UMass implements stricter guidelines as COVID-19 cases rise

New email by Jeffery Hescock reveals new plan going forward

Executive Director of Health and Safety, Jeffrey Hescock, sent an email to the UMass community on Feb.5 about rising COVID-19 cases only two weeks into the spring semester. 

In the email, Hescock wrote, “Recent test results show 239 new positive (COVID-19) cases from February 1-3, with a growing positivity rate of 2.9%.”

With the rising number of cases, the operational posture of the campus has been changed to elevated. This means that there are a number of stricter rules students must follow.

  • No student gatherings of any size permitted on or off-campus
  • Campus Recreation Center limited to virtual activities
  • Dining grab-and-go service only (no in-person dining)
  • Building access restricted. Face-to-face instruction and research spaces remain open. No other student gatherings in buildings permitted. Campus Center and Student Union will be open for individual access, but no gatherings allowed.
  • Visitors are not allowed on campus. The prohibition on visitors to residence halls remains in place.

In-person classes will continue because data shows that classrooms are not where the virus has been transmitted. Transmission has also not been detected between students and university staff. Transmission is mostly prevalent among undergrads going to parties and not following social distancing and mask guidelines.

According to Hescock, adherence to these protocols must be followed to keep everyone safe.

Hescock ended the email with this, “It is imperative that every one of us follow proper protocols to help protect the community, and it is only by adhering to these practices that we can limit the spread of the virus and begin to resume more normal activities. We will continue to closely monitor the situation and will provide weekly updates to the campus community.”

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