Covid-19 Info Center

March 14, 2020

Message to staff from President Reif

To every member of MIT’s staff,

Last night, I wrote to the faculty to emphasize the extraordinary efforts of MIT staff in confronting the Covid-19 crisis – and now I want to share my admiration with all of you.

This extremely unusual situation is pushing each of us to respond, personally and professionally, with utmost flexibility, inventiveness, foresight, sympathy and patience. Through thousands of decisions big and small, all of you have been preparing yourselves, your units and the Institute to rise to the challenge before us – even as the challenge itself changes shape every day and even by the hour. I am immensely grateful for all you are doing to take care of MIT, and especially for all the ways you are caring for each other, our students, the public health, your families and, I sincerely hope, yourselves.

At this particular moment, I also want to celebrate the many staff across MIT who have worked directly to help our undergraduates manage the complex logistics, academic uncertainty and tumultuous emotions of their sudden departure from campus. These are the same smart, kind, caring, highly trained experts who, on a normal day, come to work expressly to help our students handle some of their most difficult personal struggles. We all count on them to provide our students with this vital support and care.

In the face of a public health crisis unprecedented in our lifetimes, these same staff have been working non-stop, with astonishing diligence and creativity, to help achieve the best outcomes possible for individual students – while protecting all of us who remain on campus and supporting MIT’s commitment to help slow down the spread of this highly infectious and dangerous disease.

To me, this is pure MIT – facing a situation of such great uncertainty with wisdom, courage and kindness. It is a tremendous consolation to know that we can count on this spirit in the difficult days ahead.

To everyone involved: I cannot begin to express my deep thanks, respect and admiration – both for your work itself and for the example you have set for us all. It fills me with both pride and hope. 

This crisis is testing every one of us, as it is nearly every system in the Institute and across society. We are all learning – and from what I have seen so far, I have immense faith that our community will continue to respond with wisdom and understanding, in ways that serve the Institute and the wider world.

With warm and sincere appreciation,

Rafael Reif