UMass will lower campus risk level to ‘Elevated,’ with notable caveats

Access to remote courses at risk for students out of testing compliance

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McKenna Premus/Daily Collegian

By Will Katcher, Assistant News Editor

On Monday, the University of Massachusetts will lower its operational posture, a measure of COVID-19 risk level on campus, Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy announced by email Friday. The posture has been set to its highest mark for nearly two weeks as coronavirus cases spiked in throughout the campus community.

But while the risk status will be reduced from “High” to “Elevated,” allowing in-person classes to resume for students complying with twice-weekly testing, the announcement comes with a number of caveats.

Students failing to get tested will lose access to remote courses, as well as online learn platforms such as Moodle and Blackboard, Subbaswamy said.

Entering dining halls, students will be asked to show a green checkmark on their Campus Health Hub accounts, proving they are being tested.

Despite the restrictions, the lowered status will allow athletic teams to compete and practice. Students employed on-campus will be allowed to work if they are being tested. And the W.E.B. Du Bois Library will resume onsite services, such as curb-side pickup.

Other campus buildings, including the newly refurbished Student Union, will remain closed.

“For the great majority of our campus community who follow the required public health practices, I extend my thanks,” Subbaswamy wrote. “To others who disregard these protocols, I want to make clear that we expect, and will actively verify compliance.”

578 students had been referred to the Dean of Students Office since the New Year, Subbaswamy announced. Many of those students were reported for violating health and safety restrictions, the Daily Collegian reported last week.

“We stand at a critical juncture of the spring semester,” the chancellor said. “Having navigated an arduous two weeks, we must embrace our collective responsibility, comply with public health protocols and seize this promising but fragile opportunity to gradually resume more normal campus operations.”

“Other universities of our size in the region have managed to operate without uncontrolled surges and outbreaks. We can do it, too.”

Will Katcher can be reached at [email protected]