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MIT Will Welcome Seniors Back To Campus This Fall

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology campus in Cambridge (Charles Krupa/AP)
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology campus in Cambridge (Charles Krupa/AP)

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology released its fall reopening plan on Tuesday.

The university will only welcome back two groups of students among its undergraduates to its Cambridge campus: Rising seniors who wish to return and "a relatively small fraction of other students whose circumstances require special consideration."

These students will have a mix of remote and in-person classes. For other undergraduates, all classes will be remote. Any students not included in this cohort  will not have access to any campus facilities or in-person classes.

"[The reopening plan] will require all of us, especially our students, to adjust to a new set of hard realities," MIT President L. Rafael Reif said in a letter detailing the reopening plan. "I wish we could offer you an easier answer, but COVID-19 is simply not yet under control."

It is unclear whether international student members of the freshman, sophomore and junior classes — who, per new guidance from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, must return to their home country if their classes are online-only — will be invited back to campus as well. Reif wrote that the university is "reviewing the details" of the guidance and will contact affected students "as soon as possible."

The university also announced measures to ease the financial pressures students and families may be facing due to the pandemic, including:

  • canceling a planned tuition hike,
  • providing a $5,000 "COVID-era grant" to students who owe the university money,
  • adjusting its financial aid budget "to meet families increased financial needs"
  • and offering every undergraduate — remote or on-campus — a research or service opportunity with a stipend of up to $1,900.

Other details of the university's limited reopening plan include:

  • All competitive athletics for the fall semester are canceled.
  • Cooking in shared residential hall kitchens will not be allowed; undergraduates will be required to enroll in a meal plan, which the university will subsidize by 40%.
  • All fraternities, sororities and independent living organizations will be closed.

Returning seniors will not be guaranteed housing for the full 2020-21 academic year— despite a request from the Class of 2021 Student Council to do so — due to limits on housing capacity made necessary by the pandemic.

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Liam Knox Twitter Digital Producer
Freelance digital producer for On Point and WBUR news. 

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