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MIT Libraries Staff Web

Administrative Services: Full Text Emails from MIT Libraries

Administrative Services supports the MIT Libraries' mission and goals in the areas of Budget & Financial, Facilities & Operations, Personnel and Staff Services.

About this page

On this page you will find full text of all emails sent by the Emergency Management Team

Archived copies of all 2020 emails can be found on our Google Shared Drive - All-Lib Presentations and Documents.

Full text of emails from the Emergency Management Team

April 1, 2022 Email from Stephanie Richardson

Friends,

MIT’s Pandemic Pay Policies will be in place through June 30, 2022, but will have incrementally changed effective today.

TL:DR

  • The extra 40 hours of Sick Covid-19 expires today and will no longer be available

Further detail:

MIT originally provided all employees with up to 10 days paid sick leave due to Covid-19. That number was increased by an additional 40 hours to be in compliance with the Special Massachusetts Requirement. This additional 40 hour time bank was slated to expire as of 04/01/2022 and will not be extended. 

You will still be able to access and use up to a total of 10 days of paid sick leave using ‘Sick Covid-19’ through June 30. Other pandemic pay policies remain the same and can be found here.

Please reach out to Lib-HR with any questions.

Best,

Stephanie

 

March 17, 2022 Email from Chris Bourg

Hi all,

Ian A. Waitz, Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate and Graduate Education, has asked all of us to share some clarifications about the MIT current policy on masks: 

Departments, labs, and/or centers (DLCs) may not establish their own policies or requirements related to face coverings. The current policy applies to the entire Institute community and may not be modified at the local level. DLCs may post Institute-approved signage about mask wearing but may not create or post local, space-specific signage.

 

Individuals may not request or require that others wear masks. Please be respectful of other people’s choices about masks – regardless of whether you choose to wear a mask or choose not to wear one, be kind and understanding with people who make a choice different from yours. Please email any specific questions or concerns about the current policy to covidapps-help@mit.edu.

 

The full policy can be found here: https://now.mit.edu/policies/updated-face-covering-policy/

In alignment with MIT policy, the Libraries have not and will not establish separate mask policies for our spaces or our staff, but will follow MIT policy that masks are optional. It is also important for all staff to abide by MIT’s policy that individuals may not request or require that others wear masks.  

Thanks,

Chris on behalf of the Emergency Management Team

March 7, 2022 Email from Chris Bourg

Hi everyone,

An Institute-wide message about changes to our existing COVID-19 policies is forthcoming, so I am writing to you all now with a “heads-up.”

There are several important updates in this message, so please take the time to read these details carefully, and feel free to ask questions if you have any.

MIT’s COVID-19 strategies are changing as we move to the next stage of the pandemic. Please refer to the attached slides for details (note that slides 1-14 focus on COVID and COVID policies, slides 15-21 summary MIT emergency preparedness response to potential infrastructure or cyber threats/disruptions).

With extremely high community vaccination and booster rates, combined with sharply declining COVID-19 positivity rates on campus, MIT plans to relax some COVID-19 restrictions (see now.mit.edu for all up-to-date policies) starting next week. 

MIT leadership will continue to ‘follow the science’ and monitor public health data as they make decisions about our evolving approach. 

Planned changes to MIT policies:

Effective March 14, here are some of the planned changes to MIT’s policies: 

  • Indoor masking will be optional in most indoor spaces at MIT. Please note that individuals are welcome and encouraged to wear a mask whenever and wherever they wish to do so for their own protection, and we are all encouraged to respect individual choices about mask wearing. Masks are still required at MIT Medical and on MIT shuttles. MIT will continue to make high-quality masks available to the community.
  • Daily Attestation: Daily health attestations will no longer be required when asymptomatic, but individuals are urged to stay home and to report any COVID symptoms in COVID pass to trigger a test requirement.
  • COVID-Pass card tap: Card taps are still required to enter MIT buildings, but access is no longer tied to daily attestations. MIT access is contingent on having met MIT’s vaccination requirement.
  • Testing: COVID testing will become optional for students and campus residents (as it is now for faculty and staff). Testing remains available on demand for anyone in COVID Pass who wants or needs a test. Testing when you think you may have been exposed, and/or you are anticipating being in a setting where high-risk individuals are present is encouraged and remains the most effective defense against spread.  If you have symptoms, you should test; if you report symptoms in COVID Pass, this will trigger a testing requirement.

The section on testing in 3 Questions: New changes to MIT’s COVID-19 strategy includes a thorough  explanation of this change, especially this: 

“Only you know when your risk level has been elevated, so only you know when you should test. This change in policy doesn’t do away with testing; rather, it shifts the control of test timing to the individual.”

The Libraries’ food policy remains unchanged until further notice:

Food is now allowed at MIT events but there is no change to the current Libraries’ policy: eating will be allowed only in the Hayden Courtyard Cafe and on the porch.  Beverages are permitted elsewhere.  (Serving refreshments at events in The Nexus requires approval, and must follow MIT’s guidance for event planners.)

A note on Layers or “We still have our belt, suspenders optional”:

Many of us have found MIT’s multi-layered approach to COVID-19 reassuring. 

The recent changes may feel disorienting and raise concerns. MIT has referred to our approach as a “belt and suspenders” strategy, and it is important to remember that the high vaccination and booster rates in our community represent a very effective ‘belt’ that we can continue to count on, even as the ‘suspenders’ of masks, asymptomatic attestations, and testing are now optional .

As things evolve and we move back to a semblance of “normal,” the Institute remains vigilant, and will continue to use data and metrics to guide decision making as it relates to COVID policies. 

We acknowledge that there will be a range of reactions and opinions about MIT’s decisions, including some relief that we can relax some policies based on positive public health trends and indicators. There will likely also be some discomfort and nervousness as MIT modifies some of the policies that have been such a crucial part of our multi-layered approach to keeping COVID-19 positive rates low and minimizing campus spread. 

In 3 Questions: New changes to MIT’s COVID-19 strategy, Cecilia Stuopis, Peko Hosoi, and Ian Waitz describe shifts in policy that aim for a gradual return to normalcy. To understand the rationale for recent MIT COVID-19 policy updates, and how the Institute is thinking about potential future changes, please give this a read.

Please also remember that while these practices have changed in response to encouraging data, the Institute will remain vigilant and responsive to changes in public health conditions, and will reinstate policies if conditions warrant.

A note on “Piggybacking”

Piggybacking refers to people following others into MIT spaces or buildings without having tapped their card to ensure they have access to that particular space. We are aware of some continued frustration and anxiety among staff who encounter piggybacking or attempted piggybacking behavior at MIT access points.

Library staff should always follow MIT policy and tap in to all COVID-pass access points when entering MIT buildings. While library staff should not actively facilitate piggybacking, staff should not feel obligated to actively enforce MIT access policies by engaging with others or forcing others to wait.  We ask that you report incidents of piggybacking to the MIT hotline

If an entrance is crowded, and/or you are uncomfortable using an entrance because of piggybacking or potential piggybacking, we encourage you to simply wait until the crowd thins, or to use a different access point.

_____

One final note – we have all been living through a global pandemic for two years now, while also navigating and responding to a myriad of personal, local, national, and international losses and  tragedies. This prolonged pressure and stress can take a heavy toll. 

I encourage all of you to consider taking advantage of MIT MyLife Services, which provides access to a wide variety of resources, including many kinds of counseling services, child care referrals, sleep coaching, and much more; all with the goal of making life a little easier.

If you have any questions, please address them to your supervisor or to the Emergency Management Team at emgmt-lib@mit.edu

 

Thank you for your attention to this important message. We are grateful for everything each of you has done and continues to do to keep yourself and the community safe while doing great work for the libraries and for MIT. 

All my best,

Chris

February 14, 2022 Email from Stephanie Richardson

Hello MIT Libraries, and Happy Valentine’s day!


https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/daEOD6YBYS2XLJ2a65PMydwnqrConyQZp87tzg3mTpiSbbo2JjWESIXLDDHZz4Fx6ff_nobcdvt7tZFFfK1pINo1KYHNLkjS-lW8IpkWiuDNTf3cKEEMBICMPC8aeUzkgUQ9E12S


 

Gus wants to be your furry, four-legged valentine. You may already have a pet who is giving you the love and attention you deserve, but if you don’t (or need more  - and who doesn’t these days), please know that this canine heartbreaker thinks you’re PAWSOME. 🐾






 

Here is your brief review of the Emergency Management Team meeting from this morning where we reviewed and approved updates to Libraries Covid guidelines in alignment with updated Institute policies:

  • R&L suggestions for revised Covid policies for users in our spaces, including:
    • Food allowed only in Hayden cafe space and on porch - no other Libraries spaces 
    • Beverages allowed throughout all Libraries spaces
    • Masks still required for everyone
    • Shift in messaging to users about ‘personal responsibility’: this means, keep yourself safe by following policies
      • On-site staff do not need to feel compelled to patrol spaces and challenge folks who are secretly snacking on Skittles in the corner 
  • Updated guidelines for refreshments served at events in Libraries spaces
    • These govern scheduled, approved activities in the Nexus and Courtyard
    • Guidelines will be posted on the Staff Web Covid-19 page

Have a great day, everyone!

Stephanie on behalf of the EMGMT Team

 

February 8, 2022 Email from Lisa Horowitz

Good morning, everyone!

A newsy “heads-up” message this morning from the Libraries Emergency Management Team (EMGT), as MIT considers how to move forward with pandemic policies this spring. MIT is planning to make these announcements later this week, assuming the indicators that senior administrators are watching remain good. 

At yesterday’s MIT Covid Management meeting, MIT administration shared that they are continuing to shift from an institutional “stop the spread” mindset, towards personal responsibility with a focus on avoidance of severe illness (see attached slides). Because of many positive indicators, we should expect the following policy changes:

  1. Food and drink allowed: As of Feb. 10, food and drink will be allowed at gatherings, events and meetings, and as of Feb. 14, dining halls will be open to full capacity with retail outlets resuming operations.
  2. New testing cadence for all: As of Feb. 21, staff will not be required to test weekly, but COVID-19 testing operations will remain open and operational for anyone who would like to test. Community members who believe they may have been exposed to the virus must report the exposure in Covid Pass and test. Testing for students, residents, and the unvaccinated will move to once a week (vs. twice a week). 
  3. Indoor masking requirements remain: Although the Commonwealth has removed the indoor masking requirement, the City of Cambridge’s mask mandate remains in place. MIT will continue to comply with the City’s indoor masking requirements. However, as of February 10, the one-mask-down-at-a-time policy for fully-vaccinated instructors and presenters will resume. Wearing high quality masks continues to provide the best protection, and MIT continues to have a supply of high-quality masks available for staff. 
  4. Daily attestation will continue to be required. 

Some important notes:

  1. The EMGT began a discussion about how these changes might impact library use policies and procedures. Alexia and RLL will make recommendations to EMGT for review and approvals soon. 
  2. MIT is examining the best methods to create support structures for individuals who have shared that they have been emotionally impacted by COVID-related prolonged social isolation. Information about this is forthcoming.  

Review the attached slides for the full set of policy changes (as well as what is not changing). As usual, if you have questions, please talk to your manager! 

Best,

Lisa, for the EMGT

Full text of emails from the Emergency Management Team

January 14, 2022 Email from Chris Bourg

Dear colleagues,

This morning, Vice Chancellor Ian Waitz, along with the Chair of the Faculty and the Director of MIT Medical, shared current plans for Spring semester at MIT, which are:

  • MIT will be fully in person for academics, teaching, and research
  • Staff will resume their regular work schedules/locations

These plans are based on all the available data, including very high vaccination and booster rates within our community. Nonetheless, contingency planning is ongoing, and every unit needs to have realistic plans in place, as the trajectory of the virus remains unpredictable.

Any changes to the in person plan for Spring will be announced by January 31. The slide deck from this morning’s call, which is chock full of details about general plans and data as well as specific info for instructional teams, is attached for those who are interested.

There will be more detailed, library-specific information coming out soon, but we wanted everyone to know MIT’s overall spring plan as soon as possible. Planning for a smooth restart of on-site operations is ongoing, and we will be sharing those plans next week.

Although there remains little evidence of significant on-campus transmission, the higher rates of infections make tracking exact transmission routes much more difficult. The most important and effective measures each of us can take to protect ourselves, our colleagues and the community are:

  •  Get vaccinated and boosted
  •  Encourage everyone you know to also get vaccinated and boosted
  •  Wear a high-quality mask when around others. 

MIT will continue to provide masks at test drop-off locations, and is trying to adjust supplies to meet demand. The MIT Libraries has a limited supply of KF94/KN95 masks for staff working on campus, and is ordering more. We will be distributing the masks we have on hand to our various work locations today and early next week. Note that these masks are generally effective for up to 40 hours of wearing time, so you can safely use the same mask for several days.

We all know that the strain of dealing with Covid-19 for so long is having significant impacts on the mental health and wellbeing of our community. I want to encourage everyone to take advantage of the resources available through MIT MyLife Services

Please continue to be kind, patient, and gentle with yourself and your colleagues as we all navigate this next phase of the ongoing pandemic.

All best,

Chris

 

January 6, 2022 Email from Maria Rodrigues

Good afternoon!

Not sure about the rest of you but I am super excited to see snow tomorrow! 

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/UF83li-DSP5j-5JoydTolGDplzO1wVsDO-rhjDriXg4QSiqxdq1J-gwHYF_MTHfydUqGmeSaUCwI35NBN4rsPBoL-AnE8L5c8ilyxIE1p394eqaMdwafz-5h_tPTGnvXZQS5BlC5

Message from Chris: 

Today’s message includes loads of important information and context regarding MIT’s and the Libraries’ ongoing response to COVID-19 and the rapid spread of the Omicron variant.

As you know, positive case counts are at an all-time high at MIT and in the surrounding community, and throughout the nation. Thankfully, the vast majority of positive cases at MIT have been mild, and  the current wave is expected to subside near the end of the month. Nonetheless these trends are worrisome, and continued organizational and personal vigilance is called for. 

Organizationally, we need to ensure we (MIT and the Libraries) have updated and sustainable contingency plans in place, in the likely event that we will see much higher than usual staff absences due to illness, isolation, and quarantining. Within the Libraries, SRLT will be working with their leadership teams to review and update department-level contingency plans, in anticipation of potential staff shortages. In all cases, contingency plans will prioritize the health and well-being of staff. In certain cases, pausing work due to staff shortages, and notifying patrons and other stakeholders, will be the appropriate plan.

Updated info from MIT and Libraries EMGMT:

  • Attesting
    • If you are not feeling well, even if working remotely, you should attest to your symptoms.
    • You can access testing even if you are working remotely for the month. 
    • MIT no longer sends managers emails each time one of their staff members attests and is cleared for campus. 
  • Testing positive 
    • If you test positive with an MIT test, you will receive an automated email and people from MIT Medical will probably not reach out to you directly. This process is automated now in order to keep up with demand.
    • You must complete the ‘Case Information Form’ that MIT Medical will provide to you; this is part of the automation of contact tracing.
    • You will automatically be removed from campus access for five days via the Atlas app.
  • Please see this MIT Now page for current updates to MIT’s Isolation and Quarantine Practices
  • Except for food, Event/Visitor policies have not changed
    • Tim Tickets should be used for ALL visitors to the Libraries
    • No food or drink at any MIT-hosted events on or off-campus
  • Boosters
    • All staff who are eligible must be boosted by January 14th. 
    • If you currently have a vaccine exemption on file with MIT, the same exemption also applies to the booster requirement.
    • If you believe you will be unable to receive the booster by the deadline, please contact vaccine-requirement@mit.edu as soon as you can for assistance. 
    • If you are out of compliance with MIT vaccine and booster guidelines, you will be locked out of campus. You will also be contacted by HR.
  • Spring Semester
    • MIT is currently planning to be in person for the Spring Term.
  • HathiTrust
    • There will be no Controlled Digital Lending (CDL) for IAP.
    • There is no CDL planning at this time for the spring semester.  

More information can be found here:

Please let us know if you have any questions, and have a great snowy day working remotely and enjoy the weekend!

Maria

On behalf of EMGMT

 

January 3, 2022 Email from Felicity Walsh

Happy New Year everybody! 

Here’s hoping that everybody had a peaceful, restorative break from work.

Before digging into today’s updates, here’s a fun picture to start the week - photo credit here.

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/08Y6UzPb9IFOD6WbBmaZ3koh18By9fpjC0G6EOkWgo90-NStLNedQLOBljPAthCYHx4njQWMozZnec6BC9C3m0abykADCkAgqIe51W2RAscxwi-r5I71C3c9hSfbu6kt1_OYv2eP

Relevant for everybody:

  • Per today’s Atlas email, isolation times for those who test positive for COVID but are asymptomatic have been reduced: Per the new Massachusetts Department of Public Health guidance: “If the individual shows no symptoms, the recommended isolation period is shortened from 10 days to 5 days, followed by 5 days of wearing a mask when around others.”  MIT’s automated systems now reflect this reduced isolation time.  See the full email for details.  
  • Please keep in mind that along with these emails, MIT Now and MIT Medical FAQ’s are the best sources of information and are updated on a regular basis.

About our services:

  • Things went smoothly over the break!
    • 120+ requests for materials to be shipped to users
    • No floods, collection problems, etc. while we were closed
    • Staff on-site to empty bookdrops reported users in 24/7 spaces were ALL WEARING MASKS
  • Services updates for the community through the end of January

Some things are still developing:

  • Some Harvard locations are open but not all, we suggest referring any interested MIT users to check Harvard’s hours page to see what’s open; however HD is fully staffed so we have access to those collections.
  • The Libraries is performing a review of the feasibility of restarting Controlled Digital Lending (CDL) with HathiTrust and Internet Archive during January, details to come.

 

A huge shout out to all of the teams who have made this pivot possible over a very short period of time, and to everyone who continues to work to make our services as useful for the community as possible during IAP.   

Happy Monday,

Felicity, on behalf of the Emergency Management Team



 

 

December 22, 2021 Email from Stephanie Richardson and Kim Maxwell

Friends,

The weather outside is yucky, if not frightful. So here’s your delightful daily message update from the EMGMT team. 

TL:DR

  1. The Sick-Covid19 pay policies have been extended through 04/01/2022.
  2. The booster is now required for all employees, including those working entirely remotely.
  3. Rationale for remote library services during IAP is compelling. Please feel free to send any difficult patron comments (i.e. the ‘spicy’ ones) directly to Chris for response.
  4. Full details of the Libraries’ IAP service portfolio are evolving, but our general posture is “Remote + Delivery.” 
  5. Stay vigilant, protect yourself and others.

Details

  1. The ‘Sick-Covid19’ pay code and policies have been extended through 04/01/2022 (see the HR website for details). Hourly staff can report hours in their timesheets in Atlas. Salaried staff should email supervisors & lib-hr to report Sick-Covid19 hours so that it can be tracked locally as this type of sick time is not tracked in Atlas. Use Sick-Covid19 if you are unable to work due to: attestation of symptoms, isolating after a positive test result for you or your immediate family, booster response. 
  2. The booster requirement and deadline of January 14, 2022 applies to all Institute employees regardless of work location. If you are not eligible for a booster until after 1/14/22, COVID pass will adjust your date automatically. If it doesn’t, someone from MIT will be in touch and have a conversation to understand your situation. Here is more information, including information about exemptions.
  3. The decision to adopt a “Remote + Delivery” posture for Libraries and library services during MIT’s January IAP is based on the following context:
    1. Our expanded 24/7 spaces, extensive digital collections, digitization services, remote teaching & consultation, and delivery services will satisfy the vast majority of IAP research and educational needs. 
    2. Closing all except our unstaffed 24/7 spaces to patrons allows us to avoid face-to-face patron interactions while also limiting staff exposure in other ways. This will create a more resilient staffing plan, and allows us to preserve user-facing service continuity for digital interactions that we already can do so well (such as materials delivery, consultations, workshops).
    3. MIT’s IAP period provides a buffer period before the start of the classes for Spring, and is typically a period of low campus density.
  4. While all of the details of the MIT Libraries’ January IAP services are not yet available, we do know that we will be operating in a “Remote + Delivery” mode. This means that we will do as much work remotely as we can, while limiting our on campus work to those activities required to support delivery and/or digitization of physical items, and other critical on-campus work. Our goal is to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on staff and others, while supporting MIT’s research and teaching mission in a safe and reasonable way in alignment with evolving MIT policies through a dynamic public health situation. Therefore, some details of exact services offered won’t be available until early January; please be in touch with your supervisor if you have any questions, insights, or suggestions.
  5. Stay vigilant, protect yourself and others:
    1. Please continue to use the Covid App to attest to any possible symptoms, including sniffles, coughs, tickly throats, and other typical cold-like symptoms. After attesting, MIT Medical will contact you and you should follow their guidance. Also contact your supervisor to discuss relevant schedule changes.
    2. Always wear a high quality, well-fitting mask indoors - on campus and everywhere. KF94 masks are available for free at MIT Covid test drop off locations.
    3. Limit the time spent eating/drinking indoors, around others, without masks. Consider using straws (reusable if that works for you) for indoor drinking.
    4. Please continue to report any violations of MIT’s Covid policies to the MIT Covid Hotline.

We hope this message finds you getting ready to get some well-deserved rest during the Winter Break. Please unplug and may the only spice you receive be something along the lines of cinnamon and cloves or a rewatch of Dune in the comfort of your own couch surrounded by the animals and people you love.

Best,

Stephanie and Kim on behalf of
EMGMT

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/Sp1sjyzhlRSgJ6epECmTeS-pU4RvW3usC2owkGPDtTx1IXiJksP6yerv37G6FTzww-ddKzWeQtxj6f47LQa_OUAY8l92X9nVQcXf5bTHSP2RFUnwSNjujCXQz1OZfIJNiyZGp4-v

 

 

December 21, 2021 Email from Chris Bourg

Dear colleagues,

In response to the evolving public health situation, especially the rapid transmission of the Omicron variant, MIT has developed plans for a modified version of January IAP. These plans are designed to mitigate the impact and spread of Covid-19, especially the Omicron variant, while still supporting academic and business continuity for MIT.

While we can expect communication on MIT-wide changes soon, I want to share Libraries-specific plans with you now. 

  • For all staff, beginning tomorrow and thru January 28, plan to work remotely where feasible. In other words, work that can be done remotely, should be done remotely. 
  • Please work with your supervisor to determine your January flexwork schedule. New, or revised, flexwork forms do not have to be completed at this time.
  • The Libraries will adopt a “Mostly Remote, plus Delivery” services posture for January IAP, as described below. Managers will work with staff to adjust individual work schedules as appropriate to support this approach.

In broad strokes, our plans for Libraries services and spaces over January IAP, starting on January 3, 2022 are as follows:

  • 24/7 spaces in Hayden, Barker, and Dewey will remain available to MIT Covid pass holders
  • Other than 24/7 spaces above, Libraries will be closed to patrons, December 24, 2021 - January 28, 2022
  • All online resources and services will remain available, including activating Controlled Digital Lending for print items with existing digital copies
  • By-request digitization will be available for general and distinctive print collections
  • Suggested purchases will be available for items without a digital copy
  • Early in IAP, we will expand our book delivery to include all campus addresses (dorms included) and US/Canada home addresses
  • Libraries IAP workshops and classes, or classes or events that are scheduled to be in Libraries spaces, should be limited to those that are important to students’ academic and professional advancement, and should be done remotely if possible 
  • The DDC Reading room will be closed
  • Research consultations will be conducted remotely

We plan to update our website with this information as soon as possible, and all staff are welcome to share this information with MIT patrons. Signage will be posted at all Libraries locations.

Many more details will be forthcoming  from MIT and from the Libraries’ leadership and management teams, but the most important messages right now are:

  • Your supervisor will work  with you now so that you can prepare to work remotely starting tomorrow, Wednesday, December 22nd if feasible. 
  • Continue to wear a high-quality, well-fitting mask when indoors (MIT is making KN94/95 masks available at test drop-off locations)
  • If you have any Covid-19 symptoms, including mild symptoms that feel like the common cold or the flu, attest to them via the Covid App immediately; regardless of whether you are working remotely or on-campus. This is critical to MIT’s mitigation efforts.
  • Vaccine boosters should be registered in Covid-Pass by January 14, 2022. If your final vaccine date does not allow you to be boosted by this date, your Covid-Pass date will automatically recalculate to allow you to remain in compliance.

I remain hopeful that the modified IAP plans and the layers of mitigation strategies in place at MIT will keep all of us as safe and healthy as possible. 

MIT is in contact with union representatives for our represented staff.

Thanks for your continued flexibility and vigilance. If you have any questions, please address them to your supervisor or to the Emergency Management Team at emgmt-lib@mit.edu.

Best,

Chris

Chris Bourg, PhD (she, her)

Director, MIT Libraries

 

December 6, 2021 Email from Lisa Horowitz

Hi, friends,

Today’s weather may throw us off our winter stride, but MIT still looks forward to Winterfest 2021. If you haven’t been, it is when President Reif and Mrs. Reif invite you to enjoy a seasonal treat in a campus-wide celebration of winter. 

I start with that because if you look at the attached slides from the 12/3 Covid-19 Response Call, you might think that MIT is having a blizzard …


Today’s message from the Emergency Management Team 

  1. Although there has been a spike in positive COVID cases, it was anticipated to follow the Thanksgiving break, and as of Friday, the positive rate was 0.27% for the campus -- still really low. Check out the dashboard to see the ebbs and flows.

The key drivers of transmissions are off-campus social engagements and COVID-positive family members.

  1. Avoid the flu -- there are cases of people having the flu and COVID at the same time. MIT Medical encourages people to get a flu shot.

  1. Booster shots:
    • The COVID booster shot is not currently required for students, faculty or staff, unless you are participating in MIT-sponsored travel. Keep in mind that this includes professional development travel. 
    • If you have received your booster, you can upload your information into COVID pass.

  1. Sick time due to vaccinations or COVID boosters should be considered COVID sick time. 
    • Non-exempt staff will see this option when reporting sick leave. 
    • Exempt staff should report leave to a supervisor who will keep the information separately (not recorded in Atlas).
    • MIT’s COVID sick time is currently available through Dec. 31, 2021.

  1. Finally, and perhaps most important! Attestation should be done honestly. If you have any symptoms, report in the COVID app. MIT Medical has been responding quickly, and has been successful at catching cases before people come to campus. 

Senior leadership on campus is very appreciative of people’s adhering to the indoor masking and no tailgating rules. Gentle encouragement can be used to enforce compliance (they agreed to do these things when they attest each day!), or you can always use the hotline to report a situation. Personally, today I saw four people enter building 14 in a row and every single person tapped in. 

Best,

Lisa

For the EMGT team

Full text of emails from the Emergency Management Team

November 8, 2021 Email from Stephanie Richardson

Friends,

Here are the quick notes you need to know about today’s EMGMT meeting.

We discussed the following topics:

  • Hayden security threat: While not a COVID issue, Libraries want to determine what information or processes we need in order to be able to handle future emergency issues. A review will be held to test assumptions about working in our renewed space and identify escalation paths/service responses both internally and with other MIT offices such as IS&T and Facilities.
  • Post-Thanksgiving COVID-19 testing log jam avoidance
    • Managers are encouraged to coordinate scheduling of employees to work remotely on Monday and Tuesday following Thanksgiving to support testing load balancing. 
      • Departments are handling this according to the work needs, so please check in with your supervisor if you are unsure about what is expected of you.
    • If you are on site on Monday/Tuesday following the holiday break:
      • You just need to test & attest: there is no special post-travel testing process
      • Consider performing your attestation the night before to avoid the techno-lag
      • If you are testing in the trailers, leave yourself plenty of time to stand in line

I hope you all have a great Monday, even with the time change!

Stephanie

 

September 14, 2021 Email from Maria Rodrigues

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.

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/z_5OAcWgnWFvzJnu_F2NMopy5cllbE_zQCxfsILHEC_jlhlL3qitFrRfFyIqV-Nqa_HJyQtjQI_i1WMdmTr4Qx7MA7PeY0tWPx6gOBenJFTKD3VCKnNzKx6QssnfWELTlqsQnbJC=s0

There are two updates from the Emergency Management Team: 

  1. Following both reporting on the MIT Hotline and escalation to MIT leadership from the EMGMT team, new, consistent signage was hung this week in NE36 restating the building policy for masking.  Masks are mandatory in all NE36 in common areas. This applies to MIT, Biogen, and any other individuals in the building and includes the lobby, loading dock, and elevators.  Please continue to report mask issues to the hotline. The Institute’s current face coverings policy is available here. 
  2. MIT Medical issued the following statement on August 11 to all staff via email in relation to feeling unwell.

“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 lib-hr@mit.edu

Thanks, Maria for the Emergency Management Team

 

August 30, 2021 Email from Heather Yager

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:

  • Attached to this email, you’ll find the slide deck from MIT’s 8am “Keeping the Campus Healthy” presentation, by Cecila Stuopis, Ian Waitz, et al., which is the source for much of the info that follows.
  • MIT Medical conducted 20,000 COVID tests last week, with only a .06 positive rate.  Similarly encouraging, the MIT student population will be 99% vaccinated by the end of this week!  Go MIT!
  • Campus COVID testing rates continue to be extremely high, compared to our peers - MIT is testing folks who work on campus once per week, and folks who reside on campus twice per week! Go MIT!
  • All buildings on campus (including leased spaces - see section below) have had their HVAC units assessed, tuned up, and/or adjusted as needed, so that all ventilation units work as designed.
  • From the morning COVID community calls, we learned that the majority of outbreaks in our community happen when folks eat together, indoors, for a duration of more than 15 minutes.  More on this (including risk mitigation strategies) in the sections below...
  • And, Tim Tickets will be released for individuals this week, with more to come soon!

Helpful reminders for all individuals working on campus:

  • Because the majority of outbreaks in our community happen when folks eat together indoors for periods of longer than 15 minutes, our best tactics to protect ourselves are 1) avoid eating together indoors for periods of longer than 15 minutes, and 2) wear a well-fitting mask at all times, when not actually putting food into our mouths.  
  • Here are some links to MIT’s criteria for cloth face coverings and information on well-fitting masks.  
  • Eating in cubicles is also not recommended, generally - we should look to eat in designated facilities, such as kitchens or breakrooms, or outdoors when possible. You may also book a closed indoor space in which to eat, such as a conference room, vacant office, or similar area.  If you’re having difficulty finding a space to eat, please work with your supervisor to find a solution. 

Helpful reminders that are specific to the Libraries:

  • Ventilation in leased spaces (such as NE36)...
    • has been thoroughly reviewed by MIT Facilities, and meets or exceeds air quality standards followed by MIT (including restrooms and elevators), and MIT Facilities leadership visit these spaces on a weekly basis for continued monitoring.  You can find more info at the MIT Facilities FAQ http://web.mit.edu/facilities/about/covid-faq.html
    • MIT’s COVID hotline (https://hotline.mit.edu/) can also be used in relation to leased spaces like NE36 in addition to MIT-owned spaces - contacting the hotline will ensure your question, request, or concern gets to the right folks for action.  
    • Special note: Maria and the Libraries facilities team will be working with Biogen to increase signage around the elevators at 105 Broadway (aka NE36), reminding building residents of mask requirements in common areas.
  • The porch between Lewis and courtyard…
    • is considered indoor space, and all indoor mask requirements still apply in this area, even when the windows are open!
  • Our new on-campus pets policy (no pets…) will go into effect on Sept 1.
  • If folks are not complying with indoor mask policies...
    • In the case of patrons: You’re encouraged and empowered to remind them of the policy. Our goal is to ensure that everyone is complying indoors, so if possible, our best tactic (if someone is unmasked, or improperly masked) is to give them a quick nod and point to our own masks, or directly remind them of the policy.  If you’re in a situation where you’ve asked someone to comply with the mask policy and they are refusing to do so, you can ask them to leave, and then use the MIT hotline to report the incident.
    • In the case of fellow staff: please use the hotline as before.
  • And finally, Karrie Peterson, Jennie Murack, Alex McGee and a broader team will be working together to create some guidelines related to remote and in-person teaching in library spaces during the fall semester - we have noticed some positive trends related to remote teaching in particular (with high attendance!) and the team will be using what we’ve learned from these remote teaching experiences to guide the Libraries through the fall.  More to come on this in an upcoming update!

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-monitoringYou can even contribute citizen science data at the Mystic Herring Website!  

Cheers all,

Heather, on behalf of the Libraries’ Emergency Management Team

 

Full text of emails from the Emergency Management Team

July 19, 2021 Email from Tracy Gabridge

Hello everybody,

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

 

Full text of emails from the Emergency Management Team

June 7, 2021 Email from Brigham Fay

Hi everyone,

 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

  • If you are accessing campus intermittently and it has been more than 14 days since your last negative test, you no longer have to get a negative test result before returning to campus. You can test on the day you come to campus.
  • Eating and drinking inside can be done in groups of 4 or fewer people if they can maintain a distance of 6 feet. This is limited to 20 minutes.
  • Staff who are in the COVID Pass system can now access campus buildings (that you would have had access to in pre-COVID times) at any COVID Pass access point.

 

Libraries policies: What’s not changing

  • Library spaces will continue to be closed to patrons -- with the exception of the Dewey and Barker 24/7 spaces, which are being used as student touchdown spaces -- until the fall term (exact opening date TBD).
  • While Institute guidelines around visitors have relaxed somewhat, the Libraries will continue to limit visitors to vendors who need to be on campus, and the process for approving them and escorting them will remain the same.
  • Staff working entirely/primarily from home -- While we understand that some staff who are currently remote might prefer to work in their campus office space, access to campus will continue to be limited to library staff who are essential to maintaining our current level of service or will be involved in ramping up services and preparing library spaces for the fall. The DMC will coordinate the processes that guide the ramp up and continue to manage library staff campus access.

 

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.

 

Best,

Brigham, on behalf of the Emergency Management Team

 

May 24, 2021 Email from Shannon Hunt

Hi Everyone,

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 Now

  • Team addition
    • We welcomed Alex McGee to the Emergency Management Team and the Department Monitoring Committee representing the Department of Distinctive Collections!
  • Vaccine Status and MIT Access
    • All MIT employees should have reported vaccine status by May 23rd. Please do so if you haven’t already.
    • The Covid attestation form has changed to be more streamlined. If your vaccine status is in the system, you won’t need to answer further questions about vaccination on the form.
    • Regular Covid testing will continue for those accessing campus but is likely to be more convenient moving forward for vaccinated staff.
  • The Barker 24/7 space opened as a touchdown space and is now in active use. Touchdown spaces are regulated through the Covid Pass system and are not managed or monitored by Libraries’ staff.

Happening as of June 1st

  •  Visitor Access
    •   Visitor access to indoor MIT space is extremely limited and discouraged through the summer. As of 6/1, visitors will be allowed at MIT outdoor spaces if accompanied by someone who is in Covid Pass and up to date on Covid Pass requirements. Visitors MUST follow all MIT Covid policies while on campus and cannot access any campus buildings, including to use restrooms. Updated guidance on visitors in the fall will be forthcoming.

Happening as of June 7th

  •  Indoor guideline changes
    • Based on MIT Medical guidance, small groups of 4 or fewer can eat indoors 6 feet away from each other. Multiple groups need 8 feet distance from other groups. Eating time is limited to 20 minutes.
    • Capacity limits in indoor spaces (where there is no eating or drinking) are lifted and there will be no prescription for social distancing. This includes restrooms and elevators. Signage will be posted for any exceptions to this policy.
    • MIT ID connected access points will continue, but staff in Covid Pass will be able to enter at any access point that was previously unrestricted to them.

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 

  • MIT parking rules return to registered, paid parkers only in campus lots.

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

  • The CDC recommends non-vaccinated people wear masks in indoor settings, and everyone to wear masks in schools, healthcare settings, and public transit (see above re: my specific orange line trauma and why masking is still a good idea regardless of vaccine status). Employers can enact their own policies, so again, masks are required indoors for everyone at MIT until further notice regardless of vaccine status.
  • Statistics Overview (see below for more detailed information)
    • In Massachusetts, more than 70% of adults have gotten at least one Covid-19 vaccination. Other states to reach this milestone include Rhode Island, Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New Jersey, and Hawai’i.
    • Overall, 81% of current students, staff, and affiliates accessing campus have received at least 1 Covid-19 vaccine dose.
    • There have been zero positive Covid tests at MIT in the past 7 days (air horn sound effect)

For More Information on MA/Cambridge/CDC guidance

Massachusetts press release re: lifting all restrictions May 29th:

https://www.mass.gov/news/baker-polito-administration-to-lift-covid-restrictions-may-29-state-to-meet-vaccination-goal-by-beginning-of-june

Massachusetts new mask requirements:

https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-mask-requirements

Cambridge press release re: following the Commonwealth:

https://www.cambridgema.gov/covid19/News/2021/05/cityofcambridgetoliftremainingcovid19restrictions

CDC guidance: 

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated-guidance.html

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/pdfs/choosingSaferAct.pdf

MIT Vaccine Statistics

Shannon Hunt

 

May 3, 2021 Email from Avery Boddie

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: 

 

  • Some upcoming requirements from the institution for staff:
  1. Effective May 24th, all members of the MIT Community will be required to report their vaccination status. (Note that this is not a requirement for staff to be vaccinated.)

 

  1. A new COVID Vaccine App is scheduled to go live soon. You can now report your vaccination status there or in the Atlas app. Also you may upload your completed vaccination card at any time at covidvaccine.mit.edu 

 

  1. If you are in COVID Pass and accessing campus, and have yet not shared your current status by May 23rd then starting on May 24th COVID Pass will prompt you for this information before you can access campus.
  2. Be on the lookout for an email from MIT soon that will spell out these staff requirements in greater detail.

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: 

https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/press-briefings/2021/04/27/press-briefing-by-white-house-covid-19-response-team-and-public-health-officials-32/   

04/27 MA Plans for continued reopening: 

https://www.mass.gov/news/baker-polito-administration-announces-plans-for-continued-reopening 

04/29 City of Cambridge moves to Phase IV: 

https://www.cambridgema.gov/covid19/News/2021/04/citymaskandphase4  

https://www.cambridgema.gov/-/media/Files/citymanagersoffice/COVID19/coccovid_19fourthamendedmaskorder_042921.pdf 

-- 

 

Full test of emails from the Emergency Management Team

April 26, 2021 Email from Beverly Turner

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:

  • The CDC has made a formal announcement acknowledging there is a very low risk (less than 1 in 10,000) of contracting the virus from touching a contaminated surface. While our initial practices of quarantining materials were informed by the OCLC REALM project, the CDC announcement provides the opportunity to revisit this process.  Alexia and Felicity will coordinate a discussion with the IDLA Leads to determine appropriate timing for next steps regarding IDLA’s process with quarantining materials and partner with the IDLA team on the potential workflow impacts. Coordination on sanitization processes and alignment with the quarantining guidance from other partnering entities will be considered. 
  • We briefly discussed how library spaces are being used on campus, both by staff and users, and how we can communicate that to staff. Examples include touchdown spaces, and other library spaces being used in different ways due to the pandemic. 
  • Fall planning: how are we planning our return to campus, Emergency Management Team’s role in this work, and how can we communicate these efforts. SRLT is doing this work and can coordinate with EMT to utilize the communication channels in place to help share our fall planning efforts.

Happy spring,

Beverly, on behalf of the Emergency Management Team

Full test of emails from the Emergency Management Team

April 12, 2021 Email from Steve Stowe

Hello Everyone,

 

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

Policy updates!

 

Steve Stowe on Behalf of the EMT

Full test of emails from the Emergency Management Team

April 5, 2021 Email from Lisa Horowitz

Hi, library folks,

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:

  • MIT community members who have traveled outside of Massachusetts for more than 24 hours and who reside or work on campus must be tested for Covid through a PCR test immediately upon their return. Individuals authorized to test using Covid Pass may take this test through MIT’s testing operations at Johnson Athletic Center or MIT Medical.
  • Quarantine at home until receiving a negative test result. Employees who can work remotely are expected to do so during this quarantine period; employees who cannot work remotely may use any of their remaining Covid-19 sick time while quarantining and waiting for the result.
    • After receiving the negative result and returning to campus, community members will return to their normal testing cadence and continue to follow all Covid-19 safety procedures, including wearing masks and practicing social distancing.
  • Persons who have been completely vaccinated for Covid-19, having waited two weeks since their second dose of either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines or two weeks after their single dose of the Janssen (Johnson and Johnson) vaccine — and who do not have symptoms — can return to their residence or work site immediately. They should test on their first day back but do not need to quarantine while they wait for a negative test result and so should resume work on site.
    • After the test on the first day back to campus or at the work site, these individuals will also return to their normal testing cadence and continue to follow all Covid-19 safety procedures, including wearing masks and practicing social distancing.

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

 

March 29, 2021 Email from Alexia Hudson-Ward

Hello everyone:

The Emergency Team met today and discussed the following details for staff regarding the upcoming summer months:

  1. The Libraries COVID-19 business travel policy will remain until further notice: all domestic and international travel is suspended.

  1. All Libraries staff are requested to continue to register their personal travel. 

  1. Libraries staff are encouraged to check the Commonwealth's COVID-19 travel advisory website to stay informed of potential changes related to travel - at the local, regional, national, and international levels. 

*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

 

 

March 15, 2021 Email from Sue Kriegsman

Hi all,

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.

TL;DR

  • Message from President Reif about residential campus life in the fall
  • Libraries will not add additional services to campus at least until the end of May
  • We encourage you to complete the voluntary pulse survey that was emailed this morning from the MIT Council on Family and Work
  • Emergency Management Team emails available on libguides will change storage formats

More detail:

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. 

Best,

Sue, on behalf of the Emergency Management Team

 

February 22, 2021 Email from Maria Rodrigues

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/eO7DeIoZZP97GP2QAKFQjsciryrXhHrS1fzPlXf0C1-7i73FoqOI4EZ5P-PUsTEReSLmjiPPbFSqX6n8xqZo8T9p6eBlysedvwFipwKj9vGgAHtAOzghP7o_H4kUGyOoD-fT7swh

Good Morning Everyone,

Just a few quick updates and a reminder in the message today.

  • Reminder: Today we have our All-Staff Meeting at 3pm!
    • Here is the agenda:
      • Updates from Chris (10 minutes)
      • Suzanne Blake, Director, MIT Emergency Management (20 minutes)
      • Social time (15 minutes - optional)
  • We have received our Flammable Storage Cabinets (see image)!  This will hold our gallon jugs of hand sanitizer and disinfectant so they are safely tucked away. One of these is going to each of these locations: Barker, Dewey, New Hayden, DDC, Resource Sharing/Scanning Lab, Music, LSA, NE36 and the Wunsch Lab.  Delivery will be this Wednesday and supervisors can let you know where they are placed in each location.
  • We have updated some language in the email we send to all staff going on to campus for a one-time visit.   Managers will receive an email today outlining their responsibility to review the letter with any staff approved for one-time access.  The Libraries staff COVID page has a link to the general process for one-time access.
  • As MIT brings more students back to campus they are piloting using the FSILGs as a housing option. FSILG (Fraternity, Sorority and Independent Living Groups) are not on campus and do not get the same campus mail services as dorms do. Maria is reaching out for a list of these addresses so we can ship to these students via UPS.
  • Staff who regularly work on campus have been notified by their managers of the impacts to testing lines that may be caused by the extension of Q week.

Stay warm!

Maria for the Emergency Management Team 

 

February 8, 2021 Email from Heather Yager

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! 

  • We’re encouraging everyone to take a moment to fill out MIT’s COVID-19 Vaccination Survey - whether you’re planning on receiving the vaccine from MIT Medical or not, filling out the survey will help MIT immensely in planning ahead for vaccine distributions (and only takes a minute).  
  • Pre-COVID, we never had to manage so many gallon jugs of 75% alcohol cleaning solution in our spaces!  So that we can continue to adhere to MIT’s fire safety guidelines when it comes to managing and storing flammable materials onsite (like gallon jugs of hand sanitizer!), we have ordered fire-safe cabinets for each of our on-campus locations, for safe storage of flammables. Supervisors and managers can contact Maria Rodrigues with questions!
  • And, a reminder that you can always access updated information about the Libraries’ COVID-19 response at our UPDATED COVID-19 page on the Libraries’ Staff Web. There, you will find the full text of all of our update emails, committee membership, great links to MIT’s COVID-19 pages, and more.  If you have questions or suggestions related to this page, you can direct them to a member of the Emergency Management Response Team (conveniently listed on the same page!).
  • Finally, a brief update - we’ll be moving our next all-lib meeting to Monday, February 22nd from 3-4pm, so that Suzanne Blake, MIT’s Emergency Management Director, can join us to share updates and answer questions.  Suzanne offered to come chat with us as follow-up to the 12/8 Tell Us Question about ramp down planning for on-campus work.  Please add questions in this Google doc by Thursday, 2/18 and we’ll share them with Suzanne in advance.

Thank you all, and stay warm,

Heather

 

Full text of emails from the Emergency Management Team

January 25, 2021 Email from Felicity Walsh

Greetings all,

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. https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/WV-asyzk6GN6RUH-YjtkiD7e8etOl__rmscxPr5VLH8RxN79mkLHuoXk6Drx3Xs8KczOWdwInbLlwaCrDAj4uNXDdF5oHWzd97n2f5YFtnpIlFsoLbgPvGPdNu_WJUSuaos4echx

-> 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:

  • Ongoing efforts to monitor and track compliance are underway to both maintain staff safety and report out to the Institute. Happily, we usually have very little to report 
  • The Libraries’ Lib Guide page on COVID 19 is being reviewed and will be revised to provide the most up-to-date and pertinent information.

-> 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

 

January 4, 2021 Email from Tracy Gabridge

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! 

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/x0CjQNhW8ex9j3UnDW3atCfkqevickJAg0j4gS48vrtBChuszKEZ8o3ZwPKUNma7nQaFQ14ncOOhVqsQ1Q0EhXRC6KeSFvpzCv1k7Mrs_nf5lAgG-uSMFgExjSOen0hMMe0tYgrn

We have a flurry of updates about testing, vaccines, and space guidelines to share with all.


Relevant for everybody:

  • Prior to the holidays, the Institute provided a COVID vaccine update - Essentially the message is that MIT Medical has been making plans for when vaccines are made available to the MIT community and they will be following state guidelines for distribution and prioritization.  The update also shares that while the general vaccine distribution timeline to members of the MIT community is not yet known, if you have access to it via your healthcare provider, you should pursue that possibility.

For folks who work regularly on campus:

  • The winter break was a very welcome time off, but did have some impacts on testing timing for returning to campus.  Everybody who regularly works on campus should have received a message from the COVIDPass system that shared: 

“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.

  • Updated temporary state guidelines on office spaces

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