Indoor mask requirement, vaccine deadline, and other fall updates

July 29, 2021

Dear campus residents,

As this message sent earlier clarifies, changes in public health conditions require MIT to rethink some pandemic protocols. Most importantly, face coverings will continue to be required in indoor campus spaces, and effective Monday, August 2, the mask mandate will be reinstated in MIT’s residence halls and FSILGs. There are a few exceptions to the face-covering policy, including for residents when they are alone in residential common areas or alone (or with their roommates, suitemates, spouses/partners, children, or other family members) in their rooms or apartments.

In meetings with faculty, staff, and students this week, we provided a fall update and explained the main reason for this decision, which is highlighted in Professor Peko Hosoi’s analysis on slide 3. We believe that continuing to require people to wear face-coverings indoors--especially during this transition period as many return to campus--is sensible. It also aligns with new face-covering guidance from the City of Cambridge and the CDC, which designated Boston and surrounding Suffolk County as an area of substantial transmission.

We hope this is a temporary measure for the move-in period and the first few weeks of the semester. Taking this step helps us work toward a safer campus for all, allowing time to vaccinate those who were unable to be vaccinated prior to coming to MIT and ensuring that all members of the community are on a regular testing cadence. If you have not yet complied with the Institute’s vaccine policy, it is important that you do so as the deadline is tomorrow, Friday, July 30. Not being in compliance may ultimately result in being unable to register for the fall semester and a loss of access to campus, including campus housing.

While our overall case rates remain low, in recent weeks, there has been an uptick in positive tests on campus, in Massachusetts, and across the country. By wearing a face-covering indoors, we can keep those numbers from rising and create a more welcoming environment for new and returning students without a mandatory quarantine period.

Please keep in mind that pandemic conditions remain fluid, and some of our published Covid information may not immediately reflect the face-covering requirement. We will send all updated student policies for the coming academic year soon--you can also get a sense of our fall outlook on student activities, events and parties, athletics, and FSILG and residential life by reviewing the fall planning presentation referenced above.

As a reminder, all students are welcome to Student Life Conversations, which will be held regularly in August and throughout the fall semester. Working together, we can keep our community healthy, and make the start to this year feel more like the campus we all love.

I’m looking forward to being back on campus soon.

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