Dear UMass Dartmouth Staff and Faculty,
Following my message last week, I write to share some additional updates to UMass Dartmouth’s coronavirus policies and protocols for the Fall 2021 semester. Our goal, as always, is to promote the safety of all members of our campus community.
Employee Vaccination Requirement
Vaccination is our community’s best protection against COVID-19. That’s why, in alignment with other campuses in the UMass system and in close collaboration with our labor unions, UMass Dartmouth will require that all employees, both unit and non-unit, are fully vaccinated by September 27 or by the date specified in their unit MOA, whichever is later. Of course, the university will accommodate medical and religious exemptions pursuant to federal law. Human Resources will send all employees more information about how to comply with this requirement shortly. We are also working with our vendors and contractors, such as Chartwells, to ensure that their employees comply with our vaccination policy.
COVID-19 Testing Protocol for Exempt Individuals
All students, staff and faculty who are exempt from vaccination will be required to participate in a weekly COVID-19 testing protocol and to wear masks indoors in public spaces regardless of whether a campus-wide mask requirement is in force. Human Resources will communicate more about what this testing protocol means for unvaccinated employees with approved exemptions soon.
Indoor Mask Requirement
As a reminder, as of this past Monday, August 23, in accordance with CDC guidance and the prevalence of COVID-19 in Bristol County at this time, the university is requiring that all faculty, staff and students wear face coverings in public areas indoors on campus. Given that this virus can still be transmitted by vaccinated individuals, combined with the regional increase in cases, this requirement applies to everyone—including individuals who are fully vaccinated. We will monitor public health conditions on campus and in our region, and will continually evaluate whether it is necessary to continue this indoor mask requirement.
I’m proud of all the ways this campus community has worked together to promote a safe and healthy living, learning and working environment during the pandemic. In recognition of these collective efforts, this year UMass Dartmouth will have limited operations on Friday, November 26 and between December 24 and January 1. Human Resources will communicate more information about what this means for employees soon.
Thank you once again for all that you do for UMass Dartmouth and for our students. It is great to have everyone back on campus and I enjoyed talking with many of you at our campus barbeque today. Get vaccinated, wear your mask, wash your hands, and stay safe and healthy.
Mark A. Fuller, PhD
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth