To safeguard the health and well-being of our entire community, let’s approach the challenges of this academic year together. All members of the MIT community who come to campus must follow the guidance and processes outlined in Health & Testing and Campus Access.


Recent updates


Quick links


Overview

This fall, we want to ensure all students, whether learning on campus or remotely, are able to continue making academic progress while prioritizing their safety and the safety of the MIT community. With this in mind, we are taking a number of precautions this fall, including:

  • Everyone living or working on campus will be tested as often as twice a week.
  • Each undergraduate living on campus will have a private room.
  • In order to protect community health, the overall campus population – students, faculty, postdocs, and staff – will need to be significantly reduced.

Reducing traffic on campus

In order to effectively manage the number of people on campus:

  • Only a limited number of undergraduates have been invited back for the fall term.
  • Only undergraduate students living on campus may access or participate in any in-person elements of classes and/or residential life, clubs, and activities.
  • Undergraduate students living off campus will not be permitted to enter campus buildings.

This fall, we have prioritized the return of seniors, as they have the least amount of time remaining to satisfy degree requirements, and being on campus will allow them to complete capstone subjects, research, and theses. We are also allowing a small group of other students whose circumstances require special consideration in terms of their safety, living conditions, visa status, or other hardship.

A look at the year ahead

MIT will operate on a two-semester model for the 2020-21 academic year, with an early start and a modified calendar. As a matter of equity, we want to enable every student to have the ability to spend at least one term on campus. It is our intention to open campus for all first-years, sophomores, and juniors in the spring. If public health conditions change fundamentally – e.g., if an effective vaccine becomes widely available – we may also offer seniors the opportunity to stay on campus for the spring term.

Student life

Living on campus this fall will be marked by new living arrangements, policies, and procedures, as well as new responsibilities for managing risks associated with Covid-19 in residence halls and shared spaces. Whether you’re on campus or elsewhere, returning to campus will require everyone to do their part by:

  • Wearing a face covering when outside of your living space.
  • Washing your hands regularly.
  • Covering coughs and sneezes.
  • Keeping six feet apart from others, both indoors and out, and encouraging friends to do the same.

The MIT experience is built on cooperation, teamwork, and mutual respect and support – values that can also help us contain the spread of the virus and make our new campus experience feel as much like MIT as possible.

These FAQ capture many of the questions we have heard from students about campus life this fall.

While most undergraduates and many graduate students will be working remotely due to Covid‑19, MIT support offices focused on student health and wellbeing, diversity, equity, and inclusion, finances, and academics continue to support students virtually. If you need help or support at any time, there are many support resources readily available. Some informal supports that are available to you at any time are listed in the Campus Guide.

To clarify your role in keeping the virus at bay, MIT published updated student policies. MIT will continue to adjust policies and implement additional measures as necessary, and will post updates on this site. These policies were shaped by MIT Medical and the Institute’s Emergency Management Team, and reviewed by undergraduate and graduate heads of house, DormCon, the Undergraduate Association (UA), and other campus partners. Read more details about the student policies in the Campus Guide.

If you are living on campus and have concerns about the behaviors of other students relative to Covid-19 health risks, please fill out a Covid-19 public health concern report. If you have concerns about the behaviors of non-student community members relative to Covid-19 and health risks, please use our anonymous reporting hotline.

An initiative for undergraduate students to form social groups, or “pods,” has been developed through a collaborative effort by the Division of Student Life, DormCon, the UA, house teams, and other campus partners.

The process to form pods is separate from the group requests within the fall 2020 Housing Intent & Preference Form, which relates to requested placement in the same residence hall. You will have an opportunity to start forming pods in August. Learn more about pods in the Campus Guide.

Students may use shared common spaces so long as the group complies with occupancy limits, engages in physical distancing, wears face coverings, and cleans the space before and after use according to the posted community cleaning standards.

Undergraduate residence kitchens will remain closed for the fall, though a designated “country kitchen” may be reserved for special circumstances (such as baking a birthday cake). Learn more about kitchens and common spaces in the Campus Guide.

Anyone authorized to be in MIT housing (e.g., students, faculty, and staff) must follow all Institute policies and instructions related to campus and building access, including requirements for testing and daily attestations, to maintain access to their residence hall and other on-campus facilities. Consult the Campus Access page for detailed policies. The Campus Guide has more details about your ID and residence hall access.

Events and parties are not permitted on or off MIT’s campus. There are, however, other ways to engage in social connections with friends. For example residential undergraduate students may form a pod in their residence hall (see the Covid-19 Residential Pod Program). As a reminder, undergraduates participating in pods are part of MIT’s testing protocol and are strongly encouraged to maintain the integrity of their pod. They should not socialize with friends outside of their pod. See MIT’s Institute for Data, Systems, and Society’s analysis of pods for more information. Read the complete Events and Parties Policy on the Covid Policies page.

Yes, with some caveats. Students living in a residence hall may use designated indoor and outdoor common areas once plans that meet Institute guidance for the community’s spaces are in place. Indoors, pods may have dedicated common space for their exclusive use where they can relax face-covering and physical distancing protocols. Outdoors, so long as posted occupancy limits are observed and residents keep at least six feet of separation from others, face coverings may be removed. Contact your house team if you have questions about indoor and outdoor space in your residence hall.

On-campus residents may also reserve several spaces on West campus: the Student Center Garden (between the Student Center and DuPont Gym), barbecue pits near Kresge Auditorium, and an area near the DuPont Tennis Courts (see the Campus Activities Complex page to make reservations). Lastly, on-campus residents and faculty, staff, and students with a valid Covid Pass may use designated spaces in outdoor common areas (e.g., Killian Court, Hockfield Court) marked by fencing or circles painted on the ground. Spaces will have a posted occupancy limit (max 50, groups of up to 10 people). Read more details on indoor and outdoor space usage on the Covid Policies page.

Yes, there are a number of in-house faculty, staff, and graduate students who are here to help every step of the way. All residence halls have a live-in house team that cultivates community among their residents. Learn more about housing assignments in the Campus Guide.

All students who arrive on campus are required to be tested at MIT Medical upon arrival. See the Covid Apps site for the latest information on testing times. If you arrive outside of testing hours, you should go directly to your assigned building and complete testing as soon as possible within 24 hours. Your key will not be issued until Covid-19 testing at MIT Medical is complete.

After arriving on campus, you are expected to get a Covid-19 test at MIT Medical, self-quarantine for seven days, and test again until you receive a negative result. Subsequent testing can take place a minimum of 5–7 days after arrival. Complete details about move-in, testing, and the new Massachusetts Traveler Form are available in the Campus Guide.

Daytime and overnight visitors from other residence halls or outside the MIT campus are not permitted in undergraduate residence halls at any time.

FSILGs will not be open for the fall, but MIT will work with FSILG alumni/ae to subsidize costs for house operations so they can resume operations once it is safe to do so.

Yes, laundry rooms will remain available to residents. Please follow all posted regulations, including practicing physical distancing and wearing a face covering. You may use the Washlava app (available for iOS and Android) to reserve machines and monitor laundry cycles. Learn more about how Washlava works.

For detailed guidance on how to best clean your clothing and personal spaces, visit the CDC website.

MIT requires the use of face coverings while on campus anytime you are in common areas and public spaces, or are around other people. Face coverings will be provided to students upon residence hall check-in and are available from MIT Police in Lobby 7 (MIT ID required).

Details are available on the Campus Operations page.

All community members living in residence halls should practice enhanced personal hygiene habits and physical distancing at all times.

Housing & Residential Services is cleaning on-campus residence halls with increased frequency, utilizing cleaning standards established by the CDC and MIT, and concentrating on public areas with high foot traffic and high-touch surfaces. Hand sanitizer dispensers have been installed at residence hall entrances. Learn more about cleaning protocols and personal hygiene in the Campus Guide.

All undergraduates living on campus will be required to purchase a 14-meal-per-week meal plan. To defray the cost, all undergraduates living on campus will receive a Covid subsidy of $984 for the fall term meal plan, bringing the total cost of $2,468 down to $1,484. So that students can supplement the 14-meals-per-week plan, the dining allowance offered in the financial aid award calculation will be $2,500 per semester, giving students additional financial flexibility and choice.

Dining service will offer a combination of take-out and sit-down, depending on the availability of seating in the residential dining halls, the Student Center’s Lobdell Dining Hall, and some house common spaces. If you choose to eat in the dining halls, you will be required to maintain proper physical distancing and wear face coverings except while at your table.

TechMart, MIT’s at-cost grocery, will relocate to the Student Center in August. At this time, Dunkin’ and the Cambridge Grill are the only retail eateries expected to reopen in the building. The retail eatery Pacific Street Cafe is also expected to reopen. Dining facilities and retail eateries are available only to community members granted access to specific campus buildings.

In order to provide the safest experience possible, DAPER is following federal, state, local, and MIT Medical health and safety guidelines. Only students with access to campus and in the Covid Pass system will be able to access DAPER facilities. The following facilities will be open this fall:

  • Zesiger Center
  • Johnson Athletic Center
  • Alumni Pool/Wang Fitness Center
  • DuPont Tennis Courts
  • J.B. Carr Tennis Bubble
  • Steinbrenner Stadium
  • Jack Barry Field
  • Sailing Pavilion
  • Sherie and Don (1961) Morrison Track
  • DuPont Gym

The hours of operation are subject to change. Visit the MIT Recreation website for the most up-to-date information, including guidelines for visiting the facilities.

Virtual fitness classes will remain free for all members of the MIT community. To register, visit the MIT Group Exercise webpage and select the class you wish to attend. If you are not on campus, you can also visit this webage to learn more about how you can register as a guest.

Note: Registration for a class can only take place within 48 hours of that class’s start time. In-person classes are limited to a maximum of 11 participants, and all participants must pre-register to attend.

DAPER will offer live and recorded online options for students to complete the coursework needed to fulfill their Physical Education and Wellness General Institute Requirement, including the swim test.

Club sports and intramurals will be available in the fall semester only to MIT students (both undergraduate and graduate) who are invited back to campus. All related travel and competition has been canceled for the fall semester. Visit the Club Sports and Intramurals websites for updated information.

No, but the Campus Activities Complex, in consultation with student leaders from the Association of Student Activities, the Graduate Student Council, and the Undergraduate Association, are working on an approach that will enable student groups to function in ways that follow public health guidelines and MIT policies including the option to gather outdoors. More information about student groups and activities is available in the Campus Guide.

Student groups may be able to request access to their offices and storage to get specific items needed for their operations. However, the spaces may not be used for meetings or events.

The process for requesting access to student group offices and storage will be managed through the Engage system.

No. Research suggests that the risk of spreading the virus may be elevated when people sing, speak loudly, or engage in close-contact physical activity like dancing. As a result, no music, dance, or theatrical performances will be allowed on campus.

Yes. If you would like to speak with a chaplain, email askachaplain@mit.edu and include brief information about the support you are seeking from the Office of Religious, Spiritual, and Ethical Life (ORSEL). An ORSEL staff member will connect you with a chaplain as soon as possible.

No. The MIT Chapel, Religious Life Center (W11), and Walker Memorial quiet space will not be available to use for personal prayer and reflection this fall. We encourage students to pack and bring what they need to conduct religious practices in their rooms. If you need any assistance, do not hesitate to contact us at askachaplain@mit.edu.

In the midst of Covid-19, the Office of Multicultural Programs is working hard to create a virtual presence that allows students to find community, learn about available resources, discuss hot topics, and interact with your peers.

Visit LBGTQ+ Services and the Office of Multicultural Programs (OMP) for more information on virtual events and offerings.

Student Support Services has virtualized academic support resources for all students, whether they live on or off campus. These online resources will remain available throughout the academic year.

Academics

These FAQ, organized by topic, are here to provide answers for many of your more specific questions related to your academic experience at MIT.

Registration Day for fall 2020 will take place on Monday, August 31, with classes for all students starting Tuesday, September 1. The semester will consist of fourteen calendar weeks, plus a four-day reading period:

  • The first week of classes (September 1-7), will be delivered remotely to enable returning students to test for Covid-19 and to quarantine.
  • Selected in-person classes will be conducted on campus beginning Tuesday, September 8.
  • Thanksgiving break will begin on Saturday, November 21, and will continue through Sunday, November 29. Undergraduates living on campus will be expected to depart for the remainder of the semester the weekend before Thanksgiving.
  • Classes will resume remotely for all graduate and undergraduate students on Monday, November 30, and continue through the last day of classes on Wednesday, December 9.
  • Final exams will follow a four-day reading period. All exams will be remote and will take place December 14-18.

See the academic calendar for additional details.

Our current plan is for IAP 2021 to be remote, though there may be some variations by program.

The full schedule of courses, including an indication of those that will be taught online and those with in-person elements, is available on the MIT Subject Listing & Schedule website.

Pre-registration for all continuing students opened on Monday, July 20. The deadline to complete pre-registration is Friday, August 14. The deadline for continuing students to select preferences for fall CI-H/CI-HW subjects was Friday, July 31.

For MIT students 
MIT undergraduates will be allowed to cross-register for remote classes at Harvard and Wellesley during the fall term. Students should review the instructions and deadlines specific to each institution.

For non-MIT students
Cross-registration opportunities will be available during the fall semester for remote classes only. Instructors will also have the discretion to refuse cross-registration requests if they cause an undue burden on class availability and capacity.

For more information, visit the Registrar’s Office website.

For the fall semester, a letter grading system with extra flexibility will be in effect with the following key features:

  • Awarded grades include, A, B, C, D/NE, and F/NE.
  • NE indicates that no record will appear on the external transcript.
  • Students assigned a grade of D/NE will have the option of electing to accept a grade of D, since that may be desired in order to fulfill a requirement for graduation.
  • Students may elect to have one subject graded PE/NE in the fall semester.
  • First-year undergraduate students will be graded on the normal P/NR (pass/no record) basis for all subjects in the fall semester.
  • Safety nets with regard to grading and other measures to mitigate the effects of the pandemic will also be put into place.

Learn more about our grading policy

The Orientation student schedule will be available via the Guidebook mobile app after August 1.

If students have any questions, email the Orientation Office, or call 617-253-6772. We are available 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Faculty and departments across MIT have worked throughout the summer to create and develop MIT-quality remote learning experiences. They are backed up by the pedagogical expertise of our Teaching and Learning Lab team, by the digital learning expertise of the Office of Open Learning, and by Digital Learning Lab fellows in many departments.

Goals for first-year students remain the same as previous incoming classes:

  • Help students find and nurture diverse and supportive sub-communities of students, staff, and faculty.
  • Help students develop lasting habits and mindsets of citizenship, ethics, and inclusion.
  • Cultivate students’ love of learning and teach them the skills to learn effectively on their own and with their peers.

All undergraduates, remote or on campus, will have the opportunity for a paid UROP, teaching opportunity, or public service opportunity through the PKG Center. For more information, visit the Experiential Learning Opportunities website.

  • These experiential learning opportunities will be available to every undergraduate student through programs such as UROP, MISTI, PKG, Open Learning, or Sandbox, and will offer a stipend of up to $1,900.
  • This opportunity is guaranteed is for one semester, but that does not prevent students from earning more in that semester or engaging in more than one experiential learning opportunity.

Undergraduates who live on campus in the fall may take advantage of in-person UROPs if the research project meets all safety and public health requirements, can be conducted within the confines of MIT’s limited campus space constraints, and has approval from the faculty sponsor/PI. Remote UROPs will also be an option for students living on or off campus.

MIT has also developed guidance on remote making to help students make things safely while away from MIT’s campus.

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

Students should talk to the instructional team and/or the department academic administrator to request appropriate academic accommodations. 

Faculty and instructors are committed to ensuring that they are accessible at multiple time frames, and students will be able to access course content asynchronously.

MIT will loan Wi-Fi hotspots and computing equipment, including laptops, to those who need them. Technical support is available to all 24/7 by phone or email.

Additionally, to support collaboration and small group problem solving that can be critical to many aspects of student learning and community building, MIT will loan a cellular-enabled Apple iPad and Apple Pencil to any undergraduate student or graduate TA who does not already have one or who wishes to upgrade their own equipment.

The International Students Office (ISO) and the International Scholars Office have up-to-date information concerning travel restrictions and visas. The ISO will work with each student eligible to enter the U.S. to coordinate the necessary visa documentation for arrival to campus, regardless of delayed arrival for the start of the semester or if arrival to campus is in the spring 2021 semester. International students with questions should consult ISO updates for additional guidance or contact their ISO advisor.

Additional resources