Responding swiftly to unauthorized weekend gatherings

March 01, 2021

Dear students,

We are writing to make you aware that the pod programs in Baker, Maseeh, and New Vassar residence halls were temporarily paused earlier today. The heads of house and area directors wrote to their respective communities, noting that these steps are being taken following reports of unauthorized weekend gatherings both on and off campus that allegedly involved some of their residents, and because we now need time to complete contact tracing and determine if there is any possible spread of COVID-19.

It’s our hope that these measures will only be in place for a brief period. We implemented them to safeguard our community’s health, and we are telling all undergraduates about this situation for these key reasons:

  1. We wanted you to hear directly from us about what motivated these actions.
  2. We have had over 50 students involved in gatherings, or who are pod members of those who were involved in gatherings, and we need time to conduct contact tracing and understand the implications for community health.
  3. It’s been less than one week since Q-Week ended, and there’s a long weekend coming up. We want to make sure that what is happening on other campuses right now doesn’t happen at MIT. Failure to adhere to campus COVID-19 rules and policies can have a serious impact on the entire community, as the virus spreads exponentially. A misstep by a few people can result in many more being adversely impacted.
  4. Most importantly, positive peer-to-peer influence is one of the best ways to persuade students to follow the rules. We appreciate that the majority of students are abiding by MIT’s public health policies, and modeling this behavior for their friends and peers. Please keep it up!

We hope to see these pod programs in the three halls reinstated as soon as possible. But in order for that to happen, our MIT Medical contact tracers need to get a better handle on this situation. If you have information that can help them better understand what happened last weekend, please email Information shared with MIT Medical is private. You may also make a report to the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards (OSCCS) or the MIT hotline. Please note that the amnesty policy applies to students who share COVID-related information with the OSCCS.

Thank you for taking this matter seriously. If everyone pulls together, curtails unsafe social activities, and follows the rules we have put in place, we can continue to protect our entire community’s well-being.

Suzy and Cecilia

Suzy M. Nelson, Vice President and Dean for Student Life
Cecilia Stuopis, Medical Director, MIT Medical