February 21, 2021 - Spring 2021 Q-Week Extended

tl;dr: Q-Week will not end on Monday 2/22 at 7 a.m., as planned; it is being extended until at least 5 p.m. on Tuesday 2/23; all undergraduates living in residence halls or pilot FSILGs must test tomorrow; serious concerns about lack of compliance with testing requirements and restrictions on pods, gatherings.


Dear undergraduate students, 

Despite the fact that the vast majority of undergraduates have followed all of our Q-Week policies, we write to inform you that, unfortunately, as a precautionary measure, we must extend Q-Week at least until 5 p.m. Tuesday, February 23. Further, all undergraduates who are residents or who are in the FSILG pilot must test tomorrow at either Johnson Rink (W34) between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., or the MIT Medical trailers (E23) between 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Make sure to bring your MIT ID and COVID Pass app on your smartphone.

We are taking this step not because of an increase in positive test results but rather because a substantial number of residential undergraduate students are out of compliance with our testing requirements. We recognize that there may have been some confusion about expectations, but some students have only tested once, upon check-in; some have tested twice, but without five days elapsing between their arrival and their second test; and some have not tested at all (even excluding those who have had a positive COVID-19 test in the last 90 days, and are therefore not required to test).

Lack of compliance with testing requirements creates significant risk for our community. Therefore, Q-Week will be extended at least until every residential undergraduate student, whether in a residence hall or a pilot FSILG, is tested again tomorrow, Monday, February 22, and those testing results are received. This applies to every residential undergraduate student, even those who were fully compliant with our testing procedures and protocols. 

If you are not a residential undergraduate, or a member of the FSILG pilot, but you are approved to access campus starting next Monday, March 1, it is equally imperative that you establish either a Monday-Thursday or Tuesday-Friday testing cadence this week. Otherwise, you will not be allowed to access campus next week.

Separate from the testing issues, it also concerns us that before Q-Week has finished, we have already received reports of COVID-19 policy violations: In one case, a pod group gathered in-person, and in another, a group of undergraduate students were socializing, without face coverings, in an off-campus apartment. The individuals involved in these situations have been referred to the Committee on Discipline for an expedited review of these allegations. 

The Institute’s public health measures are critically important and we thank all of you who have been adhering to them. Together, we can make the spring 2021 semester a success — but only if each of us does our part. Please be sure to get your COVID-19 tests tomorrow if you are an undergraduate resident or member of a pilot FSILG.

Sincerely,

Cecilia Stuopis, MD
Medical Director, MIT Medical

Suzy Nelson
Vice President and Dean for Student Life

February 23, 2021 - Q-Week ends at noon today


Dear students.

You really came through yesterday! All on-campus undergraduate house and FSILG pilot residents were tested following the extension of Q-Week on Sunday, and no positive cases were detectedAs a result, we are lifting Q-Week restrictions as of noon today.

Special thanks go to the MIT Medical testing team for coordinating such a big effort, and to the Broad Institute team for processing a total of 6,413 tests, our largest single-day testing volume so far.

To keep COVID at bay as we get further into the spring semester, get on your regular testing cadence (test either Monday/Thursday or Tuesday/Friday), attest every day, and follow the residential policies.

WHAT’S NEXT?

Now that the restrictions are lifted, here are some things you can start doing right now:

  1. Form pods. In the fall, 760 students formed 176 pods--groups of up to six students in the same residence who commit to keeping themselves and each other healthy. We heard in the fall that pods made on-campus life a lot more enjoyable. Even if you decide not to participate in the residence hall pod program, please enjoy the events put on by your House team (see #4 below).
  2. Enjoy our campus environs fully. You will be able to spend more time out of your room in the coming days, so please try to get outside for at least 30 minutes a day. Walk along the river, or connect with friends in Killian Court’s designated outdoor gathering areas or in a reservable West Campus space. Bundle up if it is cold.
  3. Exercise with DAPER, in person or virtually. Students permitted to access campus through COVID Pass may use DAPER indoor and outdoor facilities, or try one of their many online classes.
  4. Engage with your community. If you live on campus or in an FSILG pilot house, make the effort to join Zoom gatherings, movie nights, and other activities that can help strengthen your connections to others in your residence and across campus.

However, don’t let up on your health and safety practices: wear a well-fitting face-covering, wash your hands regularly, maintain six feet of distance from others unless you are in a pod together, and stay within your pod or social bubble.

And remember, access to academic and research spaces and in-person learning will start on Monday, March 1.

THANK YOU!

Working together, we can make this spring semester go smoothly and safely for ourselves, each other, and the MIT community. Thank you again!

Sincerely,

Cecilia Stuopis, MD 
Medical Director, MIT Medical

Suzy Nelson 
Vice President and Dean for Student Life