Travelers and Visitors
MIT has extended the suspension of MIT-related international travel for students, faculty, postdocs, and staff until further notice. MIT-related domestic travel also remains suspended for most travelers.
MIT-related travel is defined as:
- Funded entirely or in part by MIT sources.
- Organized primarily by MIT (e.g., MIT selects the participants).
- Conducted at the behest of MIT or in furtherance of MIT objectives.
- Related to scholarly activities, whether paid by MIT or not.
- Requires the use of MIT equipment, supplies, or personnel.
Local travel – which is permitted so long as it complies with Massachusetts Covid guidelines – is defined as travel in the six New England states: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont. Personal domestic travel outside of New England and personal international travel are strongly discouraged.
The decision to extend the suspension of most MIT-related travel resulted from a process that included recommendations from an ad-hoc committee of faculty and staff; community feedback from students, staff, and faculty; and input from MIT Medical and MIT Emergency Management Services. The final policy was adopted by MIT’s senior administration. Exceptions may be made for some travelers under certain circumstances; complete details, including protocols for returning to campus, are provided below.
Please note that this travel guidance is supplemental to existing, normal Institute travel policies and is subject to change at any time based on local, national, and/or global public health conditions and governmental restrictions.
Guidance for all travelers
All MIT travelers are asked to adhere to the following guidelines:
- Travelers should abide by local governmental guidelines and U.S. State Department guidelinesand take appropriate precautions.
- MIT-related local travel (within New England) is permitted so long as it is in keeping with the current Covid guidelines from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
- Non-local travelers must adhere to post-travel protocols upon return to campus:
- Student travelers living in MIT housing must be tested for Covid-19 as soon as they return to campus, quarantine for seven days, and then be tested a second time with a negative result.
- All other travelers must quarantine for seven days and then be tested for Covid-19 with a negative result.
- Returning travelers should check the operating hours for MIT Medical and complete the daily Covid Pass attestation prior to arriving at MIT Medical for the test.
- All community members must register their MIT-related domestic and international travel in the MIT Travel Registry prior to departure.
- For individuals with regular access to MIT’s campus, personal travel must also be registered.
- Whenever possible/allowable, all MIT-related travel should be booked through booked through MIT’s preferred provider, the Travel Collaborative (domestic and international booking).
All MIT-related undergraduate student travel is suspended until further notice. This includes both domestic and international travel. No exceptions will be made.
All MIT-related graduate student travel is suspended until further notice. This includes both domestic and international travel. Exceptions may be made for essential domestic and international travel. The exceptions process requires endorsement from the student’s PI or advisor and DLC head, a risk review by the High-Risk Travel Committee, and approval by the vice chancellor.
These restrictions may not apply to students who are local to specific programs (e.g., international students already living abroad who wish to participate in an education abroad program); these cases would need to be evaluated before MIT endorses participation.
Administrative staff travel
All MIT-related staff travel is suspended until further notice. This includes both domestic and international travel. Exceptions may be made for essential domestic and international travel. The exceptions process requires endorsement from the staff member’s direct supervisor, a risk review by the High-Risk Travel Committee, and approval by the relevant Academic Council member.
Faculty, research staff, and postdoc travel
All MIT-related domestic travel is strongly discouraged. All MIT-related international travel is suspended until further notice unless one of the following criteria is met:
- The traveler will be staying abroad for 30 days or more.
- The traveler is working remotely 100 percent of the time and has no immediate plans to return to campus.
If neither of those criteria is met, exceptions may be made for essential international travel with the endorsement of the relevant PI or department head, a risk review by the High-Risk Travel Committee, and the approval of the Deans’ Council and vice president for research.
High-Risk Travel Committee
MIT’s High-Risk Travel Committee reviews all exception requests and provides a recommendation to the appropriate decision-maker(s). Committee members bring a depth and breadth of expertise in the areas of risk management, international programming, medicine, and public health.
The committee includes Sarah Brown (risk and insurance analyst, Insurance Office), Andrea Finnin (Emergency Management), Griselda Gomez (managing director, MISTI-Mexico and MISTI assistant director, student health and safety), Todd Holmes (program manager, International Safety and Security), Alison Hynd (assistant dean, PKG Center), Colleen McDonald (associate chief of nursing and nurse practitioner, MIT Medical), and Robin Lemp (director, Office of the Provost).
Exceptions process for essential travel
Exceptions may be made in the case of essential travel for all travelers except for undergraduates (as noted above).
Essential travel is defined as travel that:
- Advances critical research in the national or global interest.
- Preserves the continuity of research that cannot be repeated, replaced, performed remotely or by proxy, or that is necessary to preserve the safety/well-being of research subjects.
- Supports a critical MIT research, educational, or administrative/operational function that cannot be deferred or accomplished remotely.
- For graduate students, maintains progress toward academic degree and that cannot be postponed, replaced, or accomplished remotely or by proxy.
Individuals with essential travel needs must apply for an exception. Requests with the required endorsements will be reviewed by the MIT High-Risk Travel Committee and then forwarded to the appropriate individual or group for a final decision.
Visitor policy through Fall 2020
The physical campus is an asset that must be allocated in a way that best supports MIT’s mission while adhering to our principles and values. Decisions about who should have access to the physical MIT campus will be based on need in the context of accomplishing our mission, and will be grounded in principles of safety, equity, and transparency, as outlined by the Guiding Principles for MIT’s Campus Planning and Operations Amid the Covid-19 Pandemic of the Legal-Ethical-Equity (LEE) committee. During Covid-19 phased recovery, MIT’s first priority is to enable our faculty, staff, postdocs, and students to have increased access to the MIT campus in order to pursue their educational, research, and operational support activities as safely as possible. To maintain low building density to allow this to happen, visitor access to campus will be significantly limited and discouraged through the end of the calendar year 2020. This document addresses in-person visitor access to campus, but engagement should be conducted virtually whenever possible.
Campus visitors, for purposes of this document, are defined as individuals who do not have an MIT appointment and who come to campus to conduct specific activities on a temporary basis. For questions regarding appointments of visiting faculty, scholars, and students, please see the Research Visitor Guidelines.
Access policy to the MIT campus applies to Institute-owned and Institute-leased properties, and Institute off-campus (OC) properties including Bates Research and Engineering Center and MIT Haystack Observatory. 1
Visitors may be vital to performing essential campus functions including in academic, research, residential life, construction, and health and safety operations, or may need access to essential services provided by MIT. As such, exceptions for campus access are limited to the following visitor categories:
Requests for exceptions to grant access for any other visitor category should be submitted by the DLC who seeks to serve as sponsor of such a visitor, and will be triaged by Institute Events by emailing email@example.com.
MIT requires that all campus visitors can confirm verification of testing through their employers. MIT Medical may not be positioned to provide testing for those potential campus visitors whose employers do not require, include, or share testing frequency in their current work practices. For this reason, approved campus access for the campus visitors listed in this policy first requires MIT agreement of testing verification. If the potential campus visitor’s employer does not test its employees, and MIT Medical confirms that testing is required of the campus visit but is not positioned to provide such testing for any number of reasons during the pandemic response, the campus visit will not be approved.
All MIT departments, labs, and centers seeking to sponsor such approved visits are informed separately on that internal process, which utilizes MIT Covid Access/Pass.
1 MIT Lincoln Laboratory, MIT Endicott House, and MIT’s Washington D.C. Office will follow separate protocols for visitors.
2 Covid-19 protocols to be addressed with addenda to contracts or communications with employers (OGC to coordinate with VPF and Facilities)
3 Note that some MIT-contracted service providers have MIT Kerberos & ID cards predating Covid-19, and will be processed as visitors during the pandemic response on the MIT campus.
4 MITemps and affiliates should not be included as part of the research ramp-up planning.