September 1, 2020

To the MIT community,

Welcome to an unusual fall semester. We just wrapped up move-in weekend, and today is the first day of classes. Last Saturday and Sunday, 671 undergraduate students arrived, had their first on-campus Covid-19 test, and moved into their residences. Move-in was a success, thanks in large part to the tremendous efforts of more than 150 staff from the Division of Student Life and many other areas.

This weekend also marked the beginning of quarantine week, or “Q-week.” As you may know, after returning to campus and being immediately tested, students have been asked to quarantine for a full week. At the end of that week, they will be tested a second time. The first test determines if any of our students arrived as asymptomatic carriers of Covid-19. The second test will let us know if they contracted the virus while traveling back to campus.

Now that the weekend’s test results are back, we can report that one returning undergraduate student tested positive through our screening program. That student is currently self-isolating, MIT Medical has already conducted its contact tracing process, and the Division of Student Life is working to make sure the individual has the support and resources they need for the isolation period. As a reminder, if you were not directly contacted by MIT Medical, you can presume that you are not at risk from this positive case.

Whenever we learn that a member of our MIT community has contracted Covid-19, our first priority is their well-being and offering them care and support. It also serves as a sobering reminder that we must not let down our guard. It is critical that all students strictly adhere to the rules and regulations surrounding self-quarantine for the duration of Q-week. We know how much everyone misses each other, but as tempting as it is to meet for a quick coffee with a friend, that is exactly the type of interaction that has led to coronavirus outbreaks on campuses across the United States.

For now, everyone needs to remain extra cautious. Once Q-week ends, we will write again and share the results of our second round of testing.

Thank you, everyone, for doing your part to keep yourself and all members of our MIT community safe this semester.

And, finally, we would like to take a moment to speak directly to all our students to say welcome back to MIT. Whether you are here in person or virtually, we have missed you and are very glad to have you back.

Sincerely,

Cecilia Stuopis, MD
Medical Director, MIT Medical

Suzy Nelson
Vice President and Dean for Student Life