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MechE Research Ramp-up Phase 2 Webform

The Institute has started the process of moving to Research Ramp-up Phase 2. Phase 2 differs from Phase 1 in two major ways: a) Higher density of people in research spaces (new Exercise A) and b) Allowing more research capacity/hours (new Exercise B), and,

c) As of 8/20/2020, the Institute now is also allowing Office Spaces to be occupied, in addition to Research Spaces.

This updated MechE Phase 2 Webform is to help our PIs and community collect and provide the new data required by MIT. The webform is dynamic and allows our research community to be efficient. As the covid-19 situation evolves, every PI can adapt her/his specific plans by revisiting this webform and updating her/his own data and answers. Similarly, as you provide new inputs or if the Institute updates its ramp-up guidance, we will update.

You can still find health and safety considerations here, as well as additional MechE guidelines.

Office Spaces

The Office of the VP of Research has announced that Office Spaces are now allowed to be occupied as part of the Research Ramp-up plans.

Please note: MIT is still operating under the guidance that “every MIT member who can work successfully from home will need to continue doing so.” The use of office spaces is therefore intended for situations where being in that space is truly necessary, such as:

  • Need to access items or facilities that can only be used at the office (a large collection of books, secure data/computing, other equipment or resources). Note that, where possible, individuals should be encouraged to use our MechE Covid Access one-time access process to retrieve items that can be taken home.
  • Needs associated with factors that make remote work difficult, such as caregiving responsibilities, inadequate internet access, etc.
  • Needs for those teaching in person to come to campus.

Office Occupancy Capacity (Space)

A minimum of 125 sf/person and 6-foot separation between individuals apply to each office room at this stage. This MIT rule is the same as for research lab spaces. In shared offices, masks or face coverings are required. Face coverings are recommended but not mandated in private offices when the door is closed.

If you plan to return to a shared office space, the PI in charge of the shared office space should complete an Exercise A (floorplan) for that shared space.

If you are only returning to a faculty office, and you plan to be the only static person in that office, you do *not* need to provide an Exercise A (floorplan) for your faculty office. However, please provide Exercise A floor plans for all other office spaces your group plans to utilize.

Instructions for completing Exercise A (floor plans) can be found here. We prepared a PDF of all floor plans with the square footage of each research and office room. You can find them in the Dropbox folder here. If a space that you plan to ramp-up is not yet there, please let us know at

Office Density (Personnel)

Office space plans must adhere to a maximum density of 50% of full capacity at all times at this stage (definition). PIs can assign themselves or others in their group hours in the Exercise B Spreadsheet to access office space. Hours assigned for office use will count towards the PI’s allocation of weekly total hours.

If you have already submitted an Exercise B (Personnel) Spreadsheet and want to also utilize your office spaces, you may need to update your Exercise B Spreadsheet to reflect changes in personnel hours. If this is the case, please re-upload the changed Exercise B Spreadsheet by updating your Submitted Phase 2 Webform.

If you have not yet submitted an Exercise B for Research Spaces in RR2, you will need to complete the Exercise B Planning Exercise (instructions here), using the MIT RR2 Planning Exercise B spreadsheet.

Research Spaces (Labs)

Allowing Higher Density of People in Research Spaces

In keeping with recently published Massachusetts guidelines related to the density of persons in indoor event spaces, the maximum density of research spaces (laboratory rooms, equipment rooms, Core Facilities, etc.) has been adjusted to 125 sf/person from 160 sf/person. PIs may update their RR1 Planning Exercise A floor plans accordingly (instructions here) and submit this MechE Phase 2 webform below for review and approval. PIs may also choose to maintain their space plans as they were in RR1 and not submit the Phase 2 webform.

PIs who did not participate in RR1 should first fill out this MechE Webform

Allowing More Research Capacity/Hours

On campus research capacity for Phase 2 will increase to 50% from 25% in Phase 1. If you wish to increase your research group’s on campus capacity to 50% (instructions here), please download and fill out the new MIT RR2 Planning Exercise B spreadsheet and, if you add new personnel, please write the updated narrative in the MechE webform entry accordingly. Both the new spreadsheet and narrative have to be submitted for approval.

Please note that:

  • Visiting students and scholars may be included IF they were full-time members of the research group in March 2020 with an MIT appointment.
  • Some undergraduates will be allowed to perform research in campus research buildings as part of RR2 in the fall semester. PIs should wait for further guidance before submitting updated spreadsheets for fall semester UROPs.

Please note that the Core Facilities dropdown menu has been updated to include additional core and teaching facilities.

Detailed Instructions and Examples

Core and Teaching Lab Spaces

To be able to ramp up to 50%, the leaders of Core or Teaching Lab Spaces are also asked to go through a planning process and submit Institute documents. The steps of the process are explained in this memo to DLCs. Please fill out the MechE Webform below to upload the Core/Teaching Exercise A and Exercise B. You will find the Core/Teaching File Upload fields just below the research RR2 fields. Please note that you may submit Exercises for both your Labs or Offices, and also for a Core or Teaching space using our MechE Webform.

Core and Teaching Lab Spaces are expected to adhere to the same density policies as Research Spaces (at least 125 sq ft per person, and 6 feet of distance between workstations).

If people returning to campus are already on an Exercise B (such as for a Research Lab), please do not add them again to this Core Exercise B. Only add the personnel of the core spaces. All other person can request access to your Core Space on their Lab's Exercise B.

Detailed Instructions and Examples

  • Core Planning Exercise A (Space)
    • We prepared PDF floorplans with the square footage of many MechE rooms. You can find them in the Dropbox folder here. If the Core space that you plan to ramp-up is not yet there, please let us know at
  • Core Planning Exercise B (Personnel)
    • Detailed Instructions for Core Planning Exercise B can be found locally in this document here.
    • You can download the Core Exercise B Spreadsheet (Excel) here. Please note, this is a different Exercise B from the Research RR2 Exercise B spreadsheet.

The mechanisms for access by personnel via the COVID Access and COVID Pass systems are unchanged relative to Phase 1. Any newly returning personnel will be required to undergo an MIT Medical SARS-CoV-2 viral test, and all personnel will be required to undergo periodic testing as well. Details of the regular surveillance testing will be released soon. Please note that all participants in the research ramp-up are required at all times to wear masks or face coverings, practice physical distancing, and perform frequent handwashing. Additional guidance on health and safety considerations are available here

At this time, the return to campus research continues to be voluntary. With the opening of indoor spaces in the Commonwealth, researchers should expect the voluntary nature of returning to campus research activity to transition to a “return if needed” in the coming weeks. At that time, guidance will be provided to those who are unable or unwilling to come to campus. MIT will maintain the practice of allowing individuals who are able to work at home to continue to do so.

The Institute reminds us that: (1) No PI will be able to ramp up their research to 50% without completing their RR2 plans and having those plans approved by their DLC. (2) Core facilities still need to submit a RR2 core plan.