Graduate Emergency Housing Policies & Information - Updated July 1, 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. We understand that this is a very difficult and stressful time, but working together collaboratively to implement several CDC-recommended strategies is the most immediate, practical means of slowing and reducing the community spread of COVID-19. Below are updated policies for graduate emergency housing that are directly related to public health and safety directives issued by MIT, as well as public health requirements issued by the City of Cambridge and other governmental entities.

These policies have been guided by MIT Medical and the Institute’s Emergency Management Team and reviewed by the graduate heads of house, the Graduate Student Council, and the chair of the Committee on Student Life.

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

UPDATED RESIDENTIAL PLAYGROUND POLICIES

With the re-opening of the residential community playgrounds, updated playground policies have been developed that are based upon public health guidance to prevent potential exposure to COVID-19 and to reduce risks to residents.  These updated policies, which are presented in this brief video, are in addition to the preexisting playground policies already in effect.

  1. Only members of the immediate residential community are allowed to use the playground area.
  2. All playground visitors must wear face coverings while using the outdoor playground space if unable to practice physical distancing of at least 6 feet separation between families.
  3. Families at the playground must observe physical distancing practices of at least 6-feet of separation.
  4. The playground capacity is limited to 6-8 families at a time.
  5. No toys are allowed within the playground area (existing toys have already been removed).
  6. Please do not leave any of your personal belongings in the playground or common areas.
  7. Please observe enhanced personal hygiene practices such as washing hands and using hand sanitizer which is available at entryways and exits.
  8. Children and adults who feel sick or are recovering from an illness may not visit the playground.

FACE COVERINGS REQUIRED IN COMMON AREAS & PUBLIC SPACES (see update below)

In residential buildings, face coverings are required prior to entering any common area, including those listed below.  Violations may result in a referral to the Committee on Discipline and/or interim disciplinary measures such as immediate removal from MIT housing.  

  • Lobbies
  • Hallways
  • Elevators
  • Stairwells
  • Dining areas (in use)
  • Laundry rooms
  • Garages 
  • Mailrooms and other indoor common areas

UPDATE: During the summer months (through September 22) face coverings may be temporarily removed while outdoors when physical distance of at least six feet from others can be maintained at all times. This change aligns with an amended Emergency Order from the City of Cambridge. During the summer months masks or cloth face coverings may be temporarily removed when outdoors when a physical distance of at least six feet from others can be maintained at all times. 


UPDATED BUILDING EVACUATION PROCEDURE

MIT’s Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) Office would like to remind you that in the unlikely event of a fire or building evacuation, please follow the evacuation procedures that you have learned during regular fire drill procedures.  However, due to the current COVID-19 public health emergency, and according to guidance for physical distancing by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 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.  Please observe the following updates to the building evacuation procedure: 

  • Maintain a safe distance from others while evacuating the building, CDC suggests maintaining at least 6 feet distance from others.
  • Do not take the elevator.
  • Direct yourselves to the designated assembly locations for your building (indoor or outdoor).  If the space is too crowded, please move away and maintain at least 6 feet from other residents.
  • Do not stand in front of the building entrance.  Firefighters require easy access to the building.
  • Do not stay in the building. If there is inclement weather, take shelter in nearby buildings wherever possible and maintain proper distance.
  • Once the Cambridge Fire Department (CFD) gives the ‘all clear’ to return to your room, ensure to keep 6 feet away from other residents.
  • In an effort to maintain physical distancing, avoid taking the elevator to return to your room.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Division of Student Life (DSL) 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.
 

RESIDENTS OF GRADUATE EMERGENCY HOUSING PLEASE READ AND FOLLOW THESE UPDATED POLICIES:

  • Physical Distancing. You must adhere strictly to physical distancing guidelines and enhanced personal hygiene practices. You should make every effort to stay in your apartment/room and to avoid contact with others. Failure to comply with these expectations may result in a referral to the Committee on Discipline for disciplinary action. Interim disciplinary measures may also be taken, including immediate removal from MIT housing. 

  • Visitors.  Per the policy already in place, no overnight visitors or guests from outside your residence hall are permitted in the residence.

    • The policy is now expanded: no daytime visitors or guests from outside your residence hall are permitted in the residence at any time.

    • The only exceptions are for reasons below. Residents should contact Associate Dean Naomi Carton via e-mail naomic@mit.edu to request an exception.
      • Friends or family members who are helping graduate students move to an off-campus location;
      • A childcare or healthcare provider who comes to graduate students’ Eastgate or Westgate apartments during working hours to provide essential support for graduate students’ health or wellbeing, or who allows graduate students to continue their research or teaching duties.
  • Travel. MIT suspended all Institute-sponsored travel, and it is strongly discouraging non-essential international and domestic travel for all community members. Upon return to the residence, a self-quarantine period of two weeks is required in one’s room.

  • Rent Obligation. Residents of graduate housing have the opportunity to leave campus and suspend rent responsibility until March 31, 2020. This is offered as an incentive for residents to vacate immediately while we are working to de-densify the buildings and to consolidate services. This is a one-time opportunity; if you return to live on campus and decide to terminate your housing at a later date, your termination will be processed under Housing & Residential Services' standard termination policies.

  • Social Events. Gatherings within graduate residence halls have been suspended until further notice.

  • All common areas are closed. Spaces such as multi-purpose rooms, seminar rooms, and small and large enclosed common spaces in our communities will be closed.

  • Elevators and stairwells. If possible, use stairs rather than sharing an elevator.

  • Floor Kitchens. Access to floor kitchens is restricted to only one person at a time. Kitchen utensils must be cleaned thoroughly after use, and all surfaces must be wiped down. Building managers will ensure that proper cleaning supplies are available.

  • Laundry rooms. Please practice physical distancing while doing laundry in the laundry room, leaving six feet between you and others.

  • Tailgating. Residents may enter the building only by tapping their valid MIT ID. It is your responsibility to ensure that visitors do not follow you inside. 

PROVIDE EMERGENCY CONTACT INFORMATION

  • Each graduate resident must verify the emergency contact information they provided to the Institute. Review and edit your emergency contact information under Biographic and Emergency Records in WebSIS.

  • Update your contact information in the MIT Alert system to ensure advisories and critical notifications associated with COVID-19 are sent to your preferred email and phone number. Anyone with a Kerberos ID and cell phone registered with Duo is automatically added to the MIT Alert system. 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.

REMOVING FINANCIAL BARRIERS

  • The Graduate Student Short-Term Emergency Fund assists graduate students by providing financial support when they need help with unexpected and unavoidable emergency expenses. Please fill out the Graduate Student Hardship Form if you are experiencing financial hardship related to COVID‑19 and we will do our best to support you during this difficult time.
  • Pick-up and storage for students departing housing. MIT has arranged pick-up and storage services for students moving off-campus. Boxes will be available, and we ask that you pack your belongings, label them with your name and forwarding address, and leave them locked in your room. The financial assistance mentioned above can help offset storage costs. More information on storage options and restrictions may be found here

WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE EXPERIENCING SYMPTOMS

If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms, call MIT Medical’s COVID-19 hotline at 617-253-4865 to speak with a clinician. They will evaluate your condition and provide further instructions.

SHARED RESPONSIBILITY 

Each resident should take steps to protect their health, which also helps safeguard their neighbors’ wellbeing. Take a moment to review MIT Medical’s COVID-19 webpage for helpful information, including self-quarantining and the three best ways to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.

STUDENT SUPPORT SERVICES AND STAFF SUPPORT 

Essential staff, including campus security, will remain within each residence hall.  Other support services—such as those provided by the Office of Graduate Education and Student Mental Health and Counseling Services—may be accessed remotely.  Support resources include:

CHANGES TO OTHER SERVICES

  • TechMart. MIT’s at-cost grocery is open in Maseeh Hall’s Flowers Dining Room from 9:00 am to 3 :00 pm, Monday through Friday. Credit cards, debit cards, TechCASH and cash accepted.

  • The Office of Religious, Spiritual, and Ethical Life is co-sponsoring “ORSEL Take a Breath Together!” each day at 2:50 pm. Community members can join the event by logging into https://at250.mit.edu.

  • DAPER indoor facilities are closed. Outdoor facilities remain open. Students and DAPER members will have FREE access to Wellbeats an on-demand virtual fitness platform, through April 30. Click here for sign-up information. Wellbeats offers 30 channels and hundreds of virtual fitness classes with something for every age, stage, and ability. The user-friendly filters make it easy to find exactly what you are looking for. Wellbeats meets participants where they are with tutorials, basics, and a variety of other classes up to 50 minutes in length. 

WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU DO NOT COMPLY

Because we believe these additional rules and conditions are a critical component to managing the risk of students remaining on campus, a failure to comply with these expectations may result in a referral to the Committee on Discipline for disciplinary action. Interim disciplinary measures may also be taken, including immediate removal from MIT housing. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and may need to make additional adjustments or impose additional conditions as we learn more.

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.

QUESTIONS

Email housing policy questions to Housing & Residential Services at graduatehousing@mit.edu.