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MIT Remote Appointment Guidance: November 2021

As in Fall 2021, MIT will continue to expect all enrolled students to…

  • physically be on campus in Spring 2022 for in-person learning; and
  • conduct their U.S.-based appointments from inside the U.S. and to enter/return to the U.S. prior to the start of spring 2022 semester. 

Exceptions to the above include appointments that involve remote work or research obligations (e.g. field research, nonresident thesis research or absentia status, IvyPlus Exchange Scholars) or for students on an approved leave. 

We also recognize that some students may continue to face barriers to entering the US due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Thus, as in Fall 2021, there will be limited flexibility for those who encounter absolute barriers preventing their return (e.g. visa delays, travel restrictions) in spring 2022. 

Requirements for in-person learning

  • All new students starting in spring 2022 in undergraduate programs, doctoral programs, and research masters programs are expected to arrive before the start of the semester, or, at the latest, by February 24, 2022. Those unable to do so will be required to defer until a later semester. Students should check with their departments on the length of time they may defer. Some excused absences or consideration may be available for those students who arrive late but prior to the February 24, 2022 deadline.
  • For new students in professional masters programs or other graduate-level programs, individual School/College/Programs will decide whether or not they can offer exceptions to in-person learning for those who are unable to arrive on campus due to absolute barriers in spring 2022. If these programs are not able to provide remote learning, the students will be required to defer. Students should check with their departments on the length of time they may defer.
  • For continuing students in all undergraduate and graduate programs, individual School/College/Programs will handle requests for exceptions to in-person learning (for part or all of the semester) on a case-by-case basis for students who face absolute barriers to returning to campus. If a remote learning option is not possible, continuing students will be required to take a leave of absence.

Requirements for campus-based appointments

  • For graduate research students who are required to defer their program start dates or take a leave of absence, programs/labs/PIs may appoint such students as unpaid research affiliates to allow them to obtain MIT IDs (if they do not already have them) and to stay informally connected to research groups.
  • Graduate students who receive an exception to the in-person learning requirement for part or all of the semester (consistent with the above limitations) may, at the discretion of their department/program, be eligible for remote appointments if there are absolute barriers preventing the students from returning to the US. As in prior terms, these appointments will need to be reviewed by the remote international appointments team.
  • Remote appointments will not be offered for undergraduate students, unless associated with an approved disability accommodation as noted below.

Limited Exceptions Process
Graduate students seeking a remote international appointment should contact their academic administrator and work with them to prepare an intake request that will be reviewed by the remote international appointments team.  We ask that whenever possible students work with their graduate administrators to submit an intake form by December 15, 2021.  Our goal is to review and respond to these requests before the winter break. However, if more time is needed or circumstances change, we ask that intake forms be submitted as soon as possible after that date.

For any potential requests for exceptions to the requirements for in-person learning and campus-based appointments:

  • Absolute barriers are narrow and are limited to situations such as visa delays, travel bans, and border closures, where a student is prevented from travelling to campus. The evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic in certain regions of the world, and continuing challenges with obtaining timely visas, will be taken into consideration.

Student disability-based requests (including any disabilities that pose a higher risk of severe infection from COVID) are managed, per usual, by Disability and Access Services (DAS). This will include any disability-related requests to pursue remote appointments from within the U.S., but outside of Massachusetts. MIT is committed to equal access for students with disabilities and students who need a disability-related accommodation in order to access their academic program or activities. Students should contact DAS directly with such requests.

Vaccination Requirement Reminder
Keep in mind that MIT announced on April 30, 2021 that every enrolled student must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or receive a medical or religious exemption. If new or continuing students have concerns or questions about meeting the requirement, including concerns about traveling if unvaccinated, they can contact to discuss their particular situation.  

New federal regulations issued under a Presidential Proclamation issued October 25, 2021 will require international students to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19, and show a negative COVID test, before being allowed to travel to the U.S.  International students who are unable to access the vaccine before their start dates may be allowed, under certain conditions, to travel to the U.S. and get vaccinated upon arrival or soon after they arrive.  Please note that these new regulations only allow unvaccinated entry under a narrow medical exemption and do not provide an exemption for religious reasons.  International students with questions about entering the U.S. due to the new federal regulations should contact their ISO Advisor.    

If MIT has vaccines available, students will be immunized on campus. Otherwise they will need to register for an appointment at a pharmacy or through the state. For more details see this FAQ