We are currently planning for all co-curricular activity to be virtual at the start of the semester. If things go well with in-person classes, we may be able to revisit this as the semester progresses. We will not be able to accommodate a full suite of in person co-curricular activity on campus and meet current state density requirements.
Following President Reif’s announcement on July 7, we want to emphasize that graduate students residing in private and multi-occupant apartments have been invited to return to campus. Graduate students living in on-campus dormitories will be included in a phased move-in process in August. In all cases, our graduate students will be welcomed back to Cambridge this fall, albeit with limitations on campus density.
We are following MIT’s travel policy, which is informed by state policy. We are aware that currently the MIT travel policy is more restrictive than the state policy. That may change as the semester progresses. Students must comply with MIT, state, and federal travel restrictions and policies. Students may not travel outside the local area (as defined by current MIT policy, which at the moment is slightly more restrictive than state policy) without approval by MIT’s High-Risk Travel Committee or their delegates.
If approval is granted for travel, students must follow necessary quarantine protocols upon return.
There are many details still to be clarified around travel. This is a priority issue that is being addressed and policy will be communicated as soon as it is available.
We are planning to provide two types of wearable devices to help keep campus safe this fall. It is possible that neither of these will be available for our first week on campus, but we hope to introduce them at some point in the semester. We understand that some community members have expressed concern about these devices and we want everyone to understand their scope and their purpose. Individuals will maintain their own data except in specific circumstances that we describe below. We deeply value data privacy and are operating with that in mind.
We will keep you updated as details evolve with regards to timing and which devices we will have. Our current plan is as follows:
First, wearable health monitoring devices:
These will be provided by the school to each person who plans to be on campus. These are intended to identify early COVID-19 symptoms even in people who feel well and are visibly asymptomatic, as asymptomatic spread is a feature of this pandemic. These will provide an added layer of safety to our on-campus community by allowing us to identify potentially sick people, have them contact MIT Medical, and keep them at home and away from campus where they could infect others.
Each individual will maintain their own health metrics and they will check them each morning. Metrics to be monitored include temperature, heart rate, oxygen saturation level, and breathing rate, as each of these can indicate a COVID-19 infection if outside the normal expected range. Only if these are outside the range provided by MIT Medical will individuals be expected to share their health metrics with MIT Medical and follow the subsequent guidance.
Second, wearable proximity tags.
Proximity tags will remind people if they are too close to each other for extended periods of time by lighting up or making a sound. Data from these tags will only be gathered in aggregate, to allow the school to identify areas around campus where there may be crowding and where we need to reconsider traffic patterns. If someone on campus tests positive for COVID-19, MIT Medical may use the proximity tag information to assist in contact tracing, to determine who may have been near the infected individual in order to alert them and ask them to quarantine. These tags will not be used to track any individual’s movements on any regular basis; they will only be used on an individual basis if there is a need to conduct contact tracing.
Neither the health monitoring devices nor the proximity tags will be used for disciplinary purposes and individual data will only be provided to or accessed by MIT Medical in case of a COVID-19 infection for the purposes of treating and quarantining the ill person and conducting contact tracing.
All students, faculty, and staff who are coming to campus will be required to wear MIT Sloan-supplied masks both inside and outside while on campus at all times. We are still working out the distribution plan for the masks. They are on order and expected to arrive in mid-August. (We secured a very small early sample batch to use in communications and socialization). They are black with the MIT Sloan logo in white. Multiple masks will be supplied to each student in case they lose them.
In order to provide students with an on-campus experience in Cambridge, and in order to protect our international students’ ability to meet their visa requirements, our current plan (subject to change) is to expand our academic week as follows:
Classes will be scheduled in 70-minute segments from 8 AM to 9:30 PM EST.
Classes will take place Monday through Saturday.
All classes will have a remote option for participants who have chosen to participate in the semester virtually or for students who are scheduled to be remote. The educational experience will vary both across courses and across sessions within courses. It will be a “hybrid” curriculum. There will be three main instructional modes:
Fully remote: A fully remote session is one in which all participants are participating remotely over Zoom and students and faculty are both on Zoom. This was the teaching mode employed in H4 of the Spring 2020 semester.
In person: A session that is conducted in person with physically distanced seating.
Hyflex: A session in which some students are participating in person and some students are participating remotely.
Variants of these main teaching modes may also be found, including sessions in which multiple adjacent classrooms will be used and sessions in which the faculty member is remote but the students (and co-instructor and/or teaching assistants) are in the classroom. While a given course will typically be taught in one or another mode, some courses may alternate regularly between modes and any course may need to revert to fully remote in response to changing conditions.
Students are only allowed on campus when they have class or scheduled testing. For us to meet density requirements and enable in-person classroom experiences, we must limit campus access to those who have class or have their scheduled testing time.
Everyone will be assigned a specific entry point and designated exits will be marked. We need to control the flow of traffic through the buildings to avoid crowding and to ensure that only people who have completed their daily health attestation, followed their COVID-19 testing schedule, and are scheduled to be on campus for class are able to access campus buildings.
Designated entrances will be E51, E52 via Shames Plaza/Wadsworth Street, and E62 via Main Street. The E62 Memorial Drive entrance will be for those coming for their COVID-19 tests only.
When a community member arrives at their designated entry point, they will tap their MIT ID for access. There will be staff on hand to assist should there be any problems with access.
Anyone wishing to have access to campus will be tested twice per week. Testing time slots will be assigned.
Here is a step-by-step walk-through of our current thinking about how testing will work.
Students will proceed to the E62 Memorial Drive side entrance when they are scheduled to be tested. They will wait there briefly in a physically distanced line and a member of the testing team will escort them to the testing site, which is set up in the Executive Education dining room (E62-150). There will be signage indicating where people should enter.
In the testing room, students’ IDs will be scanned and they will receive a swab and a collection tube labeled with their name.
They will then go to one of several collection stations where they will swab their own nose, put the swab in the tube, and drop the collection tube in the designated bin.
After finishing the test, students will exit E62 through the Main Street doors even if they then have class in the building. They will then go to their designated entrance to re-enter for class. We need to keep traffic flow to the testing center moving quickly and separately from other traffic.
We are currently planning to keep the cafeteria closed for the beginning of the semester, as introducing people into the E62 lobby space with masks off to eat poses a significant safety challenge. If things go well with in-person classes, we hope to be able to revisit this as the semester progresses.
We are aware that we may need to provide space on campus for Zoom meetings or other activities. We have not yet resolved where these spaces will be as we are prioritizing classroom spaces and testing. We will let you know as soon as we have identified these spaces.
As stated in our Community Compliance Agreement, all students are expected to follow state guidelines for group gatherings both indoors and outdoors, and should neither host nor participate in gatherings that exceed attendance limits, whether school-sponsored or not.
To maintain low building density, visitor access to campus will be significantly limited through the end of the calendar year 2020. For information on rare possible exceptions to the visitor policy, as well as required visitor protocols, please visit the MIT Covid Travelers and Visitors site.
As in the spring semester, students will have the option to order course packs to be printed and shipped to a domestic address. We are also exploring allowing a contactless pickup directly from Copytech (in E52) for those students in the Cambridge area. We are, unfortunately, unable to send course packs internationally at this time.
There is no access to printing on campus at this time. This may change as the semester progresses. We are working to identify a place where printing can be done safely and will let you know as soon as we have more information.
MIT Medical and MIT central communications are planning for this scenario. We are in touch with them daily and should have more details soon.
This page is being updated regularly. Please check back often for the most up-to-date information.