Cambridge, Mass. (November 2) -- MIT today announced its plans for the spring 2021 semester in an email from MIT Chancellor Cynthia Barnhart. The plans will have a direct impact on the MIT Athletics winter seasons for varsity sports, as well as the other programming areas within the Department of Athletics, Physical Education and Recreation (DAPER).
As part of this announcement, MIT has canceled all winter varsity sports competition, which will impact men's and women's basketball, fencing, rifle, squash, men's and women's swimming and diving, and men's and women's indoor track and field.
In addition, the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Presidents Council voted unanimously to suspend conference play and championships for the 2020-21 winter sports season due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
"Due to the rising number of Covid-19 cases across the region and the country, we have made the difficult decision to cancel athletics competition for the upcoming winter sports season," said Dr. G. Anthony Grant, MIT director of athletics and DAPER department head. "As with every decision that we make here at MIT, we are doing so with the health and safety of our student-athletes and community at the forefront of our minds."
"We know this announcement will be disappointing to our winter sports student-athletes, but this decision is in the best interest of protecting their well-being and that of the whole MIT campus," said Suzy M. Nelson, vice president and dean for student life. "We will continue working together to keep Covid at bay in our community."
DAPER will hold a Town Hall for all winter and spring sports varsity student-athletes, club sport athletes and parents on Thursday, November 5 at 8 p.m. with Zoom information being sent soon to all of the winter and spring student-athletes. In addition to the Town Hall, a member of DAPER leadership will join an upcoming varsity team meeting to further discuss this decision and solicit feedback from student-athletes and coaches.
A decision about MIT spring sports will be made in coordination with the NCAA and the NEWMAC in January. While that decision is pending, student-athletes should be aware that MIT would not engage in competition under current Covid conditions. "We will continue to follow guidance from federal, state, and local public health authorities, along with MIT Medical, when making a determination on the spring sports seasons," Grant added.
As a result of today's announcement, all winter club sports competition and travel will also be cancelled. On-campus offerings for both club sports and intramurals will continue to be reviewed based on student demographics and health and safety guidelines, with programming being as extensive as possible within the parameters set forth.
For Physical Education and Wellness, the IAP session will run from January 4-February 3 and is planned to be remote. Both remote and in-person options are scheduled for Quarter 3 and Quarter 4. Quarter 3 will be from February 22-April 6 (first week remote for in-person classes), followed by Quarter 4 from April 12-May 20.
Recreation will continue to operate the indoor and outdoor facilities, with outdoor facility hours subject to change based on the weather conditions. DAPER facilities are currently open to students in Covid Pass and faculty and staff living on campus in Covid Pass. Hours of operation, new Covid-operating protocol, use capacity and details on accessing specific DAPER facilities, can be found on the reopening recreation web site.
In addition, Recreation will continue to offer a wide variety of virtual programming and activities for the MIT Community throughout the academic year.