Spring classes that ‘can be taught effectively online’ to remain virtual

Residential life policies to ‘remain restrictive’ in spring

MIT classes that “can be taught effectively online” will likely remain online for the spring term, Vice Chancellor Ian Waitz wrote in an email to undergraduates Sept. 25.

Waitz added that “many of the classroom usage and scheduling processes as well as the residential life policies” from the fall will carry over into the spring. “Residential life policies will continue to prioritize protecting individual and community health and, as such, will remain restrictive.”

However, there will be “some small-group, in-person learning experiences, notably for classes that require access to labs, workshops, and performance space,” Waitz wrote.

President L. Rafael Reif wrote in a letter to the MIT community July 7 that the “current hope is to offer every first-year, sophomore, and junior the opportunity to be on campus for the Spring semester.” He added that with new housing becoming available “by the start of the Spring term,” MIT anticipates to have more beds available.”

Chancellor Cynthia Barnhart PhD ’88 and Waitz wrote in an email to The Tech that Reif’s letter remains “the framework guiding our planning work,” and that they “are just beginning to assess the feasibility of inviting three undergraduate classes to campus this Spring.”

Barnhart and Waitz wrote that although “given the facts we know at this time, seniors would not be on campus next spring,” they would also be granted “the opportunity to be on campus for the Spring term” if a vaccine or other effective treatments are developed.

Waitz’s email to undergraduates also contained a survey asking students whether they plan to enroll as an MIT student in the spring semester, where they plan to stay, and who they will live with during the spring.

Waitz and Barnhart wrote that they plan to “engage students, staff and faculty in an accelerated assessment effort… to make a determination” for the spring “as soon as we can” and cited the survey as “a first step in our engagement and feedback collection work.” 

Waitz and Barnhart wrote that they will continue collaborating with the Undergraduate Association, who “have been excellent partners throughout” the fall and spring planning processes and are “in the early stages of collaborating with a cross-section of students, faculty, and staff.”