Dear UMass Dartmouth Community,
As we near the end of the semester and plan for the fall, I wanted to provide updates regarding health and safety protocols, especially considering Governor Baker’s April 27 announcements regarding Massachusetts’ reopening plans.
UMass Dartmouth looks forward to resuming on-campus, in-person classes for the fall 2021 semester. To support this goal and consistent with the other campuses in the UMass system, we will require COVID-19 vaccinations for all undergraduate and graduate students who wish to live, learn, or physically come to campus before the start of the Fall 2021 semester. This decision was made on the basis of expected additional state, federal and legal guidance and vaccine availability. Of course, the University will accommodate medical, religious, or disability exemptions pursuant to state and federal law. Evidence to date concerning the present and expected approval status and effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines supports the university’s position.
UMass Dartmouth also strongly encourages and recommends that all faculty and staff be fully vaccinated before the start of the fall semester. The University may revisit the issue of required vaccinations for faculty and staff as we continue our planning efforts that promote the health and safety of our entire campus community. To learn more about how you can register for your vaccination appointment, please visit VaccineSignUp.mass.gov. In addition, our Vaccination FAQ website will be continuously updated as additional state and federal guidance becomes available.
Vaccinations have been scientifically proven to be our most effective method to restoring the on-campus experience as well as life experiences that so many of us miss. This is evident in Governor Baker’s updated timeline for reopening efforts, including new guidance stating that, effective April 30, face coverings are only required outside when it is not possible to socially distance. Please note that face coverings are still required in all indoor settings on campus and the Commonwealth.
For students, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health has recommended that all students have a COVID test within 72 hours of the end of their semester. Please visit our COVID-19 Testing Program website for an updated end-of-semester schedule.
Due to the decreased population on campus this summer, the Woodland Commons Testing Center will close operations as of noon on May 5. Asymptomatic testing is available through the Stop the Spread program in local communities. We are currently awaiting guidance from the Commonwealth’s Higher Education Control plan which will outline testing recommendations for Fall 2021.
If you have questions about the vaccination requirement for students or testing center operations, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mark A. Fuller, PhD
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth