November 5, 2020

To the MIT Sloan Student Community,

From the beginning of this semester, we have collectively acknowledged the opportunity and the challenge of bringing people back to campus during the pandemic. Until now, we have seen few cases at MIT Sloan.

We write today because, unfortunately, there has been a marked increase in the number of positive cases within our community, largely within the first-year MBA class. We must act on that information in order to protect not only each of you, but also our faculty, our staff, and our broader Cambridge community. As such, out of an abundance of caution, we are suspending in-person instruction for first-year MBA students, likely until the Thanksgiving break, at which point all on-campus activity is already scheduled to be virtual for the remainder of the semester.

All other programs and classes, including second-year MBAs, will continue with in-person instruction as scheduled. We will continue to monitor any additional cases in partnership with MIT Medical. Analysis by MIT Medical suggests that our positive cases were most likely contracted away from campus, through social gatherings and travel, and not through classroom settings at MIT Sloan. As such, with our ongoing health protocols on campus and rigorous testing, we believe continuing in-person classes other than for first-year MBAs is safe.

Guidance on testing and health monitoring

To continue to support your health and safety and that of the larger community, the school is requiring all first-year students to adopt an every-other-day testing cadence until Friday, November 13, regardless of the shift to remote instruction. We will open for testing on Saturday at MIT Sloan from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. You will need to schedule an appointment to be tested on Saturday in order to prevent crowding. If you tested today, please test again on Saturday and on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday next week. If you are testing on Friday, please also test on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday next week.

As a reminder, if you are experiencing symptoms of Covid-19 or have reason to believe you have come into contact with someone who has Covid-19, you should NOT come to MIT Sloan, the MIT Medical trailer, or MIT’s Johnson testing site to be tested. Instead, you should contact MIT Medical and follow their instructions for testing and quarantine. The MIT CARE Team will reach out to students who have tested positive to ensure they are supported during their isolation period.

If you have been coming to campus, you should complete your health attestation in Covid Pass each day, even on days when you are attending class virtually. The attestation not only serves as a daily reminder to watch your health, but also allows for confidential reporting to MIT Medical if you have symptoms or have concerns that you may have been in contact with someone with Covid-19. In addition to filling out the daily health attestation, please contact MIT Medical if you believe you may have been exposed to Covid-19. Being fully transparent about contacts is a critical part of keeping the entire community safe. MIT Medical can be most effective in contact tracing if they are provided with complete and accurate information. MIT Medical handles all medical information confidentially, and there is no risk of disciplinary action as a result of reporting contacts to them. They will reach out to individuals who, within the prior 48 hours, have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive. (Close contact is defined as being within six feet for a cumulative duration of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period, regardless of whether or not a mask was worn).

Off-campus activity

Please be vigilant while you are off campus. As we’ve emphasized before, gatherings of any size put both you and others in the community at risk. Gatherings indoors with large groups of people are among the highest-risk activities you could undertake with the virus continuing its aggressive spread. Consider your actions and interactions very carefully not only this week, but also in the coming months.

As a reminder, as cases have been rising in Massachusetts, Governor Baker has issued a stay-at-home advisory after 10 p.m. beginning tomorrow, and urges residents to use caution when gathering indoors. As of tomorrow, Massachusetts will require masks to be worn in public at all times, regardless of distance. See a detailed description of these guidelines.

Lastly, note that MIT requires anyone wishing to access campus to register all personal and MIT-related travel and follow all related testing and quarantine guidelines.

In closing, we wish to acknowledge how challenging it is to manage this evolving situation, and how much energy many of you have put in to keeping yourselves and your community safe. We want to emphasize that the move to virtual instruction and the increased testing cadence for first-year students are part of our effort to protect the community’s health. It is incumbent on each of us to recognize that the transmission of Covid-19 can happen in small or large gatherings, inside or outside. We must all do our best to avoid that transmission for our own health and for that of the public.

With best wishes for health and safety,

David Schmittlein
John C Head III Dean
MIT Sloan School of Management