Dear UMass Amherst Community,

As we approach the fall semester, we are excited to welcome everyone to campus. This marks the beginning of a third academic year in which COVID-19 has been present, and our understanding of the virus along with tools to mitigate its impact continues to improve. In addition, the campus is closely following developments regarding the monkeypox virus (MPV) and has developed university guidelines on monkeypox. Your continued commitment to public health best practices will help ensure a successful start to the school year.

Consistent with our approach throughout the pandemic, university policies and protocols are based on federal CDC and Massachusetts Department of Public Health guidelines, and this practice will continue as we monitor local conditions and circumstances this fall. Below are the highlights for the fall semester.

Pre-arrival testing for COVID-19

  • All students are expected to test before arriving on campus. Students can have either a PCR test within 72 hours of arrival or an antigen test (at home) within 24 hours of arrival. If you test positive before returning to campus, you must self-isolate according to CDC guidelines before returning to campus and also notify the UMass public health team at [email protected]. If you test positive upon arrival on campus, you will be required to self-isolate. Please see the details in the Isolation Management section below.

Testing for COVID-19 ongoing

  • Students, faculty, staff and their family members who need testing because they have symptoms, have been exposed to or had close contact with someone who has COVID-19 can take an antigen test (at home) or visit Services University Health (UHS) for a PCR test. Testing will be billed to an individual’s insurance, and most insurance companies cover COVID-19 testing administered for health reasons at no additional cost to you. Students, faculty, and staff should continue to report their positive test results to [email protected]. Elective PCR testing (like travel testing) is available for $25 per test at UHS, a price significantly lower than that offered by pharmacies and other providers.

Mask and antigen tests (at home).

  • Masks are welcome on campus and masking is strongly encouraged during the first few weeks of the fall semester, especially in crowded settings or for individuals who are at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19. In accordance with public health guidelines, masks will be required at University Health Services (UHS), the Center for Public Health Promotion, the Center for Counseling and Psychological Health, the Center for Women and Community, and the Center for Language, Speech and Hearing.
  • UMass is a mask-welcoming campus, and we encourage everyone to respect the choices individuals make about their masking. Welcome mask signs are available for download. Please note that individuals and departments may not create mask requirements that are separate or more restrictive than university requirements.
  • Free KN95 masks and antigen tests (at home) are available from vending machines located on the lower level of the Campus Center. In addition, every home in the US is eligible to order free home antigen tests through the federal government. We encourage students to bring these tests home with them to campus. To help prevent individuals from spreading COVID-19, the FDA recommends that when using antigen tests you repeat the test after a negative result, regardless of whether or not you have symptoms of COVID-19.


  • Students, faculty, and staff are required to have completed a World Health Organization (WHO)-approved primary series of COVID vaccines before entering campus or successfully applying for a medical or religious exemption approved by UMass. The University also strongly recommends COVID-19 boosters when eligible under CDC guidelines. Vaccines and boosters are available at the PHPC vaccine clinic. Students can see the University Health Services Immunizations website for more information on how to upload your vaccine records. Faculty and staff can visit the Human Resources vaccine website for additional information.

Isolation Management

  • Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 will be required to self-isolate for at least five days before returning to class, work, or attending events. They must then continue to wear the mask for another five days. For more information, refer to the guidance on isolation and precautions for individuals with or exposed to COVID-19. The campus does not maintain isolation space for individuals who test positive or have been exposed to or have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19.
  • Students on campus who test positive for COVID-19 are expected to be isolated at an off-campus location, such as their permanent residence, if they are able to travel there by private vehicle. On-campus students who are unable to leave campus to isolate due to distance or who have high-risk family members, regardless of their on-campus living situation, will need to isolate on-site in residence their assigned campus. For more information, refer to the guidance on isolation and precautions for individuals with or exposed to COVID-19.
  • We strongly advise that each student prepares an isolation bag prior to their arrival. It should include acetaminophen (Tylenol) ibuprofen (Advil) a thermometer, snacks, prescription medications, personal care items (cough drops, contact lens solution, tissues), masks, disinfectant wipes, alcohol-based hand sanitizer and antigen test kits.


Everyone should continue to monitor themselves for symptoms of COVID-19 daily before coming to campus. Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 should wear a mask, stay home and get tested.

Medical accommodations

The campus continues to have a process for requests for medical accommodations related to COVID-19. These requests will be reviewed under the regular ADA process administered by the Office of Accessible Workplace in the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access. Faculty and staff requesting a medical accommodation should email [email protected]. Students seeking housing (including students with on-campus employment, such as a graduate assistantship) you should visit the Disability Services website for more information.

Monkeypox virus

The University is also closely monitoring local, regional and national public health situations related to the global outbreak of monkeypox (MPV). The campus is committed to informing the UMass community about health issues that may affect them. We recognize that there is a risk of stigma or discrimination when communicating about a new disease outbreak. We all have a responsibility to reject any stigmatizing words or actions about the monkeypox virus (MPV) and instead share accurate information so that people can make the best decisions about their health and the health of others. our community.

Monkeypox is not a sexually transmitted disease, as it can be transmitted by any direct physical contact between one’s rash, scabies, body fluids and another person. This contact can include sexual activity and also any touching of the lesions/redness or even touching the clothing or bedding that an infected person has used. We have published university guidance on monkeypox (MPV) that focuses on topics such as what monkeypox is, how it can be spread, what the symptoms are, what to do if individuals experience symptoms, and how individuals can reduce their risk. them and prevent the spread.

As we have done throughout the pandemic, we will continuously monitor public health guidance and local conditions and make adjustments as necessary. The pandemic has taken a heavy toll, and at the same time we have learned how to mitigate the severity of COVID-19 through scientific advances and the daily mitigation efforts of our entire campus community. We thank everyone for their continued support in keeping the campus safe as we begin a new academic year.


Co-directors of the Public Health Promotion Center (PHPC)

Ann Becker, Director of Public Health
Jeffrey Hescock, Executive Director of Environmental Health and Safety

By admin

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