Dear ML and MAS community,
The updates are coming in fast, and we want to acknowledge the added strain everyone is under trying to rearrange their lives while coping with all these changes. Thank you, all, for your efforts in making rapid progress in shifting as many of your activities to remote as possible. A few more important updates are below:
In his email note last night, dean Hashim Sarkis instructed that all use of E14-E15 offices and facilities must be halted by Tuesday at the latest (but preferably earlier), except for Media Lab Executive Committee-approved exemptions. Exemptions will be granted for certain staff members (e.g. facilities), work related to Covid-19, animal research, and some critical work that involves physical equipment or tools that cannot be moved. ML community members requesting an exemption should fill out this form and we will aim to respond within 24 hrs. If a group is requesting exemption, the group lead should fill out the form, rather than every individual. After midnight on Tuesday March 17, the E14-E15 building complex will no longer be accessible, except via card access for those people who were granted an exemption. Visitors or guests will NOT be permitted entry into the buildings. Arrangements are being made to have all packages delivered to a central Media Lab location and we are figuring out how people will be able to get access to them. We are coordinating with other building occupants (CMS, ACT, CAST, etc) so the same will apply to them. Note also that on Monday and Tuesday building access will require the use of your ID card.
The spring member event will be postponed. We are hitting pause on all filming and planning for a couple of weeks to allow everyone some space to focus on their living and working situations. We will be back in touch with a new plan, but for now just know that there is no April 14 deadline.
The ML COVID-19 FAQ is published. Please take a look for relevant MIT policies and resources, and Media Lab-specific guidance for the next few weeks. It will be updated as new information comes in. We also urge you to visit the MIT and Media Lab Covid-19 websites regularly for additional news and resources such as Zoom license info and building access.
All faculty and supervisors have begun sharing their teams’ plans and points of strain/concern, and we’ve started to meet regularly and share resources and suggestions. The Covid-19 team is available to help triage problems and find solutions.
Finally, we want to remind everyone that ML/MAS leadership wants each of you to have agency in deciding what is best for you, supported by the best available information on risks & best practices. We want you to know that you should not face pressure from your advisor/supervisor or colleagues on how you get your work done in these times. We know that working remotely may impede your work and that we must accommodate for that change. Let’s all keep in mind that many of us are dealing with added stresses on top of figuring out how to work remotely—from moving and housing needs, to school closings and childcare, to worrying about at-risk loved ones. Flexibility is needed from all of us, but especially from faculty and supervisors.
If you are having difficulty or feel you need support, please email Lisa Breede in Human Resources (breede@media), Monica Orta in MAS (mmorta@media), or the Covid-19 team (covid19info@media) with questions or concerns, so that we can help troubleshoot.
We want to thank everyone for their kindness, patience, and considerable efforts as we all transition into a new normal for the Lab over the next few weeks. We recognize that this is no small feat, but are certain that our community can rise to the challenge. We’ll continue to update as new information comes in. In the meantime please take care of ourselves and each other, and if you have questions or concerns don’t hesitate to email the Covid-19 team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pattie, Tod and Deb