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COVID-19 FAQ

Cleaning and hygiene, physical distancing, and dining
Air quality and ventilation
Commuting and transportation
Campus services

MIT COVID-19 Information

Cleaning and hygiene, physical distancing, and dining

What is the cleaning regimen for common areas in MIT buildings on campus?
As noted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the risk of infection from contaminated surfaces is now thought to be generally low. Accordingly, MIT is maintaining enhanced cleaning protocols for instructional spaces and bathrooms but ramping down those protocols in other spaces across campus. Enhanced cleaning procedures will be phased over the summer.

Updated cleaning procedures are as follows:

  • All high-touch surfaces (handrails, elevator buttons, door handles, etc.) in all common areas on campus (main corridors, main lobbies, elevators, restrooms) are cleaned and disinfected once daily, Monday through Friday High-touch surfaces in instructional spaces and bathrooms are cleaned and disinfected twice daily, Monday through Friday
  • Additional cleaning is conducted in the Stata student street and the Infinite Corridor throughout the day, Monday through Friday.
  • All students, faculty, and staff living and/or working on campus receive routine testing for COVID-19. If an individual tests positive for COVID-19, MIT Medical conducts contact tracing and notifies the Custodial Services team of any spaces on campus that require additional cleaning. In most cases, the regular cleaning of spaces has already occurred and no additional cleaning is required.
  • The Office of the Associate Provost has been in communication with landlords and property managers of leased buildings occupied by MIT staff and has confirmed that they are maintaining protocols for cleaning and hygiene, building access and circulation, and health/safety signage that are consistent with MIT’s current protocols.

Remember to always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after contacting any high-touch surfaces.

Are the health and safety protocols different for researchers working in MIT labs?
If you are working in a lab on campus, please be sure to review the detailed protocols provided on the COVID-19 page of the Office of the Vice President for Research. You should also review the PPE policy statement from EHS.

Will hand sanitizer and wipes be available in common areas?
MIT provides hand sanitizer and/or cleaning wipes at key locations across campus, including at the building entrances and in restrooms. DLCs are responsible for obtaining sanitizer and cleaning supplies. If a wipe station in any of the central MIT locations is empty, please contact the Facilities Customer Service Center to report the location at 617-253-4948, or submit a service request via Atlas.

What is the cleaning guidance for a one-person MIT office or cubicle?
MIT Custodial Services staff will empty trash and vacuum in your personal office or cubicle, but they will not touch your desk, chair, work surfaces, keyboards, monitors, etc. If you would like to wipe down high-touch surfaces in your personal workspace, check with your DLC’s administrative officer about what other cleaning supplies are available for staff in your area. 

What are the health and safety protocols for elevators?
Custodial Services staff will clean and disinfect all elevator surfaces once a day, Monday through Friday.

What are the health and safety protocols for restrooms?
Custodial Services staff will clean and disinfect restrooms twice a day, Monday through Friday. Be sure to wash your hands upon entry and wash hands again upon exit.

What are the health and safety protocols for conference rooms?
Custodial Services staff will clean and disinfect conference rooms once a day, Monday through Friday.

  • Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after using a conference room.

How will MIT clean and disinfect an area that was used by someone diagnosed with COVID-19?
All students, faculty, and staff living and/or working on campus receive routine testing for COVID-19. If an individual tests positive for COVID-19, MIT Medical conducts contact tracing and notifies the Custodial Services team of any spaces on campus that require additional cleaning. In most cases, the regular cleaning of spaces has already occurred and no additional cleaning is required.

Per CDC guidance, anyone who had close contact with that individual (within six feet) for 15 minutes or more will be asked to remain at home for 14 days and self-isolate during that time if they have symptoms. If you have symptoms, call the MIT Medical COVID hotline: 617-253-4865.

I work in a leased building. What is MIT doing to ensure that the property manager is creating a safe working environment within the building?
On behalf of our MIT units located in leased spaces, the Office of the Associate Provost is in communication with landlords and property managers to review their health and safety guidelines and confirm that they are maintaining protocols for cleaning and hygiene, building access and circulation, and health/safety signage that are consistent with MIT’s current protocols.

I am a Facilities employee, and I work on campus every day, sometimes in multiple buildings. Where can I eat lunch?
Eating indoors is now permitted in all campus buildings. MIT continues to encourage those on campus to dine outdoors whenever possible.

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Air quality and ventilation

Has MIT reviewed the ventilation systems across campus?
Yes. Over the past year, dedicated teams from Facilities Engineering, Campus Services, and MIT Environment, Health, and Safety (EHS) have collaborated to assess ventilation systems in academic, research, office, and residential buildings across campus (approximately 450 systems in total). In addition, an outside team of professional engineers specializing in HVAC systems and air systems was engaged throughout the process.

Our goal is to maintain code-compliant indoor air quality and to improve ventilation where practical in accordance with current guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). The ventilation systems in the buildings are designed to circulate and exchange air consistent with building code requirements and consensus industry standards. No specific testing standard related to COVID air safety has been established or is required by public health agencies.

What specific steps have been taken by MIT's ventilation review teams?
The teams have taken the following steps:

  • Increase minimum air flow values and outside air ventilation (unit type permitting)
  • Reset building automation programming to run the central air systems in occupied mode 24/7 to maintain steady ventilation (unit type permitting)
  • Inspect building ventilation systems to maintain readiness for building occupancy
  • Schedule any repairs or adjustments identified during the review of central air systems (all repairs or adjustments will be completed by September 7)
  • Ensure that exhaust fans in restrooms are functional and operating
  • Upgrade systems to high-efficiency MERV 13 filtration if the system can accommodate the upgrade and would benefit from it (ASHRAE recommends this level of high-efficiency filtration; many of MIT's systems are already equipped with MERV 13 filtration, and most of the other systems that could accommodate this filtration level were upgraded)
  • Inspect elevator cabs and confirm systems are operating as designed (elevator cabs are well ventilated); reprogram elevator doors to remain open when standing (unit type permitting)

What do I need to know about the ventilation in my building?
Public health experts point out (and our experience shows) that the primary protections against infection comes from high vaccination rates within the community, regular testing/contact tracing/isolation protocols, and compliance with local face coverings requirements to help prevent person-to-person airborne spread — and all of these primary protections are in place at MIT. Visit the Policies page of the MIT Now website for more information about the safety measures our community follows.

In addition, the buildings on campus that have been reoccupied are part of the collaborative effort to inspect and (if needed) repair or adjust the ventilation systems. If you have a concern about a specific space, contact the Customer Service Center through the link provided below. Please continue wearing a face covering per MIT's current policy; you are also welcome to maintain physical distance from others if that makes you more comfortable.

If I don't feel the air moving around me, or if I hear the air system going off and on, does that mean the ventilation isn't working?
Keep in mind that a space can be ventilated even if you don't feel air movement or a blast of air, and an air handler is working even if the system may sound like it's turning on and off. Each system maintains temperature and air flow by adjusting to outside temperature, changes in room occupancy, and changes in the equipment use within a room. You may hear a system ramp down or ramp back up as it changes fan speeds and adjusts other mechanical components.

If I'm uncomfortable in my work space, does that mean the ventilation isn't working well?
Your discomfort may be due to the temperature or humidity in your work space, and these can be addressed separately from the ventilation. Remember to bring an extra layer if your work space feels cool. Along with wearing a face covering (per current MIT policy), you are also welcome to maintain physical distance from others and/or open doors or windows (if practical) if that increases your comfort level. If you have made adjustments but still feel concerned about whether the ventilation is operating, please contact the Customer Service Center using the link provided below.

Has ventilation been checked in campus bathrooms and elevators?
Yes. All of the bathrooms across campus have been evaluated for proper airflow, and bathroom exhaust and ventilation equipment has been serviced. Elevators by design provide ventilation, and the equipment in each elevator on campus has been checked and verified. Please wear a face covering in bathrooms and elevators per MIT's current policy. In small spaces such as these, you can further mitigate risk by maintaining physical distance from others.

What if I still have a question about ventilation?
We hope we have answered your questions about air quality and ventilation. If you still have a concern, please contact the Customer Service Center.

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Commuting and transportation

I would prefer not to take public transportation to work, but I don't have an MIT parking account. Can I park on campus?
The program to provide free parking for all MIT ID cardholders during the COVID pandemic concluded on June 30, and paid parking has resumed as usual. A parking account is required to park on campus, and you can sign up for one through the MIT parking portal.

I'm returning to campus for the first time. Can I access parking before I get my Covid-19 test and complete my Covid Pass requirements?
Yes, as long as you have an active MIT parking account, you can access parking on campus and then proceed with getting your testing done.

See the Facilities parking pages for more information.

Are the MIT shuttles running on campus?
Yes, the shuttles are running. Due to reduced ridership, most of the shuttle services are running on altered schedules, but we are monitoring shuttle usage and will ramp up the schedules as needed.

More information is available on the Facilities shuttles pages.

What health and safety precautions are in place for MIT shuttles?

  • Face coverings are required for passengers and drivers on the shuttles, regardless of vaccination status.
  • As noted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the risk of infection from contaminated surfaces  is now thought to be generally low. MIT shuttle drivers clean high-touch surfaces at every shift change, and the shuttle vehicles receive a full interior cleaning by an outside company once a week.

Can I still bike to campus and use an indoor storage room for my bike?
If your building has an indoor bike storage room, it continues to be available to anyone approved for access to the building. Use the storage room as responsibly as possible, only touching surfaces as necessary and wiping down surfaces before and after you come in contact with them. Ask your administrative officer for cleaning supplies as needed. Wash your hands thoroughly after leaving the storage room. 

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Campus Services

What changes are being made to campus mail and package delivery?
MIT Mail Services continue to provide services and will assess needs daily and adapt as Institute recommendations require:

  • Collection times on campus are currently limited to once daily, at noontime, Monday through Friday. Mail staff will not pick up from collection boxes in buildings that are closed. Collection schedules are noted on each box. See additional information on the Mail Services page.
  • Currently, Mail Services holds packages and materials for any areas that are closed and not available for deliveries.
  • International mail and package delivery disruptions and delays are common due to COVID-19. Visit the USPS site for information for specific countries.

Are there any changes to services provided by Repair & Maintenance?
Repair and Maintenance staff continue to conduct scheduled and emergency work on campus. Services may be requested via Atlas Service Requests.

Where can I go to create and print signs that are relevant to the spaces that I oversee (e.g., max number of occupants in a break room, break room rules)?
The Department of Facilities has created a suite of signs. You can download, print, and install these signs in your area. Visit the COVID signage template page to download files. Contact the COVID signage team with any questions.

What changes are being made to the Atlas Service Center?
The Atlas Service Center has expanded in-person services for community members and now welcomes walk-in visitors. Center staff are available to assist Monday-Friday, 8:00 AM-6:00 PM, by phone, via email, and in person. In-person pickup of MBTA Commuter Rail and LinkPasses has resumed (view details on the Commuter Connections pages). Visit the Atlas website for details about in-person services that require appointments.

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 RELATED LINKS
 CDC resources
 EHS Office
 MIT COVID-19 website
 MIT Medical COVID-19 updates
 CONTACT INFO

Facilities

Department Directory

Customer Service Center

Office Hours: M - F, 7AM - 3PM
Phone: 617-253-4948
Email: dof-csc@mit.edu

Communications

Monica Lee
Senior Communications Officer

making MIT work accessibility Massachusetts Institute of Technology