Here’s How the World’s No.1 University is Handling the COVID-19 Situation

Published by Afterschool.my on Nov 17, 2020, 04:53 pm

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA is one of the top universities in the world, holding the number one ranking according to The World's Top 100 Universities.

With such a status, we couldn’t help but wonder how MIT has been dealing with the pandemic. How are classes in this prestigious university carried out in the middle of COVID-19? How guaranteed are the students’ health and safety in campus? What measures have MIT taken to control the situation?

Well, here’s what we found out.

Face coverings and physical distance

For precaution reasons, MIT students must wear a face covering at all times when on or in public places, including sidewalks, streets, parks, plazas, bus stops, non-residential parking lots and garages, and any other outdoor area or non-residential parking facility that is open and accessible to the general public.

The students may temporarily remove your face covering if they are alone in a private office or personal space with a closed door, or are in a residence with family members.

Not all students can return to campus

MIT is also curbing the overall traffic in campus by inviting back a limited number of undergraduates for the fall term, only allowing access to undergraduate students on campus to participate in any in-person elements of classes and/or residential life, clubs, and activities, and ensuring that undergraduate students living off campus will not be permitted to enter campus buildings.

To ensure all students, whether learning on campus or remotely, are able to continue making academic progress while prioritizing their safety and the safety of the MIT community, MIT decided on the following precautions:

  • Everyone living or working on campus will be tested as often as twice a week.
  • Each undergraduate living on campus will have a private room.
  • In order to protect community health, the overall campus population – students, faculty, postdocs, and staff – will need to be significantly reduced.

But graduate students CAN

Many current graduate students resumed their research work on campus in June, following rigorous public health rules and protocols.

For new and returning students in the fall, the same rules will apply. In terms of academics, graduate students can expect a combination of online and in-person instruction.

Say hello MIT’s COVID Pass

MIT's COVID Pass is the application MIT community members use to complete requirements for entering the campus buildings they have been approved to access. A mobile version of COVID Pass (MIT Atlas) is available for iOS 13+ and Android 7+.

Individuals approved to work on campus are added into the COVID Pass system by an authorized access approver. For students, only those who are living on campus and graduate students are granted access as part of their research or teaching assistantships or to take in-person classes will have access to MIT facilities (with certain access restrictions) and in-person instruction. But they must always remain physically distant and wear a face covering.

The students must also have their MIT ID visible at all times when accessing campus spaces unless they are inside their residence hall.

As of right now, no MIT-sponsored gatherings or events are permitted away from campus.

Strict indoor and outdoor gathering rules for MIT community

For academic indoor gathering at MIT, students, staff, and faculty who occasionally need quiet space for meetings, interviews or studying may reserve designated indoor spaces.

Several rooms in academic buildings have been designated as “touchdown spaces” for brief use, such as in between on-campus classes. These academic rooms and other large spaces are open for COVID pass holders to use.

All of these indoor resources are on a first-come, first-use basis and are restricted to the posted COVID-modified capacity of the space.

Meanwhile, for academic and instructional outdoor gatherings, up to 25 individuals may gather outdoors for a class or registrar-listed instructional activity, when instructed to do so by an MIT faculty or staff member. For any outdoor class meetings exceeding 10 people, the appropriate faculty or staff member for class instruction must be physically present.

But informal outdoor gatherings are still permitted

Groups of up to 10 MIT COVID Pass holders may gather in designated outdoor courtyard spaces on campus so long as they remain physically distant and wear face coverings. For spaces that can accommodate large gatherings, no more than 25 total individuals are permitted in these spaces, and groups of 10 must have at least 12 feet separating them from other groups.

MIT also provides designated outdoor spaces on West Campus for gatherings of 10 or fewer MIT COVID Pass holders which students can reserve.

As you can see, MIT has shown professional preparation to help the MIT community in handling the pandemic.

Looking at their strategy, we hope the higher education ministry use MIT as reference once education institutions reopen. Until a vaccine is available, universities and colleges should always prepare well in order to handle the situation effortlessly.

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