Archived copies of all 2020 emails can be found on our Google Shared Drive - All-Lib Presentations and Documents.
Here are the quick notes you need to know about today’s EMGMT meeting.
We discussed the following topics:
I hope you all have a great Monday, even with the time change!
This picture, taken by our own Courtney, reminds me that summer heat cannot last forever and beautiful fall colors and cooler temperatures are on the way.
There are two updates from the Emergency Management Team:
“If you’re feeling unwell — if you have an unexplained headache, a sniffle you know isn’t allergies, a fever, or a scratchy throat — stay home. Attest to your symptoms in Covid Pass and MIT Medical will follow up with you. Monitor your symptoms until you feel better… The situation with COVID-19 remains very fluid, and circumstances can change. We will continue to monitor community spread in the areas around MIT.”
The Libraries will adhere to this guidance for COVID and the upcoming flu season. Supervisors are strongly urged to work closely with their managers and associate directors regarding staff sick time if necessary. Should anyone have any questions or concerns, you are encouraged to contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks, Maria for the Emergency Management Team
Greetings, folks of the MIT Libraries!
First up, a shoutout to all of my fellow Red Line riders… is there a name for us, collectively? Redliners? Alewives? The Patient Ones?
And now, on to the updates, gathered from several sources over the past week - woven throughout, you’ll find freshly-released data relating to COVID testing and vaccination rates on campus, answers to some common questions coming in from our teams, and some friendly community reminders for all of us who are spending time on campus. Read on for more...
Helpful data about campus-wide COVID vaccinations and testing:
Helpful reminders for all individuals working on campus:
Helpful reminders that are specific to the Libraries:
And, to close things out, some good news for all my fellow Alewives out there… herring populations (including the alewife) in the Mystic River are bouncing back, thanks to an extensive habitat restoration project: https://mysticriver.org/herring-monitoring. You can even contribute citizen science data at the Mystic Herring Website!
Heather, on behalf of the Libraries’ Emergency Management Team
The Emergency Management Team (EMGMT) has two quick informational updates to share:
You may recall from the July 12th COVID-19 update that MIT has made some changes to the travel policy for this phase of response to the pandemic, allowing for most MIT-related travel for vaccinated individuals or those who have received a medical or religious exemption. We wanted to share that the senior leadership team (SRLT) is determining what Libraries-specific guidance we need to have in place for the coming semester given that we are in the process of reviewing an updated professional development policy and are continuing negotiations with the union. More to come.
Also, FYI, the R&L Leadership Team (RLL) is in the process of determining what the Libraries’ services portfolio for spaces, collections, and electronic services will be for the fall taking into account Covidpass, Libraries’ hours and new tools such as Primo. More to come on that as well.
All the best,
Tracy, on behalf of EMGMT
You should have received an email today from the Institute outlining several policy changes regarding COVID protocols. While it feels like a lot of change is happening very quickly, MIT continues to be more conservative than the Commonwealth or Cambridge in rolling back restrictions.
These new policies are possible because of the extremely high vaccination rate in the MIT community. This is good news.
There is a lot of information to absorb in today’s email, so we wanted to highlight a few items and put them in context of the Libraries’ work.
Some key changes
Libraries policies: What’s not changing
Support for navigating change
A lot of things are changing quickly, and we’re all having to get used to evolving norms in all facets of our lives. We encourage everyone to extend a little grace to one another as we each navigate our own anxieties -- or excitement -- about loosening restrictions. The Institute also offers resources for self-care and coping through MyLife Services (click Get Started and then Covid-19 Resource Page). If you would like to take advantage of these offerings, please speak with your manager about fitting them into your schedule.
Brigham, on behalf of the Emergency Management Team
I hope you had a lovely weekend. It was my first being fully vaccinated, so I was able to visit my 16-month old goddaughter, who is in the important developmental phase of handing you stuff and walking away, only to ask for the item hours later like a tiny Miranda Priestly. It was strange seeing close friends in person for the first time in a year, feeling like both nothing and everything had changed, and now there’s this new little human whose crayons I have to hold for an indeterminate amount of time. It’s been a year + of incredible stress and grief, but as we ease back out into the world knowing it won’t be the same as before, it feels amazing to actually have these reunions (and introductions) we’ve been envisioning for so long.
MIT has been busy with summer and fall planning. There’s a lot of information to digest, so please feel free to contact anyone on the emergency management team with questions. As a reminder, Associate Provost Krystyn Van Vliet will present at our all staff meeting on Thursday (2pm). You can submit questions for her here.
We’ve sorted guidance and updates by date, but it is important to note that through the end of the summer, the Libraries will remain closed to patrons. We will be taking a slow and deliberate approach to re-populating both our staff and patron areas.
Happening as of June 1st
Happening as of June 7th
Masking is still required indoors except for in private offices with the door closed and while eating/drinking. These guidelines may become more or less restrictive based on trends in MIT vaccination status and local and community infection rates. SRLT will be discussing how these changes may or may not affect our on-campus operations.
Happening as of July 1st
Possibilities for Fall
Per President Reif’s March 12th message, MIT is planning on “dialing up” during the summer so we can be as fully operational for the fall as possible. We still expect September 7th to be the date where all staff will be required to return to campus. However, we will be following the guidance from the Work Succeeding efforts to define how to manage remote work options.
Though additional details are still being worked out, MIT anticipates continuing Covid testing through the fall at least to monitor campus health. MIT continues to monitor data around vaccine boosters, and will share any available information to the community.
Even if masking requirements drop in the fall, community members are encouraged to mask according to their comfort levels. You will never find me on the orange line not wearing a mask ever again. (Ask me about the time I was forced to aspirate a stranger’s dandruff on an over-crowded train at Downtown Crossing on my way to work.)
General CDC Guidance and Relevant Statistics
For More Information on MA/Cambridge/CDC guidance
Massachusetts press release re: lifting all restrictions May 29th:
Massachusetts new mask requirements:
Cambridge press release re: following the Commonwealth:
MIT Vaccine Statistics
Greetings from the Imperial Archives,
In celebration of the galactic “May 4th” holiday tomorrow, I would be remiss in not taking this opportunity to plug some Lewis Music Library resources. Through our popular streaming media database Naxos Music, we have access to selections from the soundtrack to the Star Wars movies, covering all 9 installments!
You can listen here! (note: must be logged into VPN first or authenticated if off campus)
Now on to other business, here are the major topics discussed at this morning’s Library EMT meeting:
Please treat your own and your colleagues Covid vaccination information as the private medical information that it is. Our only obligation is to report our vaccination status via the secure Covid Vaccine App, so that MIT will have an accurate picture of community vaccination rates, and can therefore make future policy decisions based on this information.
As always, please see now.mit.edu for the latest information on how the MIT community is responding to the ongoing Covid pandemic.
Other relevant links:
04/27 White House COVID-19 Task Force briefing:
04/27 MA Plans for continued reopening:
04/29 City of Cambridge moves to Phase IV:
Hi Library Folks,
Happy Monday, I hope everyone enjoyed their abbreviated week last week. I certainly enjoyed being outside on our days off. It was also nice not to zoom all day, but the work continued, and the classes on campus were in full swing.
Today’s meeting was short on topics but those topics were big and the team reoriented ourselves around these topics. Here are the notes:
Beverly, on behalf of the Emergency Management Team
We wanted to share some updates from the Emergency Management Team meeting this morning.
Please review the attached PPT presentations that share information about new COVID 19 Testing and Spring and Summer
Steve Stowe on Behalf of the EMT
This morning Kim brightened our day with a picture of the Easter basket mylar strips that her niece used in Kim’s doorway. Anything for a smile nowadays! (picture not included here)
We also congratulated Stanford on their big win. (No one said anything about trying to get on the good side of a certain Stanford fan!)
Today’s meeting was short, with a reminder from Steve Stowe that as the weather gets nice, spring break is around the corner for school kids, and our own mental health day gives us all a long weekend, here’s a reminder of the travel policy:
Full details are available at https://now.mit.edu/policies/mit-travel-policy/.
With lots of spring warmth,
Lisa, on behalf of the Emergency Management Team
The Emergency Team met today and discussed the following details for staff regarding the upcoming summer months:
*Special note related to online conference/webinar/seminars: Anyone planning to attend an approved online conference, webinar, and/or seminar should register via their local Administrative Assistant. Please give the Admin Team enough time to assist you as they are managing multiple simultaneous requests.
As we are (hopefully!) coming towards the conclusion of the COVID-19 pandemic, I've been reflecting on some of the more unusual thoughts I had at the onset of the crisis.
Oddly enough, I thought about foraging for food when it was difficult to get items like toilet paper, paper towels, cereal, and canned soup. I have never foraged food in my life, although I planned to forage Oregon truffles with some partner-dogs last year if it were not for the pandemic.
Yet foraging as an epicurean pursuit is not the same as living off the land in my mind.
Why I felt like I needed that life skill during the pandemic is beyond me. I guess it was my stress mechanisms kicking in. So like a good librarian, I started information seeking.
I learned of foraging communities and how I wasn't alone in thinking about how to forage well.
I also started following a popular forager on TikTok and Instagram who is based in Columbus, Ohio. She does pretty creative things with many items found in parks and on recreational trails. Given some of the ugliness we've seen covered in the press about some Black people being harassed while out enjoying nature, I really appreciate her work and her general joyfulness.
I haven't taken this practice up today, and my close friends find my latest interest pretty laughable. I'm known for "foraging" wine and cheese, not wild onions and tree sap! I don't know if I'll ever pursue it, but it was a fun diversion to learn about foraging during this tough time. Do be careful if you decide to take on foraging so that you don't accidentally digest poisonous items. Consult food and botany experts for assistance.
Alexia, on behalf of the Emergency Management Team
I hugged my 82 year old mother yesterday for the first time in over a year. She is fully vaccinated, we both wore masks, and there were tears before she told me to let go because she had had enough and wanted to carry on with other things. We both backed away and burst out laughing because this is exactly who she is: a bit emotional but not at all sentimental. In general, this reflects my own thoughts as we inch into spring and I have all kinds of emotions but want to forge ahead.
President Reif sent an email last week about using a dial, not a switch, to plan for campus in the fall with an emphasis on supporting a rich residential experience for students. This will not be a linear process because sometimes the dial will move backward based on the changing community health environment. He also announced the “Work Succeeding” cross-Institute planning team led by VP for Human Resources Ramona Allen, VP for Campus Services and Stewardship Joe Higgins, and Associate Provost Krystyn Van Vliet that will assess how various hybrid approaches to work life could play out for MIT staff.
Both of these updates have an impact on the Libraries. As a first step, the Libraries has decided not to ramp up any additional on campus services before the end of May.
If you are currently 100% working remotely, you will continue to be remote at least until the end of May. If you are splitting your time between campus and remote work, you will continue to split your time between campus and remote work at least until the end of May.
The Libraries will use the spring to evaluate what on-campus services have to be in place to support plans for the fall and then make implementation plans over the summer. We encourage staff and managers to start having conversations about work-related and individual factors that may impact future scheduling and work locations. It’s too early to put any definitive plans in place but it’s not too early to discuss the options.
We encourage you to take a few minutes to complete the voluntary community pulse survey that was sent to all staff this morning from the MIT Council on Family and Work. It’s the 5th survey and the results are used to respond to community needs during this time.
The emails from the Emergency Management Team are on the LibGuides site but this particular page is out of room. The emails will be transferred to a different format for storage but still accessible from this same link.
Sue, on behalf of the Emergency Management Team
Good Morning Everyone,
Just a few quick updates and a reminder in the message today.
Maria for the Emergency Management Team
Greetings, MIT Libraries!
I’m writing on behalf of the Libraries Emergency Management Team this morning - before we get down to business (and in the spirit of our Emergency Management Team emails), I’ll start things off with a picture of our little kitty Pita taking a break from her various cat jobs to watch this weekend’s snowfall with great wonder and curiosity [Image was too large to put in the libguide]
And now, the aforementioned business!
Thank you all, and stay warm,
Welcome to the last week of January 2021. I hope everyone had a chance to rest over the weekend. Today’s message is brief, so this red panda says let’s jump right in.
-> International Research, Politics, and Bias. The Emergency Management Team wanted to reiterate President Reif’s message from last week:
[T]o our Chinese and Chinese American community – our undergraduates, graduate students, postdocs, scholars, researchers, staff, faculty, alumni and Corporation members of Chinese descent:... you are essential and integral members of our MIT community. We value your contributions as students, colleagues, teachers, innovators and leaders, and we value you personally as friends – just as we value every member of the global family of MIT, including Professor Chen and his family.
For anyone interested in engaging more deeply in the intersection of international research, politics, and bias, Professor of Physics Xiaoxing Xi of Temple University will speak today at 4:30 PM (Zoom link, password 140608) at the Harvard University Department of Physics Colloquium “Scientific espionage, open exchange, and American competitiveness” (thanks to Ye Li for sharing this).
-> Students are coming back to campus soon. You can find Chancellor Cynthia Barnhardt’s letter to graduate and undergraduate students here; it covers move-in timing and spring semester remote and in-person classes, as well as details about the mail-out test kits and an information session.
-> The LDMC (Libraries departmental monitoring committee) provided a brief update on its work. A detailed message to the whole organization is coming soon, but some highlights are:
-> Face Coverings / Masks: There has not been any official new guidance from the CDC, the Commonwealth, or MIT on whether or not double masking is recommended with the new variant of COVID (B.1.1.7) present in Massachusetts. At the writing of this email, double masking is not required by the Institute; however Maria will check with all area managers to make sure sufficient PPE are available for anyone wishing to double mask while at work. As new information and guidance is available from federal, state, and local authorities, including MIT Medical, we will provide an update to all library staff.
Sincere wishes for the best week we can have,
Felicity, on behalf of the Emergency Management Team
Happy New Year everybody! I hope that everybody had a peaceful, restorative break from work. I know that I’m not alone in being happy that 2020 is behind us!
We have a flurry of updates about testing, vaccines, and space guidelines to share with all.
Relevant for everybody:
For folks who work regularly on campus:
“Those who live off-campus and are Covid Pass users (employees, students, or affiliates) and who have traveled outside Massachusetts and those who have not traveled but socialized outside of their household should plan to work remotely (if they are able), quarantine for seven days, and test on the seventh day. Ideally, they should continue to work remotely until a negative result is received. Employees who cannot work remotely will report to work but should follow safety protocols (masks, social distancing, and good hygiene); remain vigilant for symptoms; and stick to their testing cadence.”
If you have any questions about testing and timing for your specific schedule, please be in touch with your supervisor to work out details.
As of December 26th, the Commonwealth has mandated that occupancy of shared office spaces must not exceed 25 percent of capacity, measured by a building's occupancy limit. Occupancy must also not exceed five persons per 1,000 square feet of office space. These measures went into effect this Saturday, Dec. 26, and will remain in effect until noon on Sunday, Jan. 10.
While we are confident that our current on-campus plans are fully compliant with the new rules, the Libraries Department Monitoring Committee (LDMC) will review all of our space layouts for those who are working on campus to ensure that we meet the new guidelines. In addition we will be working with the Hayden renovation crews to ensure that they are mindful and following the new limits as well.
All the best,
Tracy, on behalf of the Emergency Management Team