Important COVID-19 policy changes set for February
- Further relaxation this month of COVID policies reflects efforts to guide MIT back to normal operations as conditions continue to improve.
- Starting tomorrow, February 10, food and drinks will once again be allowed at MIT-sponsored gatherings, events, and meetings. On February 14, seating in dining halls will return to full capacity.
- Effective tomorrow, fully vaccinated instructors and presenters will be allowed to remove their masks when speaking during MIT classes or events.
- Beginning February 21, students, residents, and those with vaccine exemptions will be required to test for COVID only once per week.
- Also on February 21, regular testing for all other MIT community members in Covid Pass will become optional. Anyone who reports symptoms or reports being a close contact in Covid Pass will be required to test.
- Indoor masking remains required, per City of Cambridge policy, and daily health attestations will continue for those accessing campus.
To the members of the MIT community,
We write to share several updates to COVID-19 policies that reflect our efforts to guide MIT back to normal operations as conditions continue to improve. These changes will be implemented in phases over the coming weeks so that our community can prepare for them, and so that we can evaluate and make adjustments if necessary.
We are able to take these steps because of the strong protections provided by the Institute’s vaccination and booster and face-covering policies. These policy updates also respond to the continued decline of COVID-19 cases both in Massachusetts and on our campus; the mild symptoms experienced by most fully vaccinated individuals who do test positive; and the need to promote healthy social interactions and connections in our community.
Indeed, we aim with these policy changes to balance the concerns of those in our community who are most vulnerable to COVID with the need to protect the mental health of our entire community. That’s because, as a member of our faculty recently noted, health is more than just the absence of COVID.
What’s changing in the next week:
- Food at gatherings, events, and meetings: Beginning tomorrow, February 10, food and drinks will once again be allowed at MIT-sponsored gatherings, events, and meetings, both on and off campus. Please note that room occupancy remains unrestricted, including when food and drink are consumed.
- Dining hall capacity and retail dining options: Seating in MIT residential dining halls will return to full capacity on February 14. Retail dining locations have either reopened or are in the process of reopening: Hayden Courtyard Cafe in Building 14 and the Koch Cafe in Building 76 are open, and Bosworth’s Cafe in Lobby 7 and Steam Cafe in Building 7 will reopen on February 14.
- Masking exemptions: Beginning tomorrow, we will reinstate a policy that had been in place last year, allowing fully vaccinated instructors and presenters to remove their masks when speaking during MIT classes or events, provided everyone else in the room is masked. Please read the full policy for additional details.
- Spectators at athletic events: Indoor athletic events, which had been limited to those in Covid Pass, will once again also be open to all individuals with a Tim Ticket starting tomorrow.
What’s changing as of February 21:
- Once-per-week testing for students, residents, and the unvaccinated: Students and residents in MIT residence halls and FSILGs will soon be required to submit COVID tests once per week, rather than twice per week, in order to access campus buildings. Community members who are not vaccinated but who have approved exemptions will still be required to test once per week.
- On-demand testing for all others: Regular COVID testing will no longer be required for all others. However, community members in Covid Pass who are symptomatic, or who believe they may have been exposed to the virus, must report their symptoms or exposure in Covid Pass, and then test as directed. COVID testing operations will continue to remain open and operational for eligible Covid Pass members who would like to test.
What’s not changing for now:
- Indoor masking: MIT must continue to comply with the City of Cambridge’s indoor masking requirements. If and when the local rules are relaxed, we expect we will update our Institute policies to reflect Cambridge policy. Wearing a high-quality mask is the best way to protect yourself and others from the virus.
- Visitors: Visitors remain welcome on campus, and can be escorted by an MIT Covid Pass holder or invited by Tim Ticket.
- Daily health attestations: All MIT community members will continue to be required to complete daily health attestations in order to access campus buildings.
- 90-day testing exemptions: Individuals who have tested positive for COVID in the last 90 days will remain exempt from our testing program.
Thank you for your attention to these important policy changes. We are grateful for all that you have done – and continue to do – for MIT. Your enduring dedication to our community makes us hopeful for the spring semester.
Ramona Allen, Vice President for Human Resources
Suzy Nelson, Vice Chancellor and Dean for Student Life
Melissa Nobles, Chancellor
Martin A. Schmidt, Provost
Glen Shor, Executive Vice President and Treasurer
Cecilia Stuopis, MD, Medical Director, MIT Medical
Ian A. Waitz, Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate and Graduate Education
Maria T. Zuber, Vice President for Research