Covid-19 policies on events, parties, and space for students, faculty, and staff
Effective October 13, 2020
Policies will be revisited on an ongoing basis and will be adjusted as needed to reflect current public health guidance and conditions. For questions about these policies, please email either email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
You must be a Covid Pass participant to spend time on campus for any reason. Whenever on campus and interacting with others, whether indoors or outdoors, including in all of the circumstances described below, you must remain physically distant and wear a face covering. (Narrow exceptions apply to undergraduate residential pods and guests in graduate residence halls.)
You must also have your MIT ID visible at all times when accessing campus spaces. Students and residents living on campus are not required to wear their ID when inside their residence hall.
No MIT-sponsored gatherings or events are permitted away from campus.
Below are the approved ways in which faculty, staff, students, and contractors may gather or interact with others on campus. These policies may be updated as local and state guidance changes.
Informal outdoor gatherings
- Groups of up to 10 MIT Covid Pass holders may gather in designated outdoor courtyard spaces on campus so long as they remain physically distant and wear face coverings. Some courtyard spaces – such as Killian Court, Hockfield Court, and Kresge Oval – are large enough to accommodate multiple groups at the same time, but no more than 50 total individuals are permitted in these spaces, and groups of 10 must have at least 12 feet separating them from other groups.
Circles for up to 10 individuals have been marked, which allow people to maintain 6 feet or more of distance while spending time together. These spaces are available on a first-come, first-use basis.
- There are also designated outdoor spaces on West Campus for gatherings of 10 or fewer MIT Covid Pass holders. These West Campus spaces may be reserved through the Campus Activities Complex (CAC).
Academic and instructional outdoor gatherings
- Up to 25 individuals may gather outdoors for a class or registrar-listed instructional activity, when instructed to do so by an MIT faculty or staff member. For any outdoor class meetings exceeding 10 people, the appropriate faculty or staff member for class instruction must be physically present.
Outdoor DAPER spaces and activities
- Student Covid Pass holders and faculty, staff, and family Covid Pass holders who are living in MIT residential communities may access DAPER facilities outdoors.
- Outdoor fields may be used by up to 50 people at a time so long as they remain in smaller groups of no more than 10.
- Individuals engaging in recreational activities outdoors must remain at least 6 feet apart and wear face coverings.
- When more than one group of 10 people is using the same outdoor DAPER space, groups must remain at least 14 feet apart. Individuals within these groups must wear face coverings. (These rules apply to outdoor yoga, HIIT, kickboxing, Pilates, club sports, intramurals, physical education and wellness, intercollegiate practices, and informal recreation.)
- Students, staff, and faculty who occasionally need quiet space for meetings/interviews/studying may reserve designated indoor spaces in E17. Reservations may be made by emailing email@example.com.
- Several rooms in academic buildings have been designated as “touchdown spaces” for brief use, such as in between on-campus classes. These academic rooms and the W20 Stratton Student Center’s lobbies and larger spaces are available for MIT Covid Pass holders to use. All of these indoor resources are on a first-come, first-use basis and are restricted to the posted Covid-modified capacity of the space.
Please note that access to W20 currently remains limited to students and house teams who reside on campus as well as graduate student Covid Pass holders who live off campus.
There will also be smaller reservable Campus Activities Complex (CAC) spaces in W20.
- Indoor DAPER spaces and activities: Student Covid Pass holders and faculty, staff, and family Covid Pass holders who are living in MIT residences may access DAPER facilities indoors. Individual indoor exercise areas are spaced out at least 14 feet apart (treadmills, weights, stretching spaces, etc.).
Safe and acceptable ways to socialize
We are eager to support safe ways for students to socialize.
One way to socialize safely is through closed social circles, or pods. A small circle of close friends who socialize only with each other and limit interactions outside the group is generally safer than interacting with a broader group of people. The idea behind forming a small group (2 to 6 individuals) is that you may relax physical distancing and face coverings (as long as you are in compliance with state and local guidelines – the City of Cambridge currently requires individuals to wear face coverings in all public places, businesses, and common areas of residential buildings). All members of such a group must pledge to abide by ongoing precautions, including limiting interactions with people outside the group. (See the MIT IDSS analysis of pods for more information.)
Larger gatherings, on or off campus, are not permitted among Covid Pass users. Obviously, we are concerned about social events and parties like the ones that have shut down other colleges and universities and which, more importantly, are potential Covid-spreading events.
There are other ways, however, that students may connect socially in a safe manner, whether you live on campus or off. Some examples:
- Students who live on or off campus may take a walk, enjoy a picnic, have a coffee in an outdoor setting with friends, or engage in fitness activities outside in pairs or with small groups of friends.
- Students may attend off-campus local religious, political, or family gatherings that are in compliance with state and local guidelines.
- Students may visit off-campus gyms or participate in recreational fitness activities that are in compliance with state and local guidelines.
- Students inside the residence halls may use pre-approved spaces as determined by Housing & Residential Services and the house team (see the sections on “Indoor Common Space” and “Outdoor Common Space” on the Covid-19 Student Life Policy pages for graduate students and undergraduates).
- Residential undergraduate students may form a pod in their residence hall (see Covid-19 Residential Pod Program). As a reminder, undergraduate pods participating in MIT’s testing protocol are expected to maintain the integrity of their pod. As such, pods mingling with other pods and socializing in person with friends outside of their pod without adhering to physical distancing, face covering, or capacity limitation requirements is prohibited.
- Residential graduate students (Note: This policy will be effective October 16, 2020). Each graduate resident may identify two on-campus, Covid Pass-eligible residents to be included on their guest list. Each resident may have one guest visit at a time in a single apartment or multi-occupant unit. Guests may visit a graduate residence hall between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m. House teams in consultation with house governments may shorten these hours as needed. Overnight visitors or guests are not permitted in the residence hall at any time.
- Graduate students with families living in Eastgate or Westgate and couples in other graduate residence halls may identify one other family/couple or two individuals who also live in campus housing to be on their guest list. All other guest policies need to be followed.
- Local off-campus students (with or without MIT Covid Pass) may socialize in person with a small group (up to 6 people) of friends and are strongly encouraged to apply the guidance and concepts of forming pods to their socialization. See the MIT IDSS analysis of pods for more information.
- Students living away from the Boston area should follow the appropriate guidance and laws of their town, state, or country of residence for safe social connections.
Guidance for student organizations
Student organizations are permitted and encouraged to hold events, meetings, and programs virtually.
However, club or organization members may interact in person in a way that satisfies the rules for other gatherings (wearing face coverings, practicing physical distancing, and adhering to space capacity limits; in these contexts, access to the MIT campus indoors and outdoors remains limited to Covid Pass holders). Organization members need to decide on an equitable expenditure of funds, in consultation and in compliance with guidance from Student Organizations, Leadership, and Engagement (SOLE), given the likelihood that only some members will be able to benefit from in-person activities.
Virtual organizational meetings don’t need to be registered. All virtual events still must be registered and approved of by the Institute via the new MIT Event Registration – Fall 2020 form.
The MIT community has had a successful opening. We appreciate our community’s commitment to public health, and your willingness to embrace a new way of living and learning at MIT.
Science continues to guide our decisions. For a refresher on risk factors that influence the spread of Covid-19, see these brief articles.