DAPER facilities update [Posted to MIT Covid-19 website]

April 03, 2020

Dear colleagues,

DAPER is announcing significant changes to outdoor facilities access that will go into effect today, April 3. We understand DAPER spaces provide options for exercise and other healthy activities. However, because people have not been following public health guidance about social distancing, MIT and DAPER have decided to close several outdoor athletic and recreation facilities. These steps will help safeguard community members against the spread of Covid-19 due to close contact. The message below will be posted to DAPER's website and shared with stakeholders to let them know that our outdoor facilities are and will remain closed.

Many outdoor spaces on and around campus, such as Killian Court and the pathway along the river, remain open for running, walking dogs, and other activities. Please keep in mind that visitors to these spaces should maintain at least six feet of distance between themselves and others at all times.

For MIT Community members who walk across the fields to reach other parts of campus, DAPER will keep open some access points on Vassar Street and Amherst Alley. That said, the main gates to Steinbrenner Stadium will be locked, and the tennis nets and soccer goals will be removed. We encourage everyone in the MIT community to follow the guidelines put forth by Governor Charlie Baker and to practice these three ways of protecting yourself and others from Covid-19 published on MIT Medical's website.

We will continue to monitor our outdoor spaces, and if individuals don't comply with public health directives, MIT and DAPER may need to take further action to limit the potential for Covid-19 to spread on our campus. Though this decision may be difficult for some community members, it is in the best interest of our students, faculty, and staff who remain on campus during this unprecedented public health crisis.

Please reach out to Anthony if you have any questions.

Best,

Suzy M. Nelson, Vice President and Dean for Student Life
Anthony G. Grant, Director of Athletics

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Cambridge, Mass. (April 3) -- MIT's Department of Athletics, Physical Education, and Recreation (DAPER) took additional steps to safeguard against the spread of Covid-19 today by closing several outdoor facilities where people have been seen engaging in sports and other activities that violate public health guidelines about social distancing. The facilities include Steinbrenner Stadium, Roberts Field, Jack Barry Field, and the DuPont Tennis Courts. The Briggs Softball Field and the Fran O'Brien Baseball Field closed to the public in March.

"We have a responsibility to abide by public health directives intended to curtail the spread of Covid-19," said G. Anthony Grant, Ph.D., athletic director and department head of DAPER. "Closing these outdoor facilities today reinforces the need to refrain from group activities such as soccer and tennis, and to practice social distancing instead, which is one of the best defenses against spreading the virus."

Other outdoor spaces such as Killian Court remain open, though visitors should maintain at least six feet of distance between themselves and others at all times. "There are still many places on and around campus where community members can run, walk dogs, and engage in other exercises that don't put themselves or anyone else at risk of infection," Grant added.

As the situation unfolds in the coming weeks, DAPER may further adjust its operations to support MIT's pandemic response plans.

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