Events, gatherings, and campus spaces policy
February 9, 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, 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, whether on or away from campus, until further notice.
- The event moratorium includes business and social gatherings, dance and theatre performances, sporting events, concerts, meetings, conferences, tours, workshops, and K-12 programming. Note: Special arrangements are in place for limited, on-campus academic activities that must take place in person, as well as DSL-sponsored outdoor, physically distanced programming such as movie nights, DAPER lawn games, or other recreational activities that may be planned in the spring.
- All events and parties within residence halls and FSILGs are prohibited. Additionally, MIT students are not permitted to organize or to attend events or parties off campus.
- Socializing is important for mental health: Please review the below guidelines and suggestions for connecting with others safely, both on and off campus.
- For planning purposes, MIT community members should expect the event/gathering policy to remain in place at least through the end of the spring 2021 semester. Please note that this policy may be updated as local and state guidance changes. (See also: MIT Institute Events.)
- Most MIT-related travel is suspended at this time. It is strongly recommended that members of the MIT community avoid unnecessary personal travel as well. See the MIT travel policy.
For further details relating to MIT faculty and staff, see:
- MIT Institute Events
- Academic policies and resources for faculty and teaching staff
- Information for all employees
Informal outdoor gatherings
- Groups of up to 10 MIT Covid Pass holders may informally 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 25 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 25 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.
- W50 (Walker Memorial) is not open for general campus use. Only East Campus residents may access W50 for meals, and residents must follow protocols established for meal service.
- Several rooms in academic buildings have been designated as “touchdown spaces” for brief use, such as in between on-campus classes. These academic rooms 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, 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.
- 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:
- Following the conclusion of the start of the semester quarantine requirements, 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 may participate in community service efforts, but must practice physical distancing and wear face coverings. A group service project may not include more than 10 people and should be 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 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 Site 4 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 and Covid testing for off-campus students 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 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. All virtual events still must be registered and approved of by the Institute via the new MIT Event Registration – Spring 2021 form.
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.