November 17, 2020

“Don’t travel if you don’t have to,” advises MIT Medical Director Dr. Cecilia Stuopis. After gatherings, travel is the second most common cause of transmission. If you can postpone your trip, you should. And if you must travel, be sure to strictly adhere to the guidance below and follow the advice from MIT Medical.

Individuals who are traveling outside of Massachusetts should get a Covid-19 test 48 hours prior to traveling, follow state or country relevant quarantine guidance, and quarantine for a full 14 days upon their return.

Guidance at a glance

Undergraduate studentsGraduate studentsAdministrative staffFaculty, research staff, and postdocs
“Local” travel (CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT)Follow MA Covid-19 guidelines and local/state destination guidelines

Register MIT-related travel.

If you are in Covid Pass/regularly access campus, register overnight travel or travel that will cause you to miss a Covid-19 test.
Follow MA Covid-19 guidelines and local/state destination guidelines

Register MIT-related travel.

If you are in Covid Pass/regularly access campus, register overnight travel or travel that will cause you to miss a Covid-19 test.
Follow MA Covid-19 guidelines and local/state destination guidelines

Register MIT-related travel.

If you are in Covid Pass/regularly access campus, register overnight travel or travel that will cause you to miss a Covid-19 test.
Follow MA Covid-19 guidelines and local/state destination guidelines

Register MIT-related travel.

If you are in Covid Pass/regularly access campus, register overnight travel or travel that will cause you to miss a Covid-19 test.
MIT-related domesticSuspended; no exceptionsSuspended; exception process for essential travelSuspended; exception process for essential travelStrongly discouraged
MIT-related internationalSuspended; no exceptionsSuspended; exception process for essential travelSuspended; exception process for essential travelSuspended unless:
– Staying abroad for 30+ days
– Working 100% remotely with no plans to return to campus
Exception process for essential travel
Personal domesticStrongly discouraged. If you are in Covid Pass/regularly access campus, register your travel.Strongly discouraged. If you are in Covid Pass/regularly access campus, register your travel.Strongly discouraged. If you are in Covid Pass/regularly access campus, register your travel.Strongly discouraged. If you are in Covid Pass/regularly access campus, register your travel.
Personal internationalStrongly discouraged. If you are in Covid Pass/regularly access campus, register your travel.Strongly discouraged. If you are in Covid Pass/regularly access campus, register your travel.Strongly discouraged. If you are in Covid Pass/regularly access campus, register your travel.Strongly discouraged. If you are in Covid Pass/regularly access campus, register your travel.

Guidance for all travelers

All MIT travelers are asked to adhere to the following guidelines:

  1. Travelers should abide by local governmental, U.S. Centers for Disease Control, and U.S. State Department guidelines and take appropriate precautions.
  2. You are required to register your travel through the MIT Travel Registry if:
    1. You are in Covid Pass and have regular access to MIT’s campus. This includes:
      1. Personal international and domestic travel
      2. Overnight “local” travel (out-of-state but within New England) and
      3. Any travel that will cause you to miss a required Covid test or
    2. Your travel is MIT-related. MIT-related travel is:
      1. Travel funded entirely or in part by MIT sources
      2. Travel organized primarily by MIT (e.g., MIT selects the participants)
      3. Travel conducted at the behest of MIT or in furtherance of MIT objectives
      4. Travel related to scholarly activities (whether paid for by MIT or not) and/or
      5. Travel that requires the use of MIT equipment, supplies, or personnel
  3. “Local” travel within the six New England states (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont) is only allowed to the extent that it conforms to the latest Massachusetts Covid guidelines. Travelers should consult Massachusetts guidelines as well as the guidelines in place at their final destination.
  4. Personal domestic (outside of New England states) travel and personal international travel are strongly discouraged.
  5. Non-local travelers must adhere to post-travel protocols upon return to campus:
    1. Student travelers living in MIT housing must be tested for Covid-19 as soon as they return to campus, quarantine for seven days, and then be tested a second time with a negative result.
    2. All other travelers must quarantine for seven days and then be tested for Covid-19 with a negative result.
    3. Returning travelers should check the operating hours for MIT Medical and complete the daily Covid Pass attestation prior to arriving at MIT Medical for the test.
  6. Whenever possible/allowable, all MIT-related travel should be booked through booked through MIT’s preferred provider, the Travel Collaborative (domestic and international booking).

Student travel

All MIT-related undergraduate student travel is suspended until further notice. This includes both domestic and international travel. No exceptions will be made.

All MIT-related graduate student travel is suspended until further notice. This includes both domestic and international travel. Exceptions may be made for essential domestic and international travel. The exceptions process requires endorsement from the student’s PI or advisor and DLC head, a risk review by the High-Risk Travel Committee, and approval by the vice chancellor.

These restrictions may not apply to students who are local to specific programs (e.g., international students already living abroad who wish to participate in an education abroad program); these cases would need to be evaluated before MIT endorses participation.

Administrative staff travel

All MIT-related staff travel is suspended until further notice. This includes both domestic and international travel. Exceptions may be made for essential domestic and international travel. The exceptions process requires endorsement from the staff member’s direct supervisor, a risk review by the High-Risk Travel Committee, and approval by the relevant Academic Council member.

Faculty, research staff, and postdoc travel

All MIT-related domestic travel is strongly discouraged. All MIT-related international travel is suspended until further notice unless one of the following criteria is met:

  • The traveler will be staying abroad for 30 days or more.
  • The traveler is working remotely 100 percent of the time and has no immediate plans to return to campus.

If neither of those criteria is met, exceptions may be made for essential international travel with the endorsement of the relevant PI or department head, a risk review by the High-Risk Travel Committee, and the approval of the Deans’ Council and vice president for research.

High-Risk Travel Committee

MIT’s High-Risk Travel Committee reviews all exception requests and provides a recommendation to the appropriate decision-maker(s). Committee members bring a depth and breadth of expertise in the areas of risk management, international programming, medicine, and public health.

Exceptions process for essential travel

Exceptions may be made in the case of essential travel for all travelers except for undergraduates (as noted above).

Essential travel is defined as travel that:

  • Advances critical research in the national or global interest.
  • Preserves the continuity of research that cannot be repeated, replaced, performed remotely or by proxy, or that is necessary to preserve the safety/well-being of research subjects.
  • Supports a critical MIT research, educational, or administrative/operational function that cannot be deferred or accomplished remotely.
  • For graduate students, maintains progress toward academic degree and that cannot be postponed, replaced, or accomplished remotely or by proxy.

Individuals with essential travel needs must apply for an exception. Requests with the required endorsements will be reviewed by the MIT High-Risk Travel Committee and then forwarded to the appropriate individual or group for a final decision.

Undergraduate studentsGraduate studentsAdministrative staffFaculty, research staff, and postdocs
Exception required for:No exceptions allowedEssential domestic and international travelEssential domestic and international travelEssential international travel
Required endorsementNo exceptions allowedPI or advisor and DLC headDirect supervisorDLC head or PI
Risk review and recommendationNo exceptions allowedHigh-Risk Travel CommitteeHigh-Risk Travel CommitteeHigh-Risk Travel Committee
Final decisionNo exceptions allowedVice chancellorRelevant Academic Council memberDeans’ Council and vice president for research

About the process

The decision to extend the suspension of most MIT-related travel resulted from a process that included recommendations from an ad-hoc committee of faculty and staff; community feedback from students, staff, and faculty; and input from MIT Medical and MIT Emergency Management Services. The final policy was adopted by MIT’s senior administration. Exceptions may be made for some travelers under certain circumstances.

This travel guidance is supplemental to existing/normal Institute travel policies and is subject to change at any time based on local, national, and/or global public health conditions and governmental restrictions.