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COVID-19 Updates

This page will contain links and descriptions for information relevant to MIT graduate students during the COVID-19 crisis. This will include updates on the ongoing discussions about housing, research ramp-up and teaching, as well as opportunities for grad students to get involved.

For a birds-eye view of important policies enacted for grad students until now, see MIT’s COVID-19 Information Center. As another possible jumping-off point, see Chancellor Barnhart’s “Safe, gradual return to campus for graduate students” letter.

 

Ways to get involved

A recent letter from President Reif outlined the various ways the campus is gathering input from stakeholders to plan our course through the remainder of the COVID-19 crisis.

MIT team problem solving efforts

Here we post community-based problem solving initiatives to respond to COVID-19. Updated Sundays. This began with town halls and community “charrettes” in late Spring 2020. Current events:

  • Latin America vs COVID-19: Join us for the Latin America vs. COVID-19 virtual hackathon, a 48-hour event to build solutions that address the most pressing issues of the COVID-19 crisis in Latin America. 

Relevant Institute Committees

Here we place the Institute committee and adjacent positions where you can chart MIT’s course through COVID-19. Fill out this form to apply to any Institute Representative position.

Student Solutions Group:

This is a new portal through which students (grad and undergrad) can enter into the campus’ conversations about adapting to the challenges of the COVID-19 era. 

In an effort to keep our community safe while we return to work (and perhaps later, classes), MIT is creating the MIT COVID-19 Response System (MCRS), a collaboration between researchers on campus and at the MIT Lincoln Laboratory. The MCRS will incorporate, integrate, and visualize campus data to help MIT’s medical and operational leaders make informed decisions with the goal of enabling MIT’s mission while limiting the spread of the virus. The Student Solutions Group will contribute to efforts to advance the response system, but also will be involved in MIT’s COVID-19 efforts more broadly and will promote effective engagement of, and communication with, students.

The SSG will be organized into “wings” which focus on different sets of issues, for example: 

  • Research safety
  • International student support
  • Residential life
  • Campus life
  • Academic policy (grading, degree requirements, etc)
  • Undergrad education

SSG members will be updated on and engaged in conversations about how we adapt as a campus, and drawn into ad hoc COVID-19-related Institute committees based on their stated interests and background.

To join, simply fill out this form.



Legal, Ethical, Equity Committee
The Legal, Ethical and Equity (LEE) Working Group is a committee of MIT’s new Campus and Community Health Management System (CCHMS). CCHMS is tasked with providing data and updated operational procedures in order to enable MIT to safely begin the process of welcoming people back to campus and find ways to thrive through the pandemic. As this will require collecting human-sourced information and data for an operational system (rather than for a research project), the LEE group was set up to provide legal and ethical oversight and ensure the process is equitable across the MIT Community. See their recent LEE committee update.

The committee seeks to add two grad student members to provide critical input. Grad students with leadership or design experience, or relevant domain knowledge in law, ethics, and data science are encouraged to apply through the GSC Institute Committee rep form.


Updates from ongoing discussions

Here we will synthesize materials and updates from recent campus discussions about our ongoing response to COVID-19.

General/Health Guidance

As we meet the challenge of responding to a novel and highly infectious virus, all campus activities should be guided by the current best guidance from our public health professionals.

MassCPR webinars:

Research ramp-up

The past few months, we’ve taken painful but necessary precautions to reduce research activity on campus in order to “flatten the curve” and keep our hospitals from exceeding their capacity. We are now in a position to begin ramping research activities back up, but to preserve everyone’s safety while we do so, we will have to adjust how we operate. Labs will come up with plans for shift work to minimize density of people, and the GSC will work to make sure grad students aren’t placed in situations that feel unsafe. Here is some relevant information:

 

International Students

The pandemic has presented unique challenges to international scholars. Here we will start to gather key pieces of information and resources as they appear.

Graduate housing

Because most graduate housing is apartment-style, it presents a lower public health risk than dorm-style undergrad housing (where many students share a bathroom and floor kitchen). However, these are still dense living situations and the campus continues to follow public health guidance to determine what occupancy is safe. Some grad students who moved out in the spring will be able to return for the summer, i.e. to conduct research. Here are some relevant resources:

Education

Because we have no way to predict the future – for example, when will an effective vaccine be available, and will there be a second wave of infections in the fall? – the campus continues to plan for multiple potential formats for the next academic year.  For more information, see:

Miscellaneous

Past efforts

MIT’s Beat the Pandemic II hackathon series (May 29-31): form teams and take on the most critical unmet needs in the pandemic

Fall 2020:

Event & Meeting

All events...

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