March 8, 2021

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has announced its return to Phase III, Step 2 of its Covid-19 guidelines, effective March 1. Accordingly, MIT has updated its policies regarding campus space use, both indoors and outdoors, for Covid Pass users working or studying on MIT’s campus effective Tuesday, March 9.


  • Offices used for office-based research or other office-based work can return to a maximum occupancy of one person per 125 square feet, or 50 percent of pre-pandemic seat capacity, or 10 people, whichever is lowest. This policy applies to shared offices as well as write-up spaces that are separate from and connected to research laboratories.
  • While we continue to encourage meetings to be conducted remotely, limited-duration meetings with 10 or fewer MIT colleagues are permitted if all existing guidelines are followed: if the meeting is less than 90 minutes in duration; if there is no eating or drinking; if all participants wear well-fitting face coverings and observe six feet of social distancing; and if the meeting complies with currently reduced and posted occupancy limits of the space, with all attendees using a valid Covid Pass to obtain campus access. For example, an office of 250 square feet can be occupied by two people observing all of the above requirements.
  • MIT common spaces designated as conference or meeting rooms pre-pandemic have been limited since October to scheduled, single-person use for working or eating. Departments, labs, and centers (DLCs) may now elect to use such DLC-managed rooms at a maximum occupancy of one person per 125 square feet, or 50 percent of pre-pandemic seat capacity, or 10 people, whichever occupancy is lowest. No eating, drinking, and social gathering are permitted in such shared spaces. DLCs may elect to continue to operate some common rooms and offices only for scheduled single-use meal breaks. DLC monitoring committees remain responsible for scheduling and monitoring the occupancy and use of such spaces.

Continuation of current policy

  • Laboratories, shared research facilities, and shops/maker spaces can continue to operate at capacities consistent with the occupancy in each approved operating plan (Exercise B or equivalent). There is no change to the capacity of laboratory or shared research facilities at this time, and Research Ramp-up Phase 3 expectations and process remain in effect for research laboratories.
  • Classrooms and other in-person instructional learning spaces can continue to operate at the capacity posted at each room for the spring 2021 semester.
  • Touchdown spaces in academic and research buildings can continue to operate at the posted capacity for students and campus residents. The capacity of all such rooms is 10 or fewer people, depending on the specific touchdown space.
  • Dining options on campus remain limited to the residential population, either in residence halls or in the Stratton Student Center (W20), as communicated to the residential community by the Division of Student Life (DSL).
  • In select areas of some campus academic and research buildings, specific rooms or seating areas have been designated as dining areas for Department of Facilities staff teams who conduct daily work in multiple MIT buildings.
  • Indoor performance venues remain closed to events; those venues, such as theaters or halls, used for student instruction will continue to operate at their posted maximum capacity.
  • Indoor athletic facilities will remain at their posted capacity and schedule.
  • Outdoor athletic fields and courts will maintain a limit of 10 people per group, with a maximum of 25 people (i.e., multiple such groups) on a given large field or court. Each such group must remain distanced by at least 14 feet.
  • Outdoor campus courtyards (e.g., Killian Court, Hockfield Court, Kresge lawn, Saxon lawn) will maintain a limit of 10 people per group or “circle,” with six-foot spacing between each person in a given group. In campus courtyards and green spaces large enough for multiple such groups of 10, a maximum of 25 people is permitted, with a distance of 14 feet between such groups.
  • Community members may eat and drink outside if maintaining a six-foot distance from others and should replace their masks when not eating or drinking.
  • As during the fall 2020 semester, the sole exception to the limit of 10 people per group or “circle” in campus courtyards is classes meeting outdoors with instructors present. This exception is because some classes may have more than 10 students and instructors present when meeting indoors, and extension of this class meeting outdoors with the instructor(s) is permitted while maintaining all other guidance on distance and masking outdoors during the class meeting period.

In all of the above campus contexts, both indoors or outdoors, all persons must wear well-fitted face coverings, maintain at least six feet of distance from others, and wash their hands frequently. Wearing of MIT IDs on lanyards is encouraged, as MIT IDs are used for Covid Pass entry to all campus buildings. Modifications to these guidelines specific to those inside campus residential buildings are limited to those settings and are subject to further guidance from MIT DSL and house teams.