by Janine Liberty

March 11, 2020

Here you'll find news and updates with resources for the Media Lab community during the Covid-19 pandemic.

An Executive Committee update on ways for the ML community to engage over the summer, as we stay physically distanced from the Lab:

An Executive Committee update on Covid-19 projects, communications, donor relations, and the next Town Hall:

An update to the community from the Executive Committee: updates on new roles, finances, working groups, support available and the director search:

 A few key updates and resources as we adjust to our new normal:

A round-up of virtual student resources:

Maria Zuber's office has provided an update on efforts to provide PPE for local hospitals. Please note that "MIT faculty, staff, or students should not be making and then distributing PPEs fabricated at MIT for clinical use until such efforts are vetted and sanctioned by MIT. In addition, there can be no receipt of any clinical materials from hospitals or any infected venue until and unless approval is obtained from the Office of the Vice President for Research subsequent to manufacture‐ppe review." Please read the full letter from Vice President Zuber and Dr. Elazer R. Edelman, and email donate‐ with questions about donations, and manufacture‐ with questions or suggestions regarding 3D printing or other manufacturing processes.

Due to the closing of Building W20, there are students, faculty and staff without continued access to their paid Post Office boxes, which are housed in the building.  According to USPS, the mail is currently available at the USPS Office in Central Square which is located at 770 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139.  The other option for people is to forward their mail to another locations which can be done online at this link.  

Governor Charlie Baker orders all non-essential businesses to cease in person operation, directs the department of public health to issue stay at home advisory for two weeks. The Baker-Polito Administration Order also limits gatherings to 10 people during the state of emergency, a reduction from the 25 person limit established in an earlier order. Please visit the linked page to see a full listing of essential businesses and additional guidance regarding the order. 

Guidelines for picking up your mail and packages at E/14/E15 for the near-term.

Some updates to help get through this crazy time: a note from the executive committee to the Lab community.

E14/E15 will be inaccessible after midnight on Tuesday March 17, per Dean Sarkis’ email and the Institute’s request to reduce building density to 10% or less. The very, very few exemptions for access after Tuesday have been reviewed and granted by the EC. We know this is a significant disruption. If you’ve got questions or concerns please email, or join an Open Zoom with the Covidcom team from 10-11a March 17th.

Guidance for campus managers/employees who are aware of a person with exposur
/possible exposure to an individual with confirmed COVID-19 

Speak with the individual directly, either in person or by phone. Get a brief description of the situation, including the date and location of the contact. Write down the individual’s full name, phone number, and the town they live in. Show concern and empathy.

Emergency academic regulations now in effect: Professor Rick Danheiser, chair of the MIT faculty, describes temporary changes in MIT regulations regarding the academic calendar, registration, assignments and examinations, grades, procedures for accepting theses, and the awarding of degrees.

Scaling back on-campus research: Provost Martin Schmidt, Vice President for Research Maria Zuber, and Acting Deputy EVP Anthony Sharon provide guidance for students, advisors, and supervisors. 

Governor Baker closes schools, restricts restaurants, bans gatherings over 25 as community spread of coronavirus seen in 7 MA counties.

All use of E14-E15 offices and facilities must be halted by Tuesday (3/17) at the latest (but preferably earlier), except for Media Lab Executive Committee-approved exemptions. The executive committee calls on everyone at the Lab, and especially faculty and supervisors, to be flexible and considerate of the added strain everyone is under. Letter to the Lab community:

The MIT Zoom license is now available to all students, staff, faculty, and affiliates. Access to Zoom is available via and MIT community members can access the service by authenticating through Touchstone. IS&T offers 24x7 community support for Zoom. Faculty and course instructors who need help facilitating remote classes can send mail to or call 617-324-3578 (617-32-HELP-U). MIT community members who have questions or need assistance using Zoom can contact the IS&T Service Desk.

E14 & E15 doors are secured;  need MIT ID to access. This also applies access to building elevators. Any questions please contact the IS&T service desk at 617-253-1101.

MIT HR website has been updated with some info on WFH guidelines and support resources. There is more content in the pipeline for early next week (FAQ, some benefits info).

MIT Graduate housing FAQ:

MIT parking lots opened to all employees free of charge

Beginning on Friday, March 13, and continuing until further notice, all Cambridge campus parking facilities will be open for all employees who must report to campus for their jobs. All employee MIT ID cards will be activated to allow access to all MIT lots, including gated lots and garages, regardless of whether you are a current parking account holder. Current parking account holders should try to park in their assigned areas as usual before looking for a space in other areas.

Please note that parking regulations continue to apply (observe no parking signs, do not occupy spaces reserved for vehicles with disability plates or placards, etc.).

Letter regarding working from home to limit spread of Covid-19, sent to faculty, staff, and postdocs today by Acting Deputy Executive Vice President Tony Sharon and Vice President for Human Resources Ramona Allen:

All MIT library locations will close starting March 14 until further notice. Library staff will remain available during the closure to help the community access online resources and services. More:

MIT has cancelled classes for the week of March 16; classes will resume on March 30 in an all-virtual format. Undergraduates to depart campus. More:

Governor Baker Declares State of Emergency to Support Commonwealth’s Response to Coronavirus. More: 

Summary of Deb’s comments from March 10, 2020 all-Lab conference call

Events postponed or canceled as MIT responds to COVID-19:

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