Events, gatherings, and campus spaces policy
April 15, 2021
Access to campus is limited to:
- Registered Covid Pass participants
- Students authorized to access campus for Covid-19 testing only
If you do not fall into one of these categories, please continue to work and study remotely.
If you are a Covid Pass user or a student visiting for a Covid test, note that whenever on campus and interacting with others, whether indoors or outdoors, you must remain physically distant and wear a face covering, regardless of vaccination status. (Narrow exceptions apply to undergraduate pods while within residence halls, FSILG pilot households, and approved guests in graduate residence halls.)
You must also have your MIT ID visible at all times when accessing campus spaces (except when inside your residence hall or FSILG).
No MIT-sponsored events are permitted, whether on or away from campus, until further notice. The event moratorium includes indoor business and social events, dance and theatre performances, sporting events, concerts, meetings, conferences, tours, workshops, and K-12 programming.
MIT community members in Covid Pass are encouraged to make appropriate use of outdoor spaces, weather permitting. Special arrangements are in place for limited, on-campus academic activities; DSL- or OVC-sponsored outdoor, physically distanced programming such as movie nights, lawn games, or other recreational activities; and small Commencement events organized by DLCs. (Events are typically more formal and involve advance planning, advertising and promotion, and ticketing, whereas gatherings tend to be more informal, incidental, and brief in nature.) See more details on permissible outdoor gatherings and indoor space usage below.
All events and parties within residence halls and FSILGs are prohibited. Additionally, MIT students are not permitted to organize or attend off-campus events or parties.
Socializing is important for mental health and wellbeing: Please review the guidelines and suggestions below for connecting with others safely, both on and off campus.
MIT community members should expect the event policy to remain in place through the end of summer 2021. Please note that this policy may be updated as local and state guidance changes (also see MIT Institute Events). Academic year 2021 orientation events for undergraduate and graduate students will be addressed in future updates.
Informal outdoor gatherings
- Small groups of MIT Covid Pass holders may informally gather in designated outdoor spaces on campus so long as they remain physically distant and wear face coverings. Several outdoor green spaces on campus – such as Killian Court, Hockfield Court, and Kresge Oval – are large enough to accommodate multiple groups at the same time, but per City of Cambridge requirements, no more than 100 total individuals are permitted in these spaces, and groups must have at least 12 feet separating them from other groups. Circles that accommodate up to 10 individuals have been marked, which are intended as visual guides to illustrate how small groups of people can maintain 6 feet or more of distance while spending time together. These spaces are available on a first-come, first-use basis.
- Reservable spaces: There are also designated outdoor spaces that can be reserved through the Campus Activities Complex system for small- or medium-sized gatherings of Covid Pass holders.
- Residential spaces: Campus residents can access residence hall courtyards, roof decks, and other outdoor residential spaces when house-specific plans are in place that meet Institute guidance. Guidance for developing house-specific protocols for use of residential outdoor spaces will be shared with heads of house. All residents must follow the posted capacity limits for each outdoor space, as well as all physical distancing and face-covering requirements.
- In graduate houses, residents can use these outdoor common spaces with members of a different household who live in the same residence hall. Approved guests may also utilize residential outdoor spaces when accompanied by their resident host, provided the guests abide by the same policies and protocols as residents.
- In undergraduate houses, residents can use these outdoor common spaces with non-pod friends who live in the same residence hall.
Academic, departmental, and instructional outdoor gatherings
- Class gatherings and other academic and research gatherings: Up to 100 individuals in Covid Pass may gather outdoors on campus for a class or registrar-listed instructional activity when instructed to do so by an MIT faculty or instructional staff member, or for academic and research discussions. Only some campus outdoor spaces are large enough to accommodate such group sizes with required physical distance (and face coverings); Killian Court and Hockfield Court are two examples. For any outdoor class meetings exceeding 10 people, which can occur easily in many campus courtyards (e.g., Eastman Court, Saxon Lawn) and the Building 32 (Stata Center) amphitheater, the appropriate faculty or staff member for class instruction must be physically present. No reservations of these spaces are required, and food/drink are discouraged to minimize the time when face coverings are removed to eat or drink. If you are considering a group size that approaches this limit of 100 individuals, we ask that you contact firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
- Academic, research, and student support discussions off campus: Academic or research advisors or student support staff members can meet informally outdoors with individuals or small groups of students off campus. However, informal outings must be completely voluntary to all participants, limited to small groups (think 10 or fewer), and preferably near campus to limit complexities of transportation. Advisees (and advisors) may have varying comfort with meeting in person safely at this time, even outdoors, and community transmission outside households and in off-campus social settings remain concerning. It is expected that such academic and research discussions are consistent with other guidance outlined here for on-campus informal gatherings (not MIT-sponsored events or large gatherings) and for student-to-student outdoor social activities like a walk around the river or a small, socially distanced picnic. Anyone concerned about feeling coerced or otherwise unable to decline an invitation can contact your central human resource officer or, if you prefer to reach out anonymously, the MIT Hotline.
- DLC-sponsored Commencement events: Up to 100 individuals may gather outdoors in designated campus areas to celebrate Commencement during DLC-organized events. Individuals in attendance must wear face coverings and remain socially distanced, and food/drink may not be served or consumed at these gatherings. See detailed guidance on DLC-organized Commencement events.
Outdoor DAPER spaces and activities
- Only Covid Pass holders may access DAPER facilities outdoors.
- Outdoor fields may be used by up to 100 people at a time so long as they remain in smaller groups at least 6 feet apart and wear face coverings. Individuals engaging in recreational activities outdoors must remain at least 6 feet apart and wear face coverings.
- When more than one group is using the same outdoor DAPER space, groups must remain at least 14 feet apart. (These rules apply to outdoor yoga, HIIT, kickboxing, Pilates, club sports, intramurals, physical education and wellness, intercollegiate practices, and informal recreation.)
Division of Student Life (DSL) and Office of the Vice Chancellor (OVC) sponsored outdoor activities/programs
- To allow more programming for students, exception guidelines have been developed for outdoor gatherings and activities in non-residential spaces. These programs/activities may only be sponsored by DSL or OVC, and specific locations have been identified as suitable for such activities. The guidelines establish manageable limits on the size and complexity of outdoor activities, and outline the criteria for DSL or OVC sponsorship. Student organizations may not apply for an exception, as student-organized in-person group meetings and events are not allowed at this time (see below for additional information about student groups).
- E17 quiet spaces: 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.
- “Touchdown” spaces: Several rooms in academic buildings have been designated as “touchdown spaces” for brief use by MIT Covid Pass holders who are students or campus residents. The spaces may not be used for eating meals, and face coverings are required during use. All of these indoor resources are restricted to the posted Covid-modified capacity of the space and must be reserved by using the “spaces” widget that is part of the Covid Pass app and website.
- W20: Access to W20 currently remains limited to students and house teams who reside on campus, and only to access services related to dining, TechMart, and Dunkin Donuts. We will explore students living off campus accessing W20 later in the semester.
- DAPER: Only Covid Pass holders may access indoor DAPER facilities. Individual indoor exercise areas are spaced out at least 14 feet apart (treadmills, weights, stretching spaces, etc.).
Safe and acceptable ways to socialize (for students)
We are eager to support safe ways for students to socialize.
Students and residents of Institute-approved housing must follow the Covid policies regarding pods (in undergraduate houses), guests (in graduate houses), and use of common spaces. We are concerned about social events and parties that are potential Covid-spreading events.
Off-campus gatherings: Large gatherings in a private residence (larger than 25 outdoors and 10 individuals indoors) are not permitted among students, regardless of whether they are in Covid Pass or live on or off campus.
Pods: One way to socialize safely is through closed social circles, or pods. A small circle of 2-6 individuals who socialize only with each other and limit interactions outside the group is generally safer than interacting with a broader group of people. Learn more by visiting the undergraduate Residential Pod Program webpage. If you are in a pod, please remember face coverings and physical distance are still required outside the residence hall areas, including in all academic and research buildings and courtyards.
Other social options: There are other ways that students may connect socially in a safe manner, whether you live on campus or off. Some examples:
- Following the conclusion of any quarantine requirements, students who live on or off campus may take a walk, enjoy a picnic, have a coffee in a physically distanced outdoor setting with friends, or engage in fitness activities outside in pairs or with small groups of friends.
- If in compliance with state and local guidelines, students may:
- Attend off-campus religious, political, or family gatherings
- Visit off-campus gyms or participate in recreational fitness activities
- Participate in community service efforts
In the residence halls: Residents 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 Residential Pod Program), and FSILG pilot students may form a “household.” 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, including Graduate Resident Advisors (GRAs) in undergraduate residence halls, may establish a guest list of up to two Covid Pass-eligible MIT graduate students or postdocs who are also authorized to access campus buildings, beginning on April 15. Graduate resident families can have two other families on their guest list, and couples can have two other couples or individuals. Overnight guests in graduate residences are permitted if they are listed on a resident’s guest list and adhere to all residential policies. Please consult the Covid student policy webpage for additional information regarding the graduate resident guest policy.
- 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. Read more about pods and Covid testing for off-campus students.
- 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 informal 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. Any student organization-sponsored virtual events or gatherings must be registered and approved by the Institute via the MIT Event Registration – Spring 2021 form.