UMass announces mask mandate for beginning of fall semester, vaccine requirement for faculty

96 percent of domestic undergraduate and graduate students are vaccinated

Ana+Pietrewicz+%2F+Daily+Collegian

Ana Pietrewicz / Daily Collegian

By Alex Genovese, Assistant News Editor

Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy announced a mask mandate for all indoor public spaces for both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals in an email to students of the University of Massachusetts on Monday.

In the email, Subbaswamy said the new mask mandate is “in concert with new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, issued in response to the concerning Delta variant.” He also added that “recent scientific evidence that finds fully vaccinated people infected with the Delta variant can potentially spread the virus to others.”

The new mask mandate will begin on Wednesday, August 11, and be reviewed mid-September, according to the email.

The UMass COVID-19 FAQ page was updated to reflect the requirement, while offering more information on questions involving masks.

“Face coverings must be worn in nearly all indoor public spaces, including classrooms, hallways, elevators, restrooms, break rooms, entries and exits to buildings, laboratories, meeting rooms, shared offices and work areas,” reads the website. The FAQ page also included dining halls (except when eating), residence halls and the rec center as places where masks were required.

The page also laid out instances for which masks were not required. They include “in personal offices when alone, in research spaces when alone, when eating in the dining halls or other campus eateries, in residence hall rooms when alone or with a roommate, outdoors, for children under the age of 2, and for anyone with a medical condition that prevents the use of a face covering.” In order to document that medical condition, students need to request an accommodation through the Disability Services Office.

Faculty and staff are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19, which he added “follows agreements reached in recent days with our labor unions.” He further announced that 96 percent of domestic undergraduate and graduate students at UMass are already vaccinated. Additionally, he laid out a plan for international students to be vaccinated when they enter Amherst, if not already vaccinated.

UMass is currently operating a COVID-19 vaccine clinic, which has both appointments and walk-in times. On the website, it notes that they offer both Moderna and Pfizer vaccines while also noting that insurance is not required to get vaccinated.

Alex Genovese can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @alex_genovese1.