineering and the Neil and Jane Pappalardo Professor of Mechanical Engineering.

May 13 Town Halls: Held for undergraduate and graduate students, and focusing on the complex issues factoring into MIT’s decisions about the fall.


IDSS COVID-19 Collaboration (Isolat) - https://idss.mit.edu/research/idss-covid-19-collaboration-isolat/

We Solve for Fall Problem Statement & Forms

As we look at the complex problem of how to potentially open campus in the fall, we want to take a creative path in defining what community could look like under a range of conditions, and develop an enriching, special campus experience that strengthens our sense of belonging and advances MIT’s educational and research missions, all while protecting our community’s health and wellbeing.

Please offer your comments and suggestions on the problem, questions, constraints, and opportunities below.

Problem: How do we safely ramp up campus life in the fall and continue to offer an enriching and special MIT campus experience and community-based learning and research?

1. Values. What values should drive decision-making about returning in the fall? How do we capture the values important to students and other members of our community? How do we make possible the best residential education and research experience under each option?

Senior leaders who are considering options for returning to campus in the fall have been guided by the values below. What resonates with you (please note the values are not listed in rank order)? What is missing?

  • Being mission-focused
  • Considering community health and welfare
  • Enlisting expert guidance 
  • Advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Being guided by compassion, empathy, and respect
  • Adhering to community expectations, policies, and standards
  • Considering financial sustainability
  • Prioritizing access to campus
  • Having a flexible and timely decision-making process, given uncertainty and a rapidly changing world

2. Housing. If fewer students need to be housed in living communities to better align with public health guidance, how should this be done in accordance with the possible academic and research scale-up options that have been suggested (e.g., some come back to campus, many come back to campus, the year is subdivided into terms, we start classes later in the term)? Is it possible to create a virtual version of the community in each living space? Can in-person community be created in smaller groups of students under a system of social distancing, regular testing, and tracking?

3. Protective Practices to Enhance Community Health and Safety. Using statistical probability modeling, researchers are beginning to understand which practices could be most effective in reducing the spread of COVID-19. These practices may include offering online learning while on campus; wearing masks in public; adhering to social distancing and hygiene rules; offering takeout meal plans for students living in dormitory-style housing with shared kitchens; limiting the use of facilities, kitchens, lounges, gatherings, and visitors; and increasing cleanliness.

What protective practices will students embrace? What practices will you have concerns about? How do we frame these measures in a way that highlights what you can do (versus what you cannot do)? What suggestions do students have that would make it easier to comply with potential new norms such as regular testing, contact tracing, self-isolation, and self-quarantine to keep everyone in our community (and those outside of it) safer? What incentives/disincentives can we develop? What are some reasonable accountability measures we can adhere to and enforce?
4. Messaging. How could students assist with messaging about managing risks and supporting more vulnerable members of our community (e.g., those with compromised immune systems, staff who live-in or support a residence)? How can you help support and reinforce the need for regular testing, contact tracing, daily self-reported symptoms, and the self-quarantining of symptomatic individuals? What framework and method for communicating about this would be most effective?

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