Dear UMass Dartmouth Staff and Faculty,
In response to evolving public health conditions in our region, I write to share some important 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.
Indoor Mask Requirement
In accordance with CDC guidance and the prevalence of COVID-19 in Bristol County at this time, effective Monday, August 23, 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 will apply 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.
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, it is UMass Dartmouth’s intention to require that all employees, both unit and non-unit, are fully vaccinated by September 27. Of course, the university will accommodate medical and religious exemptions pursuant to federal law.
Non-unit personnel, part-time employees, and our vendors and contractors will be informed today about the requirement to be vaccinated. Human Resources will send non-unit employees more information about how to comply with this requirement shortly. I am also heartened by the discussions we are having with our labor unions regarding this requirement, and hope that we will reach agreement about its implementation soon.
COVID-19 Testing Protocol for Exempt Individuals
Effective September 1, all students, staff and faculty who are not yet fully vaccinated 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 employees soon.
I know that many of you are already fully vaccinated, and I’m grateful to all of you for everything you’ve done over the last 18 months to help keep the entire campus community safe and healthy during the pandemic, which enabled our students to continue pursuing their education. I look forward to seeing everyone back on campus soon. Get vaccinated, wear your mask, wash your hands, and stay safe and healthy.
Mark A. Fuller, PhD
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth