Update on Covid-19 housing exception process

March 15, 2020

To the members of the MIT community,

We know that this is a challenging, disruptive time for the MIT community, and we want to reiterate that we are all in this together. We also know that there is interest in the exception process we established for undergraduate students seeking to remain in on-campus housing during the global COVID-19 pandemic. We prepared these FAQs so that you have the latest information about our approach to, and the outcome of, the review process.

We hope you will read the FAQs but here are the points that we think are the most salient:

  • Our actions have been and will continue to be informed by our dedication to protecting the health of the individuals we have a responsibility to care for. That means not only the students who reside in our residences but also the residential life, student support, housing, and facilities staff entrusted with providing them the services upon which they depend.
  • The COVID-19 Exception Review Team was made up of professionals from across the Division of Student Life, the Office of the Vice Chancellor, and MIT Information & Systems Technology. They have extensive experience in supporting students and crisis management. Every day at MIT, many of them respond to student issues related to accommodations, mental health needs, financial hardship, visas, and urgent concerns.
  • When conducting reviews, the team relied on the interconnected principles of showing compassion for students and meeting our responsibility to limit the spread of the virus by limiting the number of people living in confined, shared spaces.
  • The team has completed their review of roughly 700 submissions from undergraduates for either financial assistance to leave, requests to remain in on-campus housing, or other questions:
    • About 260 of the individuals who contacted us ultimately left campus, and many of them requested and received financial assistance with moving. The financial support we offered these students is in addition to the substantial moving and travel reimbursements we are offering all undergraduate students who relocate off campus.
    • Just over 400 undergraduates received approval to stay in on-campus emergency housing (about 40 of these students are staying for two weeks or fewer). We are observing students changing their minds so the total number of students in emergency on-campus housing will be significantly lower than the initial number approved.
    • About 30 undergraduates did not receive approval because they did not meet the criteria we established at the outset of this process.
    • We set up an appeal process for these students, and only a small number of appeal requests were submitted. The vast majority of appeals included new information meeting the criteria so these requests have been approved.
       

We hope the information shared above and in the FAQs helps to better inform campus conversations about our work to support students and to protect everyone’s health and safety. The Exception Review Team worked around-the-clock to be there for our students and for our entire community, and we are profoundly grateful for their dedication, care, and good judgment.

Sincerely,

Cynthia Barnhart, Chancellor
Suzy M. Nelson, Vice President and Dean for Student Life
Ian A. Waitz, Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate and Graduate Education