Time sensitive on-campus research & HR news [Posted to MIT Covid-19 website]

March 14, 2020

Dear colleagues,

We are writing with several timely updates about on-campus research activities and related human resource policies.

Over the last few days, we have sought broad input regarding the operation of on-campus research labs in light of the challenges presented by COVID-19. Peer institutions are responding to the pandemic in a variety of ways. Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) and Medical School, the Ragon, Wyss and Broad Institutes, and Dana Farber Cancer Institute are ramping down all but essential research activities by the middle of next week.

We believe that a ramp down of MIT on-campus research to all but a limited number of critical activities, including the important work to understand and stop the spread of COVID-19, is warranted.

We will be engaging campus research leaders in the next 24 hours regarding the development of contingency plans. We will share guidance tomorrow, and then ask for contingency plans from research PIs by the close of business Monday, March 16. These plans must be able to be put into action no later than Friday, March 20. We have developed guidance to help with these critical action steps: a research lab operation check-list for COVID-19 ramp-down can be found here.

While this ramp-down is occurring, on-campus researchers should practice social distancing and minimize the number of individuals in labs and offices at a given time.

Additionally, in-person meetings are strongly discouraged for the foreseeable future. Human subject research should be limited to analysis of data already collected and researchers must cease work that requires interactions with human subjects.

We know this news raises questions about salary, stipends, teaching responsibilities, and visiting scholars. Please take a moment to read the following updates:

MIT staff and graduate students will continue to receive their normal compensation during a period of curtailed operations. More information.

Graduate Teaching Duties

We are standing up remote teaching for all MIT classes in rapid fashion. We will continue to rely on the exceptional work of our TAs, even more so in transitioning to and supporting this new way of learning.

UROPs

As previously announced all in-person UROPs must end on Sunday, March 15, 2020. A complete FAQ is available.

Graduate Housing (Guidance Remains the Same)

While the request for graduate students to move out is optional, we strongly encourage graduate residents who can arrange another place to live temporarily to seek alternative housing. More information.

Visiting Scholar Policies

The International Scholars Office will, on a best effort basis, work with Departments on processing visas for incoming faculty. ISchO will not accept any new non-faculty visa requests until further notice. Visiting scholars to whom MIT has already issued documents must postpone their start dates indefinitely until further notice. More information.

Thank you for your flexibility in these extremely challenging times. Please direct any questions or suggestions to research-continuity@mit.edu.

Sincerely,

Martin A. Schmidt
Provost

Maria T. Zuber
Vice President for Research

Anthony P. Sharon
Acting Deputy Executive Vice President