Get ready for Spring 2022

January 26, 2022

Highlights

  • Testing data are encouraging, but we need to maintain masking, testing, and attesting requirements.
  • If your required pre-departure test is positive for Covid-19, please isolate where you are.
  • Once back, you need to complete a quiet period until you have two negative on-campus PCR tests.
  • Students on campus who test positive for Covid will isolate in their rooms, and their roommates will have rapid antigen tests to help them decide on next steps.
  • Dining hall seating areas will reopen on Saturday, 1/29. For now, food/drink at events and meetings is prohibited – with one notable exception.
  • Non-MIT guests may visit undergraduate residences, but they may not stay overnight.
     

Dear students,

Spring is almost here, and I can’t wait to see MIT bustling with students again. I know this break has been a roller coaster due to rapidly changing pandemic conditions, but MIT testing data suggest that the recent Omicron-driven case surge is subsiding.

Our primary aim for spring 2022 remains to pursue our education and research missions as fully as possible. As you prepare to get back to MIT life, I am writing to remind you of some important policies and protocols that will help us manage the semester’s start. If pandemic conditions improve, as we all hope, MIT will update policies accordingly.

***

Before You Depart For Campus

If you’re not already on campus, please make sure to do the following before beginning your trip back to Cambridge:

Submit proof of your Covid booster shot. You are required to submit proof of a Covid booster shot at covidvaccine.mit.edu unless you were granted a medical or religious exception. Questions? Email vaccine-requirement@mit.edu or take advantage of one of the walk-in booster clinics at MIT Medical between January 27 (tomorrow) and February 1.

Pack your personal isolation kit. Bring a 10-day supply of any prescription medications you take as well as preferred non-prescription cold-fighting medications and pain killers/fever reducers. Include personal care items (e.g., tissues, cough drops), favorite snacks, and anything you’ll need to be comfortable in case you test positive for Covid and have to isolate for five to 10 days.

Test before departing for campus. All undergraduate students who live in an MIT residence hall or FSILG and who have not tested positive for Covid in the past 90 days are required to test before returning to campus for the spring semester. Please follow these instructions, which were also emailed to you by MIT Medical on December 23. If you’re having difficulty getting tested, email covidapps-help@mit.edu.

NOTE: If your pre-arrival test comes back positive for Covid, do not travel to campus. You must complete your 5-to-10-day isolation period from your off-campus location. Contact Student Support Services if you need academic support.

***

When You’re Back On Campus

MIT is monitoring local, state, and federal trends and guidance closely, and we are hopeful that we will be able to relax these policies over the course of the semester.

Wear face-coverings. Make sure you are wearing a well-fitting, high-quality mask, except when you are alone in an enclosed space, actively eating or drinking, or with roommates or suitemates with the door to your space closed. Suitable masks are available at residence hall front desks, Covid Pass testing and drop-off locations, and from FSILG student leaders.

Complete the quiet period. Whether you’re in an undergraduate residence hall or FSILG, please keep to your room until you have received two negative on-campus test results (one upon arrival and one 3-4 days later, on your cadence). During the quiet period, you may attend classes and labs, take care of other essential needs (like getting food or cooking for yourself), get packages or deliveries from your residence’s designated drop-off spot, and exercise, all while wearing a high-quality mask. However, please avoid student-led events and gatherings.

Continue testing, attesting, and reporting symptoms. For now, off-campus students who access MIT facilities, and all on-campus residents, will continue to test twice a week on their usual cadence (make sure testing is open before you go to the MIT Medical trailer or a test drop-off location). Also, you are still required to attest daily and report any symptoms using Covid Pass.

Isolate after a positive test. If you get a positive result from a Covid Pass PCR test or an at-home antigen test, return to your room immediately and stay there. Complete this form right away, then watch for an email containing tips on treating symptoms and preventing the virus from spreading to others, as well as medical contact information should your symptoms get worse and you need to seek assistance. That email will link you to a website with all the information you need for isolating, including where students isolating in residence halls can get grab-and-go meals (see below for more on food and dining). For additional information regarding isolation, including if a roommate tests positive for Covid, please visit this helpful resource page.

Do a rapid antigen test if your roommate tests positive. Students in multi-occupancy rooms on campus will receive kits containing two rapid antigen tests in their mailboxes. FSILG residents can obtain tests from their chapter officers. The tests are for use only to help a student weigh possible next steps if their roommate tests positive for Covid – they may decide to stay in their room, move to another space in a residence hall or FSILG (if available), or move to a safe off-campus location while their roommate completes the isolation period. Students can contact covid-support@mit.edu to talk through their decision if they are unsure or want to request a temporary move. The relocating student can decide to move back at any time during the five- to 10-day period, but they will be required to return and isolate in their room if they subsequently test positive for Covid.

Getting food. Dining hall seating areas will reopen on Saturday, January 29. Students living in residences with dining facilities should get food from their dining hall and take it back to their room during the quiet period. FSILG residents can get food from their kitchens and should follow their chapter’s quiet period guidelines. Students living in campus residence halls and FSILGs who test positive may not cook for themselves during their isolation. Grab-and-go meals will be available for students isolating in residence halls to pick up and to take to their room from a designated spot in their residence. FSILG residents should check with their chapter leaders about their house’s isolation protocols. Please also see this guidance on eating indoors.

For now, don’t consume food and drink at events or meetings. Remember that serving or consuming food and/or drink at events or meetings remains prohibited, including grab-and-go service. We expect to ease this restriction as Covid conditions continue to improve. This policy does not apply to small, living community-sponsored events (e.g., study breaks) with 10 or fewer participants, which can serve grab-and-go food.

Non-MIT overnight guests in undergraduate housing are prohibited. The policy on guests remains in effect. However, non-MIT guests may not stay overnight in FSILGs or on-campus undergraduate residence halls.

***

The Outlook For Spring

We all hope that Covid will subside and MIT can start to ease pandemic-era practices and policies. I’m optimistic that’s what will happen. But the pandemic has taught us that we need to be ready for rapid course corrections as conditions change.

This has not been an easy time for anyone – MIT students, employees, and our loved ones have all been affected by the pandemic. However, vaccines, boosters, testing, and high-quality masks have put us in a much better position to manage what comes our way. With better weather ahead, I hope our community will reconnect outdoors and start returning to the MIT we all know and love. Thank you, as always, for doing your part. I look forward to seeing you soon.

Best,
Suzy

Suzy M. Nelson, Vice President and Dean for Student Life