Three Massachusetts Colleges Have Indefinite Mask Mandates In Place

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Three private colleges in Massachusetts have indefinite mask mandates in place.

Mount Holyoke College, Smith College, and Hampshire College have each extended their respective mask mandates until further notice in the past month.

Mount Holyoke made the announcement the most recently of the bunch. The school announced its indefinite mask mandate extension on Wednesday, September 28.

“I am sorry to say that because of the relatively high confirmed COVID-19 case counts on campus (approximately 50 per week since the start of the semester), we will need to continue our indoor mask mandate until further notice,” Mount Holyoke president Beverly Daniel Tatum wrote in an open letter to the student body.

“While I am eager to move us from a mask mandate to a ‘masks welcome and encouraged’ policy in all campus indoor spaces, it is clear that the current levels of infection have taxed our campus health care system and residential services to the limit,” she added.

Before Mount Holyoke made this move, the mask mandate was set to expire on Friday, September 30. 

Mount Holyoke is a private liberal arts school for women in South Hadley, Massachusetts; it serves about 1,900 students.

Meanwhile, Amherst College extended its indoor mask mandate indefinitely on September 12. It requires that students must wear a KN95 mask on many parts of the campus.

That includes classrooms, studios, teaching labs, libraries, Information Technology service desks, the writing center, training and equipment rooms for sports, dining halls, the campus health center, and “when asked to do so by someone with whom you are interacting,” according to the school’s web site.

KN95 masks are available on campus at the Service Center in the Services Building, the Commissary at Schwemm’s in Keefe Campus Center, and at the Campus Post Office.

Amherst College is a private liberal arts school in Amherst, Massachusetts that serves about 1,700 students.

Smith College, a private liberal arts school in Northampton, Massachusetts with about 2,200 students, is another place with an indoor mask mandate in effect.

Smith College published a community letter on September 13 saying the school’s mask mandate would be “extended until further notice.”

“Given the persistence of cases on campus to begin the academic term, we are extending the requirement to wear masks indoors during classes and at gatherings of 30 or more until further notice,” the letter reads. “Individuals delivering presentations or lectures are exempt from this requirement. All members of the community are welcome to wear masks in all settings. Both KN-95 and surgical masks are available at the test site in the Campus Center. We will continue to monitor conditions and revise the masking guidelines as appropriate.”

Spokesmen for Mount Holyoke College, Amherst College, and Smith College could not be reached for comment on Wednesday or Thursday this week. 


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