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Graduate
Student
Policies

Updated July 23, 2021


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 graduate students that have been guided by MIT Medical and the Institute’s Emergency Management Team, and reviewed by graduate Heads of House, GSC members, 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.

COVID-19 Student Policies
 

All individuals in Covid Pass and who are in compliance with Covid monitoring health policies can access non-residential campus buildings through access points they used prior to Covid, rather than through fixed, assigned access points.

Residents in campus housing and the FSILGs can access the residences as they did prior to Covid and must be in compliance with Covid health monitoring policies. Residents in campus housing who are out of compliance may be restricted from access to the residence hall. 

It is required that all students be knowledgeable about and adhere to MIT’s current 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. 

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 Institute-approved 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 alleged COVID-19 policy violations.  Please visit the OSCCS website for additional information.

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.
  • If a student self-reports their own behavior that violates Covid-19 policies to MIT Medical, the information is protected by HIPPA and will not be shared with the Committee on Discipline for disciplinary action. This includes contact tracing.

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.

All students are required to upload proof of their Covid vaccination in the MIT Atlas App or at covidvaccine.mit.edu and report their vaccination status in Covid Pass by July 30, 2021. Students needing a medical or religious exemption should contact MIT Medical.

A Covid-19 vaccination is required for community members seeking to participate in MIT-sponsored international or domestic travel, unless the traveler has an approved medical or religious exemption.

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 ten (10) 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.

Requirements when arriving or returning to campus.

Students are required to complete a SARS-CoV-2 test to be administered by MIT Medical if coming to campus or moving into a residence hall or one of the FSILG pilot houses. Students are required to test within 24 hours of arriving on campus or during the next available testing period if testing is unavailable at the time of arrival to campus. 

Students need to remain in quarantine* until they receive a confirmed negative test result and follow all Covid Pass requirements, including testing again 5 to 7 days after their first test. 

*Fully vaccinated residents are not required to quarantine. 

Requirements to maintain access to campus

Students are required to comply with MIT’s COVID-19 testing expectations while living in Institute-approved housing or accessing campus facilities, as well as undergo additional viral testing as directed by MIT.  

All residents of Institute-approved housing (students/spouses/partners) are required to test once-per-week  and follow COVID Pass instructions about their testing cadence. Should conditions change, students must follow MIT Medical’s updated recommendations on testing cadence. 

Graduate house executive boards can host events with the approval of the head of house and Graduate Residential Life staff.

  • A house can co-sponsor events with other houses.
  • Residence halls can also sign up to use the CAC space on campus and follow guidelines provided.

Event registration and guest lists

Event registration (required for events/gatherings with more than 15 people)

  • Informal gatherings, which do not require registration, are those with up to 15 people. Any gathering with more than 15 people must be registered according to the following guidance:

    • The resident student leader who is planning the event needs to meet with Graduate Residential Life staff in advance of the event. The purpose of the meeting is to make sure the policies and protocols are clear and that the student hosts understand their role in ensuring that the policies are followed.
    • The event must be registered with and approved in advance by the Head of House and Graduate Residential Life.
    • A list of all attendees, emails, and cell phone numbers must be provided to Graduate Residential Life for contact tracing purposes as needed. Guests will be asked to voluntarily share their vaccination status. Students and guests must follow all MIT Covid policies.
    • Heads of house may attend events as schedules allow, but this is not a requirement for every event.

Guest lists

  • If residents from other campus residence halls or off-campus students who are in Covid Pass are invited, guest lists need to be provided to desk staff and included with the event registration process. Guest lists must ​include guest names, emails, and cell phone numbers. Guests will be asked to voluntarily share their vaccination status.
  • If guests will be in attendance who are not in Covid Pass, the testing requirements noted in the Graduate Resident Guest policies need to be followed.

Face coverings at events held in Institute-approved housing

Regardless of vaccination status, residents and guests are encouraged to wear face coverings at registered residence hall events. Individuals who are not vaccinated are expected to wear face coverings at residence hall events.

Event Food Service Information 

Students hosting informal gatherings (see above) do not need to individually wrap food items, but should follow all other food service protocols. These protocols include washing their hands, wearing a face covering, and sanitizing work surfaces while preparing food.

If food is being provided at registered events and gatherings in a graduate residence hall or other campus facility, the following protocols need to be followed:     

Kitchen stewards

  • Each graduate residence hall should identify 1-3 kitchen stewards who will be responsible for ensuring that food service at house events follows specified guidelines (see below).
    • House execs should submit the kitchen steward names to Graduate Residential Life and to Dining Services.
    • All kitchen stewards need to complete an online module on safe food handling (by July 15, 2021). Graduate Residential Life will provide information about the module to the kitchen stewards.
    • When requests are submitted through the registration process for events that include food service, Graduate Residential Life will confirm that a house kitchen steward is managing the food service for the event.

Food service protocols

The following food service protocols must be followed:

  • Food must be provided in single servings and all food items must be individually wrapped.
  • Buffet or common food service (e.g. pizza) cannot be included in food service for house events.
  • Food preparers need to wash their hands between each step in food preparation.
  • Work surfaces must be sanitized.
  • Separate cutting boards must be used for raw meats, vegetables and produce, and cooked foods.
  • Foods should be cooked to safe temperatures.
  • Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.

Food policies may change over time depending on State and local guidance. This policy will be updated as needed.

Wearing face coverings is optional for fully-vaccinated individuals. Members of the community who prefer to wear face coverings in certain settings are encouraged and welcome to do so. It is recommended that residents of Institute-approved housing wear face coverings when in common spaces and corridors. Unvaccinated residents and unvaccinated individuals who visit MIT residence halls are expected to wear a face covering when around others and within all residential common areas and public spaces. [Note: Non-residential staff members are required to continue wearing face coverings when in the residence halls].

Students hosting informal gatherings (see events and gatherings section above) do not need to individually wrap food items, but should follow all other food service protocols. These protocols include washing their hands, wearing a face covering, and sanitizing work surfaces while preparing food.

If food is being provided at registered events and gatherings in a graduate residence hall or other campus facility, the following protocols need to be followed:     

Kitchen stewards

  • Each graduate residence hall should identify 1-3 kitchen stewards who will be responsible for ensuring that food service at house events follows specified guidelines (see below).
    • House execs should submit the kitchen steward names to Graduate Residential Life and to Dining Services.
    • All kitchen stewards need to complete an online module on safe food handling (by July 15, 2021). Graduate Residential Life will provide information about the module to the kitchen stewards.
    • When requests are submitted through the registration process for events that include food service, Graduate Residential Life will confirm that a house kitchen steward is managing the food service for the event.

Food service protocols

The following food service protocols must be followed:

  • Food must be provided in single servings and all food items must be individually wrapped.
  • Buffet or common food service (e.g. pizza) cannot be included in food service for house events.
  • Food preparers need to wash their hands between each step in food preparation.
  • Work surfaces must be sanitized.
  • Separate cutting boards must be used for raw meats, vegetables and produce, and cooked foods.
  • Foods should be cooked to safe temperatures.
  • Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.

Food policies may change over time depending on State and local guidance. This policy will be updated as needed.

This policy also applies to individuals, couples, and families living in graduate residence halls, including students, postdocs, and visiting students/researchers.

The graduate residential community guest policy is being revised in accordance with guidance from Cambridge, the State of Massachusetts, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The policy is designed to reduce risks associated with the spread of Covid-19, while allowing graduate students to connect socially with a small circle of MIT community members, close friends, family members or significant others. It is the responsibility of all residents to follow this policy and to demonstrate consideration for the wellbeing of roommates, other residents, and members of the MIT community.

The graduate resident guest policy is based on an honor system and at all times, residents are expected to use good judgment and to make reasonable decisions about the number of guests who will be in their room or apartment. Residents are expected to talk to their roommate(s) about when they will each have guests, for how long guests will visit, and which space(s) in the apartment/suite will be used.

This guest policy will be reviewed and adjusted as needed to reflect current public health guidance and conditions.

GUEST VISITATION POLICY DETAILS

Residents of graduate residence halls may have guests visit in accordance with the policy detailed below. Residents do not need to maintain a guest list. All guests need to sign in and leave a phone number at the desk for contact tracing purposes.

  • Residents, including singles, couples, and families, may have up to six (6) guests visit at the same time. Overnight guests must continue to follow the residence hall overnight guest policy and the graduate family extended guest policy (see below).
  • Guests may include community members in Covid pass, and significant others, friends, and family members who are not in Covid pass. 
  • Residents may have in-house visitors (other residents in the same building). In-house visitors may visit at the same time as non-resident guests, up to six people at a time.
  • Resident hosts must be up-to-date with all Covid Pass requirements to be eligible to host guests.
  • All residents and their guests must follow all MIT Covid policies (e.g. wear a face covering where required).  
  • Graduate residents and their guests may access the 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 students can visit residents of graduate housing.
  • Resident hosts and guests are encouraged to visit outdoors whenever possible and as weather permits.

COVID Testing and Health Monitoring for Guests

  • All guests who are over the age of 16 are expected to be vaccinated.
  • Unvaccinated individuals are expected to wear a face covering when around others and within all residential common areas and public spaces. 
  • Guests who are in COVID Pass must be in compliance with MIT health monitoring policies for testing and attestations.
  • Daytime guests who are not in COVID Pass must take a COVID-19 test with a negative result within a week before entering the residence hall.
    • If the guest is not vaccinated and gets a negative test result, they need to stay away from others in the residence hall (other than their host) for the duration of their stay.
  • Overnight guests who are not in COVID Pass must take a COVID-19 test with a negative result within a week before entering the residence hall and follow the residence hall overnight guest policy (see below).
    • If the guest is vaccinated and gets a negative test result, they do not need to quarantine.
    • If the guest is not vaccinated and gets a negative test result, they need to quarantine for seven (7) days.
  • If the guest is unable to get a test for COVID-19, before arrival, or does not have access to COVID-19 testing, upon arrival, the guest must test as soon as possible, and quarantine and stay away from others in the residence hall (other than their host) until they have a negative test result. If the guest receives a positive test result while visiting, they should depart the residence hall and contact their healthcare provider.

Overnight Guests

Overnight guests are permitted (see below for graduate family extended guest policy). In accordance with standard MIT residential policies, residents may not have overnight guests for more than three nights in a seven-day period. Furthermore, overnight guests can visit for no more than 20 days total in a semester.  In a multi-occupant unit, roommates are expected to coordinate overnight guests.

Some residence halls may have an overnight guest policy that may be more restrictive. It is the resident's obligation to check with the House Team (Heads of House, House Operations Manager) to determine if house-specific protocols exist, and to abide by all applicable policies. Residents must obtain, in advance, the permission of all students of the room/suite in which the overnight guest is visiting or staying. Consideration should be given to the reasonable expectations of a roommate(s) at all times.

Resident hosts are responsible for their guests and guests must be registered at the desk, leaving their name, cell phone number, and email address. Requests for exceptions to this policy should be sent to the graduate residence hall head of house.

Guest Check-In

Upon arrival, guests must immediately visit the house desk* to:

  • Sign-in, including name, phone, arrival time, and anticipated departure time;
  • Be met by the resident host at the desk or enter the residence hall with their host and be escorted to their destination;
  • Be escorted to the desk and main exit by the resident host to sign-out before departure; and
  • Sign-out upon departure.

*Westgate residents should sign in and sign out their guests at the house desk in Tang Hall.

Resident hosts are expected to present their Covid Pass status (i.e. on a smartphone) to front desk staff to verify compliance with Covid Pass requirements during the guest check-in process. 

As needed, guest logs will be used for contact tracing. Information about the guest policy, logistics, and expectations will be available through the desk staff and the house team.

Graduate Family Extended Guest Protocol (Westgate and Site 4)

An extended guest exception may be requested if a graduate student family is in need of emergency support from a family member. (e.g. following the birth of a child).  An extended guest must be a family member who is not a dependent of the resident and who wishes to stay in the residence for longer than three consecutive days in a seven-day period (current overnight guest policy).

Extended guests may stay in residence up to 14 days with approval from the Associate Dean for Graduate Residential Life. A graduate family may request to have up to two (2) extended guests visit at the same time and may make one (1) extended-guest request during a calendar year.

The following expectations apply:

  • Extended guests must be registered and approved by the Associate Dean for Graduate Residential Life. Graduate families must contact Associate Dean Naomi Carton via e-mail naomic@mit.edu to request an extended guest.
  • All guests who are over the age of 16 are expected to be vaccinated.
  • Extended guests must have taken a COVID-19 test with a negative result within a week before arrival.
    • If the guest is vaccinated and gets a negative test result, they do not need to quarantine.
    • If the guest is not vaccinated and gets a negative gest result, they need to quarantine for 7 days.
  • If the guest is unable to get a test for COVID-19, before arrival, or does not have access to COVID-19 testing, upon arrival, the guest must quarantine and stay away from others in the residence hall (other than their host) for the duration of their stay or until they get a negative test result. If the guest receives a positive test result while visiting, they should depart the residence hall and contact their healthcare provider.
  • Guests staying overnight for one week or more need to get a COVID-19 test at least once a week during the visit. Tests are taken at the guest’s expense and cannot be provided at MIT Medical.
  • Extended guests must acknowledge MIT policies and residence hall expectations and agree to abide by them.
  • Residents are responsible for their guest and any damage caused by the guest will be billed to the resident.
  • Guests must sleep in the host’s apartment. Guests are prohibited from sleeping in common spaces or other public spaces.
  • Extended-stay guests will not be provided keys or temporary IDs to access the residence hall and are expected to stay with their host.
  • Violations of the extended guest policy may result in a range of actions, including removal of an extended guest from campus housing.

Health Monitoring

MIT may seek to perform additional 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 Covid-era maximum capacity limits for residential common areas--including fitness areas, kitchen and lounges--are fully lifted.  Please note, however, that capacity limits due to building and fire code regulations will remain in effect. This means that common areas may be utilized by residents who are not from the same household. 

It is recommended that residents of Institute-approved housing wear face coverings when in common spaces

Students who exhibit symptoms of COVID-19, must stay in their room, suite, or apartment and immediately notify MIT Medical by completing your attestation in COVID Pass and await further instructions. Students who come into close contact with someone they know has tested positive must follow the advice of MIT Medical. If you are a close contact, the COVID Support Team will also contact you and stay in touch if you need to quarantine

In general, it is recommended that outdoor spaces be places where students can connect safely. Residents of Institute-approved housing may access their courtyards, roof decks, and other outdoor spaces as indicated by house-specific protocols. 

MIT Medical advises all community members to practice personal hygiene habits such as frequent hand washing and sanitizing.

Students should refer to the travel policy on MIT Now for policies and protocols related to travel. All MIT-related travel must be registered and students are encouraged to register personal travel. 

Student & Resident Agreement


Overview

The mission of MIT is to advance knowledge and educate students in science, technology, and other areas of scholarship that will best serve the nation and the world in the 21st century. Through a residential experience, the Institute is also committed to the development of a welcoming, safe, and inclusive living and learning community, while providing a safe environment for students during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

To make an informed decision about attending MIT for the 2021-2022 academic year, it is important that all students who plan to reside in an MIT residence hall or an FSILG, or who plan to participate in academic, social and research activities, read, acknowledge, and agree to abide by the COVID-19 policies, as well as general student policies as outlined in the Mind and Hand Book. It is also important to note that these policies may change as MIT receives updated guidance from city, state, and federal agencies, and it is everyone’s responsibility to stay informed of changes to COVID-19 policies.

This agreement applies to students, their partners and spouses, and postdocs and their partners and spouses who live in Institute-approved housing. Students’ and postdocs’ partners and spouses are also required to review and acknowledge the agreement in COVID Pass.  

Undergraduate students and graduate students who are coming to campus for the Fall 2021 semester must read and acknowledge the agreement before coming to campus. You will not be able to check into your residence hall or FSILG if this agreement has not been acknowledged.

REPORTING CONCERNS

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.

MIT FALL OPENING

MIT’s return to campus operations during the 2021-2022 academic year is a shared responsibility.  It is incumbent upon each member of the MIT community to adhere to all MIT policies, and to follow public health guidance to minimize the spread of COVID-19. This includes receiving the COVID-19 vaccination (unless exempted for medical or religious reasons), complying with regular COVID-19 testing protocols and daily attestations, and adhering to other measures (e.g., wearing a face covering) that may be reinstated as a necessary public health measure.

STUDENT INFORMATION

  • I will confirm or update the following information in WebSIS. I understand that if I do not do so, a registration hold will be placed on my account. 
    • Emergency contact, phone, e-mail
    • Home Address
    • Term Address
    • Parent/guardian (undergraduates)/family member (graduate students)
    • Cell phone
  • For newly-matriculating students: I will submit my completed Medical Report Form to MIT Medical, or a registration hold will be placed on my account.
  • Unless I have been approved for an exemption, I have had a COVID-19 and a flu vaccination. All students living in the United States are required to have the flu vaccine by December 1, 2021.
  • If I am living in a residence hall, I will sign my Housing License Agreement prior to my occupancy date.
  • If I am living in an FSILG, I will sign any additional house requirements as needed.

REQUIRED TESTING, EDUCATION, AND CONTACT TRACING

  • I agree to comply with COVID-19 testing requirements and other health monitoring practices in COVID Pass.
  • If I am a new student and live in a residence hall or an FSILG, I will complete the online education module about COVID-19 and review Institute expectations for access to campus, as indicated in COVID Pass.
  • I am aware of the risks and responsibilities related to COVID-19, including information for those in higher-risk categories.

ISOLATION, QUARANTINE, AND PREVENTIVE HEALTH MEASURES

  • I will prioritize both my safety and the safety of others. I agree to follow protocols to limit exposure for others established by MIT and the Cities of Cambridge, Boston, and Brookline, or by the city or town where I live.
  • If I exhibit symptoms of COVID-19, test positive for COVID-19, or come into close contact with someone who I know has symptoms of COVID-19 or has tested positive for COVID-19, I will notify MIT Medical via email at covid19reports@mit.edu or through COVID Pass attestation and await further instructions.  I will also comply with public health and Institute guidelines and instructions. This includes sharing truthful information with contact tracers as requested and following all isolation or quarantine protocols.  Please see COVID-19 Student Amnesty Policy (graduate | undergraduate).   

HYGIENE

  • If I live in a residence hall or FSILG, I will clean my residential space, including (if applicable) the bathroom, and I will follow MIT’s or my FSILG’s posted protocols for cleaning.
  • I will practice good hygiene, including thorough and frequent hand washing and the use of hand sanitizer, especially when returning from outside, after using a restroom, and before meals.

TRAVEL

  • I will comply with MIT policies regarding travel for Institute business and personal travel. 
  • If I must travel during the academic year, I will follow MIT’s COVID policies and protocols upon return. 
  • I will register any domestic and international travel with the COVID Travel.

GUESTS, SECURITY, AND ACCESS (For Students Living in Residence Halls or FSILGs)

  • ​I will comply with MIT and residence hall and FSILG policies regarding social gatherings [graduate | undergraduate] and guests.

AGREEMENT

  • I acknowledge that COVID-19 policies and protocols may change depending on public health and Institute guidance and that I am responsible for reviewing all communications about such changes.
  • If at any point I find I am unable to comply with MIT’s COVID-19 policies, protocols, and guidelines, I may be subject to removal from campus and Institute-approved housing if I live in a residence hall or an FSILG.
  • I understand that failure to comply with the expectations above may result in a referral to the Committee on Discipline. I also understand that interim measures—including immediate removal from MIT’s Institute-approved housing or a restriction from campus—may also be taken to protect MIT and surrounding community members.