Guidance for Graduate Students, Advisors, and Supervisors in Response to COVID-19

March 13, 2020

Dear Graduate Students, Advisors, and Supervisors,

We write to update you on some recent important developments and to provide guidance during this challenging time.

Graduate students who are able to conduct research remotely should make arrangements with their advisors and supervisors to do so. This policy is in accord with those announced for postdocs and research staff and undergraduate researchers. It is based on the current understanding of a rapidly evolving, serious public health concern and is subject to change. The Covid-19 Research Continuity Group and Office of the Vice President for Research are developing resources that offer technical guidance on laboratory operations.

The health and safety of MIT Community members remain our highest priorities.  Minimizing the number of people present on campus enhances health and safety and facilitates the practice of social distancing. MIT Community members should not come to campus if they are feeling ill.

Graduate students will continue to receive stipends whether they are working remotely or on campus.

We recognize that there are cases where conducting research requires one to be present on the MIT campus -- for example, when equipment, instrumentation, or experiments in progress must remain operational in order to ensure safety. At present, graduate students and other researchers may conduct research on campus if necessary, provided that all MIT Environmental Health and Safety policies and procedures are followed. However, all researchers should prepare for the possibility that access to campus may be restricted indefinitely on short notice.

The ongoing guidance to all community members is to practice social distancing and strategies for staying healthy We also recommend that research groups maintain frequent all-team communication, whether on- or off-campus.  Approaches include Slack, group text messages, and scheduling group meetings via WebEx, Skype, or Zoom. For more information see http://teachremote.mit.edu.

Please feel free to send any questions about this announcement to gradresearch@mit.edu.

With very best wishes,

Ian A. Waitz, Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate and Graduate Education
Maria Zuber, Vice President for Research