UA creates Committee on COVID-19 to advise MIT administration amid pandemic

The committee will hold virtual community hours every Wednesday and Saturday to gather student input

The Undergraduate Association (UA) has created a Committee on COVID-19 to “gauge and assess the vast range of situations facing individuals in the undergraduate community.” The committee will  make recommendations to MIT administrators in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to its charter on the UA website

The committee, chaired by Baptiste Bouvier ’22 and UA Vice President Yu Jing Chen ’22,  consists of 33 undergraduates. All undergraduates were invited May 18-23 to apply to join the committee. 

The charter states that the committee will “reach out to different community sectors and aggregate student concerns through active community engagement.”

The committee has gathered undergraduate feedback through a survey released June 21 on grading policy, academics, MIT administrators’ decision-making timeline, residential life, and international student concerns for the upcoming school year. 

The committee is also holding virtual “Community Hours” every Wednesday 7-8 p.m. EDT and Saturday 12-1 p.m. EDT to gather student input. 

The committee released its recommendations to Team 2020 on Fall 2020 Options June 6 and its preliminary recommendations to the Academic Policy and Regulations Team on Fall 2020 Grading Options June 25. 

Chen wrote in an email to undergraduates June 21 that the committee is writing a Privacy Report on “data privacy and surveillance concerns of public health measures” including contact tracing and a Preferred Timeline for Fall Decisions Report on “student timeline priorities” for fall semester decisions. 

Chen added that the committee plans to write reports on “compliance, the grading policy, and the emergency housing process” in the coming weeks. 

The committee’s charter states that it includes five “community sector” subcommittees (FSILG outreach, dorm outreach, student associations, international students outreach, and special situations), three “topic sector” subcommittees (academics, student support, and implementation policy and ethics), and three subcommittees for communications, long-term strategy, and policy reports. 

The special situations subcommittee addresses concerns faced by incoming first years and seniors, students living in emergency housing, and students living off-campus, the charter states. The implementation policy committee addresses issues such as “social distancing and public health guidelines, data privacy, and compliance measures” in policy implementation.

All subcommittees except for the communications and policy subcommittees hosted individual virtual town halls open to all undergraduates June 21-28. The committee hosted a discussion forum for undergraduates on fall grading policies June 29. 

The committee has encouraged living groups, student clubs, and athletic teams to hold “Community Conversations” on topics relevant to MIT’s fall decision-making, such as academics, housing, COVID-19 considerations, and the specific needs of their group. Groups can submit their discussion notes to the committee via an online form.

The committee is also responsible for maintaining and updating the UA Dropbox containing notes and recordings from MIT’s tri-weekly COVID-19 update meetings.  

According to the charter, the committee will be active until the end of the 2020-2021 academic year.

Students can provide feedback to the UA Committee on COVID-19 at or fill in an online form. Students can sign up for the committee’s newsletter via an online form.