October 29, 2020

To the members of the MIT campus community,

With Thanksgiving just a few weeks away, many of us have been thinking about holiday travel and get-togethers with family and friends.

I wanted to offer some cautions and advice on holiday gatherings, in the interest of the health of everyone in our community here in Cambridge and beyond.

Because the sad reality is that, in most places, Covid-19 is on the upswing.

Although you may not wish to hear it yet again (Covid fatigue is real!) I have a duty to remind you that extended gatherings with people you don’t normally spend time with, unmasked around a table or in close indoor spaces, are high-risk settings. Most of the transmission we are seeing affecting members of our community is happening in such settings – indoors, familial, unmasked, unguarded.

In short, staying put rather than hitting the road for Thanksgiving gatherings is the wiser choice for many of us, as this story from MIT Medical makes clear (it offers alternate ideas and links to research and resources). At a minimum, I ask you to think hard about who might be at risk before you choose to celebrate among loved ones around a table. This advice applies to our entire community, wherever you may be.

If you do travel and plan to return to campus, there are several MIT and state policies you should be fully aware of:

  • Our own travel policy sets forth rules for those who are accessing campus, including testing and quarantine requirements upon return, as well as registering personal travel in the registry. Most importantly, you cannot access campus for seven days upon returning from travel outside of New England, and you must have at least one negative test before doing so. We recommend getting tested on the seventh day after you return from your trip. Additional resources for employees about testing after travel will be on the HR website soon.
  • Additionally, the guidelines of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts apply to anyone returning to Massachusetts from out-of-state travel. You should also check rules for states you may enter along your travels.
  • For undergraduate students preparing to head home as the in-person instruction portion of the semester ends, you should make sure to get tested about 48 hours before traveling.

At MIT Medical, we work each and every day to help you protect your health and well-being. We accomplish this through the great teamwork between our providers, staff, campus partners and, most importantly, you. Together, we can help to keep each other safe while we are together here on campus, and as we return to our respective homes in the upcoming weeks.

Wishing you safe travels and good health,

Sincerely,

Cecilia Stuopis, MD
Medical Director, MIT Medical