Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,
As you may know, the CDC and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health recently issued new guidance for masking and the City of Springfield has ended its mask mandate effective today, February 28th. In light of this decision and based on our high rate of individuals with up-to-date vaccinations (including boosters) and current declining COVID-19 positivity rates, masks are now optional in certain indoor spaces on campus.
Anyone who feels more comfortable wearing a mask should do so and we ask our broader community to work together to ensure that we can achieve a supportive environment on campus. We recommend that individuals wear masks in any crowded indoor setting and for anyone with a weakened immune system, or anyone at increased risk for severe disease because of age or an underlying medical condition.
Updated Masking Protocol:
Masking remains required in all indoor locations for individuals without up-to-date vaccines (including those eligible for but not boosted).
Any individual in days 6-10 of COVID-19 isolation following a negative retest must wear a high quality mask at all times, other than when in a private residence hall room/apartment.
For those with up-to-date vaccinations (including boosters), masks are:
Required where posted, including in any office, campus location or event.
Required in classrooms, for all class-based activities, and in academic buildings, offices, and rooms.
Required in the Learning Commons, East Campus buildings, and healthcare service settings (including the Health Center, Counseling Center, and Athletic Training rooms).
Optional in other indoor locations on campus for individuals with up-to-date vaccines (including boosters), such as in residence halls, during recreational activities at the field house, wellness center, and PE complex, at Athletics events, in administrative offices and buildings, and at the Campus Union.
We encourage everyone to have a high-quality mask on hand at all times to use as needed. We continue to have N95 and KN95 masks available for students available at the following locations:
Student Union front desk
Learning Commons first floor circulation desk
Wellness Center front desk
Employees may pick up masks at any of these locations, as well as from Human Resources. Academic departments also have masks available for student, faculty, and staff use.
We are hopeful that COVID-19 infection rates on campus and in our surrounding community continue to decline, but we will continue to evaluate and adjust our protocols accordingly based on the guidelines of the CDC, local public health departments, and our own positivity rate. We are pleased to move closer to a sense of normalcy while simultaneously doing our part to keep ourselves and others safe and healthy.
Slandie Dieujuste, PhD
Vice President for Student Affairs
Elizabeth Morgan, PhD
Interim Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs