COVID-19 Return to Work on Campus Policy

MIT's campus reopening policies for employees are described below.

Under its Emergency Closing policy (Employment Policy Manual Section 5.8), in the case of a pandemic, MIT may announce special leave, pay, and other related policies.  As we all acknowledge, returning to work on campus in this pandemic has risks. As part of the comprehensive measures MIT is taking to manage the risks of returning to on-site work, MIT has established a Return to Work on Campus Policy, effective August 11, 2020. Many parts of this policy have been in effect for those who already returned to work on campus.

As MIT is gradually reopening, the Institute is committed to taking reasonable measures to protect the health and well-being of students, faculty, staff, visitors, and the surrounding community. MIT is following the guidance and advice from the federal, state and local public health officials, the expertise of the Institute’s Medical Department staff, and other medical and public health experts. Based on this advice, MIT may limit or revoke access to its campus and buildings at any time, or take any other measures against its employees or others who fail to comply with this policy.

This policy will remain in effect but the Institute has discretion to make any changes to this policy at any time.

Daily Health Attestation

Employees must complete a health screening questionnaire each day that they come on campus to determine whether they have symptoms that may be associated with COVID-19 as established by the CDC.  Employees will be asked to attest that within the past 14 days, they have not tested positive for COVID-19, and are not aware of coming into close contact  with anyone who they know has COVID-19 symptoms or who has had a positive test for COVID-19. They will also be asked to attest that they have not traveled to another state other than a “lower risk” state as specified in the Commonwealth’s Covid-19 Travel Order, unless they had a negative COVID test since that travel.

Mandatory Reporting and Self-Quarantining

Employees who exhibit symptoms of COVID-19, test positive for COVID-19, or come into close contact with someone who they know has symptoms of COVID-19 or has tested positive for COVID-19, must stay at home, self-quarantine, notify the Occupational Medicine/Student Health Department of MIT Medical at covid_app@med.mit.edu and await further instructions. Employees must cooperate with MIT Medical for all activities necessary to rapidly identify those with whom they may have had close contact, and follow any directions by MIT Medical or public health authorities to quarantine. They must also self-quarantine for 14 days if they have traveled to another state other than a “lower risk” state as specified in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Covid-19 Travel Order, unless they had a negative COVID test since that travel.

Use of Face Mask or Covering

This section updated 10/2/20 in response to the City of Cambridge Mask Order

Appropriate use of a face mask or covering is critical in minimizing risk to others.

A face mask or covering must be worn at all times on the MIT campus while indoors in work and common spaces; common spaces include all public places, such as lobbies, hallways, elevators, stairwells, and restrooms. A face mask or covering must also be worn in outdoor public places, including sidewalks, streets, parks, plazas, bus stops, non-residential parking lots/garages, and any other outdoor area that is open and accessible to the general public. 

The only exceptions to this policy are:

  • When an employee is working alone in a private office or personal space with a closed door.
  • When an employee is eating and drinking;
  • When an employee is communicating with a hearing-impaired person, for which the employee’s mouth needs to be visible;
  • If an employee is unable to wear a face mask or covering due to a health condition.
    • Employees who are unable to wear a face mask or covering due to a health condition must contact the Disability Services and Medical Leaves Office (DSMLO); the employee will not be permitted on campus until a determination is made by DSMLO or unless directed by the Institute.
  • If an employee is in need of medical services that requires the temporary removal of the face mask or covering.

Employees may provide their own face mask or covering or may use a disposable face mask provided by the Institute. Disposable masks must only be worn for one day and then disposed of in the trash. On the basis of published test data, bandanas are not acceptable face coverings because of unacceptably low protection. (Citation in FAQ.)

For more guidance, see the EHS statement on use of gloves, face coverings, and personal protective equipment (PPE).

Social Distancing

In order to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, employees must do the following (in addition to wearing a face mask or covering):

  • Exercise the social distancing practice of staying at least six feet away from others;
  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use an appropriate alcohol-based hand sanitizer (to be provided by MIT);
  • Properly cover the mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing (such as coughing into the arm, or covering mouth with a tissue); and
  • Regularly clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces in their workspace, as directed by their supervisor or manager.

Diagnostic Testing

Employees are required to complete a test for COVID-19 (technically, SARS-CoV-2) to be administered by MIT Medical prior to returning to campus. Employees who fail to complete this test will be denied access to campus buildings. Employees may also be required to undergo additional viral testing as directed by MIT.

Health Monitoring

MIT may seek to perform health monitoring of employees, including, for example, taking the temperature of employees, if MIT determines that such measures are prudent to maintain a safe campus environment.

Privacy and Disclosure of Health Information

MIT will take appropriate measures to ensure the confidential and private nature of the diagnostic testing and health monitoring information it obtains from employees. MIT (including MIT Medical) may, however, share the testing results and health monitoring information with certain MIT community members who have a legitimate need to know this information, including those with whom an employee has been in close contact, and with public health officials.

Access to Buildings

Employees must comply with all instructions and prohibitions in regard to access to buildings and campus locations. Instructions may include restricting access to certain buildings via designated entrances and exits, scanning of the MIT ID at designated access points, and signing in and out when reporting to or leaving campus. Where a building has a designated entrance or exit, employees must not enter, or allow anyone else to enter, the building through any other entrance or exit.

Reporting of Concerns

Anyone who is concerned that others are not abiding by this Return to Work policy is encouraged to raise the issue directly with the individual, or with a supervisor or other manager. Concerns may also be reported anonymously to the MIT hotline. MIT will not retaliate against anyone who raises a concern in good faith about compliance with this Return to Work policy.

MIT has also established an expedited process to address complaints of alleged violations of the Return to Work on Campus policy.

Have Questions?

See MIT Now, HR's COVID-19 FAQ, or contact your Human Resources Officer.