Indoor masking optional at UMass, required at other colleges as semester begins

Smith’s policy will be similar to Amherst College’s, where a requirement for masks to be worn in all indoor locations resumed this week. That will remain in effect through Sept. 12, with the lone exceptions to this rule being inside residence halls and when an individual is alone in a private office with the door closed.

“We fully anticipate moving to a more relaxed masking protocol once we are past the first few weeks of the semester,” wrote Catherine Epstein, provost and dean of the faculty, Liz Agosto, chief student affairs officer and dean of students, and Kate Harrington, chief human resources officer. “That decision will be made based on the prevalence of the virus on campus at that time and communicated prior to Sept. 12.”

At Mount Holyoke College, Beverly Daniel Tatum, interim president, sent a letter to the community about its rules.

“Masks will be required inside all campus buildings from Aug. 21 through Sept. 16 while the campus quickly densifies. Students need not wear a mask in their residence hall room,” Tatum wrote.

Masks will not be required outdoors in most cases, but should cases on campus or in the county change, they might be necessary.

Of the private instutitions, only Hampshire College is committed to keeping masks as a prevention strategy all fall, with President Ed Wingenbach and the COVID Response Team writing that this could be relaxed a bit after Sept. 10, depending on falling case counts.

“Masks will be required in all classes, labs, and other mandatory indoor academic activities, throughout the fall semester,” Wingenbach wrote. “Masks must be worn by everyone at indoor campus events open to the public, throughout the fall semester.”

Source: Indoor masking optional at UMass, required at other colleges as semester begins