FAQs

FAQs

These Frequently Asked Questions and Answers are continually updated to address new and changing issues and concerns. Please check back often for the latest information.

Updated Jan. 14, 2022

RETURNING TO CAMPUS

Why is UMass Amherst moving forward with in-person instruction for spring semester 2022?

(Added Jan. 7, 2022) Our primary mission is to provide educational opportunities that include in-person learning and research to our undergraduate and graduate students. We have a highly vaccinated community, and along with the booster requirement, extensive testing protocols and face-covering policies, we stand well-prepared to welcome students back this spring. Data shows that vaccination is the strongest line of defense against COVID-19. While vaccination does not entirely prevent infection, it does minimize the chances that you will become seriously ill and require hospitalization.

Is UMass Amherst concerned about a spike of positive cases with the Omicron variant?

(Added Jan. 7, 2022) It is important that we continue to assess all the trends in COVID-19, including the variants that emerge. However, we believe requiring vaccinations, boosters and wearing masks indoors will mitigate large scale spikes of severely ill people. The current scientific data shows that those who are vaccinated and boosted and become infected are generally asymptomatic or experience mild to moderate illness.

Why not delay the start of the semester until the Omicron surge is behind us?

(Added Jan. 7, 2022) As we near the third year of the pandemic, it is clear that COVID-19 will be present for the foreseeable future. The pandemic has extracted a great toll, and at the same time we have learned how to mitigate its severity through scientific advances and daily operation of the campus. Our educational mission has never been more important, and we are positioned to sustain in-person instruction and activities because our students, faculty and staff have demonstrated a commitment to the best public health practices.

Is UMass Amherst requiring students to be tested during the spring semester?

(Updated Jan. 10, 2022) Only students and employees who have an approved medical or religious exemption are required to do weekly testing at the Public Health Promotions Center. Free COVID-19 testing will remain available to anyone on campus who wishes to use it at their discretion or after a confirmed exposure. We will also continue to provide free testing to the Pioneer Valley community. Additionally, we are asking all faculty and staff to complete a COVID-19 PCR test by Jan. 18.

How would the university handle a large number of positive cases in terms of isolation and quarantine housing?

(Updated Jan. 10, 2022) The return-to-campus test that is required of all students between Jan. 10 and 14, 2022 is how we plan to detect any positive COVID-19 cases before students return to campus. Once students return, if we experience a large spike in cases, we will tell infected students whose permanent residence is within driving distance of campus to return to their permanent residence to isolate. This is the same policy that was in place during the Fall 2021 semester. A limited number of isolation and quarantine rooms are available on campus for those students who live out-of-state or who have extenuating circumstances that prevent them from recovering at their permanent residence.

What are the mask requirements at UMass Amherst?

(Updated Jan. 14, 2022) An indoor mask mandate remains in place until further notice. Everyone should use a higher-grade mask, such as KN95, KF94, or N95, or double-mask. Cloths masks are not effective in limiting the spread of omicron and should only be used in double masking, with a close-fitting surgical mask underneath. Gaiters, single-layer cloth masks and masks with vents should not be used.

Will UMass Amherst follow the new CDC and state guidance on five days of isolation and quarantine for students who test positive?

(Added Jan. 7, 2022) Yes. We believe this period is sufficient and will allow our students, faculty and staff to return to in-person classes, work and activities quicker with fewer disruptions.

I did my return-to-campus test at a pharmacy or other testing site. How do I submit my result to UMass?

(Added Jan. 7, 2022) You should email a copy of your result to the Public Health Promotion Center at testing@umass.edu.

I got COVID-19 during winter break. Do I still need to take the return-to-campus COVID test?

(Added Jan. 7, 2022) You do not have to do the return-to-campus test, but you do need to email a copy of your positive result to the Public Health Promotion Center at testing@umass.edu.

What are the vaccination and testing requirements for students returning for the Spring 2022 semester?

(Updated Dec. 22, 2021) In accordance with the existing requirement that UMass Amherst students be fully immunized against COVID-19, all eligible UMass Amherst students are required to receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot as we begin the spring semester.

In addition, all students are expected to undergo an advance COVID-19 test between 10 and 14 days prior to the start of spring classes on Jan. 25, 2022.  By doing this testing in advance, students who have a positive test for COVID can complete their isolation and quarantine period at home before returning to campus.

Please see the Dec. 1, 2021 letter from the Chancellor for more details about these requirements.

When and where are face coverings required on campus?

(Updated Jan. 14, 2022) All members of the UMass community ­­— students, faculty and staff —as well as contractors and visitors are required to wear face coverings in public indoor spaces on the UMass Amherst campus. The requirements applies to vaccinated and non-vaccinated individuals. Face coverings must be worn in nearly all indoor public spaces, including classrooms, hallways, elevators, restrooms, break rooms, entries and exits to buildings, laboratories, meeting rooms, shared offices and work areas.

Your face covering must:

  • Cover your nose and mouth
  • Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of your face
  • Be secured with ties, elastic or ear loops
  • Allow for breathing without restriction

The indoor mask requirement remains in effect until further notice  

What is the latest campus policy for attending indoor events, including athletics events?

(Updated Jan. 12, 2022) UMass Amherst expects everyone attending an indoor event to be vaccinated or have a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of the event.  Read more at Current Guidance for Fall 2021 Events

UMass Athletics has made it mandatory that all guests aged five and older attending indoor athletic events be fully vaccinated or have a negative COVID-19 (PCR or antigen) test result within 72 hours of the event date. All attendees must wear masks at all times except when actively eating or drinking. Children under five can still attend events but must wear a mask at all times. See the complete UMass Athletics policy for guests attending in-arena events

What is the Interim Pandemic Policy?

The Interim Pandemic Policy, developed by students and staff and reviewed by the Student Government Association and the Graduate Student Senate, clearly outlines expectations for the spring semester for students living either on or off campus.

Where are face coverings NOT required?

(Updated Aug. 30, 2021) In accordance with public health guidance, face coverings are not required:

  • in personal offices when alone
  • by faculty when teaching a class if they remain at least six feet away from all students and if they tell students why they are removing their face covering
  • in research spaces when alone
  • when eating in a dining hall or other campus eatery
  • in residence hall rooms
  • outdoors
  • for children under the age of 2
  • for anyone with a medical condition that prevents the use of a face covering

COVID-19 BOOSTER VACCINATIONS

How do I get a booster vaccination?

(Updated Dec. 10, 2021) You can make an appointment to get a vaccine booster at the campus Vaccine Clinic. Others locations are listed through the Massachusetts COVID-19 vaccine finder or at Vaccines.gov.

What are the vaccination and testing requirements for students returning for the Spring 2022 semester?

(Updated Dec. 22, 2021) In accordance with the existing requirement that UMass Amherst students be fully immunized against COVID-19, all eligible UMass Amherst students are required to receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot as we begin the spring semester.

In addition, all students are expected to undergo an advance COVID-19 test between 10 and 14 days prior to the start of spring classes on Jan. 25, 2022.  By doing this testing in advance, students who have a positive test for COVID can complete their isolation and quarantine period at home before returning to campus.

Please see the Dec. 1, 2021 letter from the Chancellor for more details about these requirements.

How do I submit proof of COVID-19 vaccinations to UMass?

(Updated Jan. 11, 2021) 

For any COVID-19 vaccine doses received at UMass or in Massachusetts, in most cases no action is required; we should receive your records automatically. In some cases we may not receive your record from the state. If you were vaccinated in Massachusetts and receive an email from UMass saying you are overdue for your booster, follow the steps below.

For any COVID-19 vaccine doses received outside of Massachusetts or if you receive an email from UMass saying you are overdue for your booster, follow these steps to submit documentation of your initial series of shots and/or your booster dose:

  1. Login to the UMass Patient Portal and click the “Immunization” tab.
  2. For your original vaccine series, select "COVID-19 Vaccines." Find your vaccine type and enter the date(s) you received your vaccine.
  3. To update your record with your booster dose, scroll down to the last category, "COVID-19 Boosters." Find your vaccine type and enter the date you received your booster.
  4. Click "Submit" and go to the Upload page.
  5. Under "Documents Available to be Uploaded," select A – REQUIRED IMMUNIZATIONS FORM.
  6. Upload a photo of the vaccine card that you were given by the health care provider who administered the immunization.

If you need help accessing the UMass Patient Portal, please review our Patient Portal FAQs or email uhsportalhelp@umass.edu.

I can’t get my booster before I come to UMass. Can I get one when I arrive? 

(Added Jan. 13, 2022) Yes, you can get your booster when you arrive. You may continue to receive reminder emails until you do so. Check the Vaccine Clinic webpage to see when booster appointments can be scheduled at the Campus Center.

I keep getting an error message or can't login to the Patient Portal. What should I do?

(Added Jan. 12, 2022) If you are having trouble accessing the UMass Patient Portal, this may be due to high traffic and should resolve if you try again at another time. You can review additional troubleshooting tips at umass.edu/uhs/umass-patient-portal, or email uhsportalhelp@umass.edu if you continue to have issues.

I'm a student returning in Spring 2022 and six months have not passed since my last vaccination dose. Do I still have to get a booster?

(Updated Dec. 3, 2021) The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a COVID-19 vaccine booster for all individuals 18 years and older. The booster should be administered six months after one’s second Pfizer or Moderna shot, or two months after the single-dose Johnson & Johnson. Given this CDC recommendation, and in accordance with the existing university requirement that students be fully immunized against COVID-19, for spring semester 2022, all students who intend to live, learn, conduct research, or access any campus resources are required to receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot. 

The university understands that completion of the six-month period (two months for J & J) differs for everyone and, therefore, no student will be denied access to campus at the start of the spring semester.  The university will, however, be tracking booster compliance and will reach out to those students who remain non-compliant and work with them to meet the COVID-19 booster requirement. Students who continue to remain out of compliance may have a hold placed on their account, which would prohibit them from registering for courses for the following fall semester and could lead to more restrictions, including possible withdrawal from the university.

Who is currently eligible to receive a COVID-19 booster shot?

(Updated Jan. 10, 2021)  The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 booster is available to anyone age 18 and older. The Pfizer COVID-19 booster is available to anyone ages 12 and older.

You are eligible for a booster if:

  • Moderna: It has been at least five months since your second dose
  • Pfizer: It has been at least five months since your second dose
  • Johnson & Johnson: It has been at least two months since your single dose  

You can mix and match vaccines. You are not required get the same vaccine brand for your booster and for your original COVID-19 vaccination. If you are age 12-17, you can only get a Pfizer booster.

Please see the CDC booster information page for more details on eligibility. 

Do I need to show my vaccine card or other proof of being fully vaccinated to get my booster?

(Added Oct. 28, 2021) If you have your vaccine card it is helpful so that your booster dose can be added to it, but you do not need to show your CDC vaccination card to get your booster. You will be asked to self-attest that you meet eligibility requirements such as age, health conditions, or occupation. There are no ID or health insurance requirements. Your vaccinator may choose to look up your vaccine records to confirm the type of vaccine you received before. 

Do I need to be a Massachusetts resident to get a booster? What if I lived somewhere else when I got my initial COVID-19 vaccine doses?

(Updated Dec. 2, 2021) You can get a booster in Massachusetts if you live, work or study here, even if you got your first or second dose of the vaccine in another state or country.  

Students returning for Spring 2022 can also fulfill the booster requirement by getting the shot in another state or country. The Vaccines.gov website can be used to identify vaccination locations outside Massachusetts.

Should people expect to get sick after receiving the booster?

(Added Oct. 28, 2021) Current data indicates that side effects following the additional dose are similar to those after the second dose. Common side effects are generally mild such as localized pain, redness or swelling at the injection site, and fatigue, headache and low-grade fever. Serious adverse events are rare.

What happens if a student does not get a booster shot by the start of the spring 2022 semester?

(Updated Dec. 3, 2021) The university understands that completion of the six-month period (two months for J & J) differs for everyone and, therefore, no student will be denied access to campus at the start of the Spring Semester.  The university will, however, be tracking booster compliance and will reach out to those students who remain non-compliant and work with them to meet the COVID-19 booster requirement. Students who continue to remain out of compliance may have a hold placed on their account, which would prohibit them from registering for courses for the following fall semester and could lead to more restrictions, including possible withdrawal from the university.

Can I get a flu vaccination at the same time as my COVID-19 booster?

(Added Oct. 28, 2021) Yes. You can get a COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccinations like a flu or shingles vaccine at the same time or close together, according to the CDC.

I don’t know when I received my last COVID-19 vaccine shot or which vaccine I received. How can I find this out?

(Added Oct. 28, 2021) Consult your CDC vaccination record card for the date and type of the COVID-19 vaccination(s) you previously received. If you do not have your vaccination card, contact your primary care provider or the retail pharmacy where you were first vaccinated. If that is not possible, learn how to obtain your vaccination record, which could take up to two weeks, by visiting www.mass.gov/myvaxrecord.

COVID-19 VACCINATIONS

What are the vaccination and testing requirements for students returning for the Spring 2022 semester?

(Updated Dec. 22, 2021) In accordance with the existing requirement that UMass Amherst students be fully immunized against COVID-19, all eligible UMass Amherst students are required to receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot as we begin the spring semester.

In addition, all students are expected to undergo an advance COVID-19 test between 10 and 14 days prior to the start of spring classes on Jan. 25, 2022.  By doing this testing in advance, students who have a positive test for COVID can complete their isolation and quarantine period at home before returning to campus.

Please see the Dec. 1, 2021 letter from the Chancellor for more details about these requirements.

How do I get a booster vaccination?

(Updated Dec. 10, 2021) You can make an appointment to get a vaccine booster at the campus Vaccine Clinic. Others locations are listed through the Massachusetts COVID-19 vaccine finder or at Vaccines.gov.

How do I submit proof of COVID-19 vaccinations to UMass?

(Updated Jan. 11, 2021) 

For any COVID-19 vaccine doses received at UMass or in Massachusetts, in most cases no action is required; we should receive your records automatically. In some cases we may not receive your record from the state. If you were vaccinated in Massachusetts and receive an email from UMass saying you are overdue for your booster, follow the steps below.

For any COVID-19 vaccine doses received outside of Massachusetts or if you receive an email from UMass saying you are overdue for your booster, follow these steps to submit documentation of your initial series of shots and/or your booster dose:

  1. Login to the UMass Patient Portal and click the “Immunization” tab.
  2. For your original vaccine series, select "COVID-19 Vaccines." Find your vaccine type and enter the date(s) you received your vaccine.
  3. To update your record with your booster dose, scroll down to the last category, "COVID-19 Boosters." Find your vaccine type and enter the date you received your booster.
  4. Click "Submit" and go to the Upload page.
  5. Under "Documents Available to be Uploaded," select A – REQUIRED IMMUNIZATIONS FORM.
  6. Upload a photo of the vaccine card that you were given by the health care provider who administered the immunization.

If you need help accessing the UMass Patient Portal, please review our Patient Portal FAQs or email uhsportalhelp@umass.edu.

Are there exemptions to the vaccination requirement?

(Updated Dec. 3, 2021)  Students attending UMass may request an exemption from the COVID-19 vaccination requirement, subject to religious and disability accommodations pursuant to state and federal law. Medical or religious exemption requests should be uploaded to the UMass Patient Portal by July 23, 2021.

To submit a medical or religious exemption request:

  1. Login to the UMass Patient Portal
  2. Click “Forms”
  3. Select the appropriate form (Medical Exemption Request or Religious Exemption Request)
  4. Download and complete the form (must be signed by a parent or guardian if student is under 18)
  5. Click “Upload”
  6. Select “Required Immunizations Form,” upload and submit the completed form

Faculty or staff who wish to request a medical or religious-based exemption from the vaccination requirement may do so using the forms located on the HR Fall 2021 website.

Individuals with qualifying exemptions will be required to participate in weekly asymptomatic testing and comply with masking policies.

For both religious and medical exemptions:

  • In the event of an identified elevated public health risk, emergency, or outbreak, exempt individuals may be isolated and/or excluded from campus, including but not limited to all classes, activities, travel, and on-campus housing.
  • Twice weekly required testing will be substituted for vaccination in students receiving religious or medical exemption.

Exemptions granted for Fall 2021 will remain in effect for Spring 2022.

I had a vaccine exemption for Fall 2021. Will this continue for Spring 2022?

(Updated Dec. 3, 2021) Previously approved religious or medical exemptions from the  COVID-19 vaccination requirement remain in effect for the spring 2022 semester. Individuals who were previously granted exemptions from vaccinations for medical or religious reasons continue to be required to test twice weekly during the spring semester.

How did UMass Amherst get my vaccine information without me uploading it?

(Added Aug. 16, 2021) People who are vaccinated in Massachusetts are enrolled in the Massachusetts Immunization Information System (MIIS). You may have seen this information posted where you were vaccinated or mentioned in the consent when you consented to be immunized.  We get this data from the state.  If you have more questions about MIIS you can find that information at www.mass.gov/service-details/massachusetts-immunization-information-system-miis.

MIIS only gives access to vaccination records. No other health data is shared with the University.

I am an international student. What happens if I can’t easily get access to a vaccine where I live, either in the U.S. or abroad? Can I get vaccinated when I get to UMass?

(Updated Sept. 14, 2021)  International students who are unable to access the COVID-19 vaccine prior to arrival in the U.S. may get vaccinated at UMass.  Students are required to participate in the campus asymptomatic testing program until they are considered fully vaccinated.

Which vaccines does UMass Amherst currently accept as approved vaccines?

(Updated Dec. 1, 2021) UMass follows Massachusetts Department of Public Health guidelines on approved vaccines in Massachusetts which allow the current World Health Organization (WHO) approved vaccines: 

  • Moderna
  • Pfizer/BioNTech
  • Janssen (Johnson & Johnson)
  • Oxford/AstraZeneca
  • Covishield
  • Covaxin
  • Sinopharm
  • Sinovac

If I am fully or partially vaccinated with a vaccine that is not WHO-approved, what will I need to do when I arrive at UMass?

(Added May 6, 2021) Current scientific guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health requires you to restart your vaccination schedule in the U.S. at least 28 days after your last dose of the non-approved vaccine. This is a changing situation, and we will update guidance for international students regularly and provide specific instructions as it becomes available.

If I am fully vaccinated with a WHO-approved vaccine do I need to get vaccinated when I arrive at UMass?

(Added May 6, 2021) NoStudents who are fully vaccinated with a WHO-approved vaccine, either in the U.S. or in another country, do not need any additional vaccination when arriving at UMass.

What are the requirements for vendors, contractors and others conducting business on campus?

(Added Sept. 23, 2021) Everyone visiting campus must wear face coverings when indoors and follow campus COVID-19 health and safety requirements, including showing proof of COVID-19 when required. Outdoor campus spaces are open to the public with face coverings optional. People experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should not to come to campus.

Please see the latest COVID-19 Requirements for Vendors, Contractors and Persons Conducting Business on Campus document for full details.

COVID-19 TESTING

What are the vaccination and testing requirements for students returning for the Spring 2022 semester?

(Updated Dec. 22, 2021) In accordance with the existing requirement that UMass Amherst students be fully immunized against COVID-19, all eligible UMass Amherst students are required to receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot as we begin the spring semester.

In addition, all students are expected to undergo an advance COVID-19 test between 10 and 14 days prior to the start of spring classes on Jan. 25, 2022.  By doing this testing in advance, students who have a positive test for COVID can complete their isolation and quarantine period at home before returning to campus.

Please see the Dec. 1, 2021 letter from the Chancellor for more details about these requirements.

How do I get tested two weeks prior to the start of spring classes?

(Updated Jan. 13, 2022) All students are expected to undergo an advance COVID-19 test between 10 and 14 days  prior to the start of spring classes on Jan. 25, 2022. Students who picked up a mail-in test kit before leaving campus should conduct their unobserved test between Monday, Jan. 10 and Friday, Jan. 14 and return the kit in the postage-paid envelope.

1. Use an Unobserved Test Kit: Kits for unobserved testing are available for pickup outside the Public Health Promotion Center (PHPC) in the Campus Center and a University Health Services. Please see the COVID-19 Testing page for hours or operation and drop-off locations on and off campus.

2. Test at a "Stop the Spread" Location: Individuals in Massachusetts can test free of charge at any of the more than 450 sites across Massachusetts. In other states, community-based testing sites are available. You should conduct your test between Monday, Jan. 10 and Friday, Jan. 14, and have the results emailed to testing@umass.edu no later than Monday, Jan. 17. This must be a PCR test. 

3. If you live in the Boston area, you can pick up a test kit at Campus Security (Building 17) on the Mount Ida Campus in Newton. There is a dropbox there as well for you to return your test. We recommend you drop off your test on Wednesday or Thursday before noon because test kits are picked up every Thursday afternoon for processing.

Students who do not take a COVID-19 advance test as outlined in the options above will be expected to test at the PHPC immediately upon arrival on campus for the start of the semester.

I did my return-to-campus test at a pharmacy or other testing site. How do I submit my result to UMass?

(Added Jan. 7, 2022) You should email a copy of your result to the Public Health Promotion Center at testing@umass.edu.

Is UMass Amherst requiring students to be tested during the spring semester?

(Updated Jan. 10, 2022) Only students and employees who have an approved medical or religious exemption are required to do weekly testing at the Public Health Promotions Center. Free COVID-19 testing will remain available to anyone on campus who wishes to use it at their discretion or after a confirmed exposure. We will also continue to provide free testing to the Pioneer Valley community. Additionally, we are asking all faculty and staff to complete a COVID-19 PCR test by Jan. 18.

I am a student and forgot to pick up my Advance Test Kit before leaving campus for break. What should I do?

(Updated Jan. 10, 2022) You have these options to complete your advance test:

1. Test in Person: The PHPC will be in operation for testing over winter break. Students who choose to do so may complete the COVID-19 test at the PHPC in the Campus Center between Monday, Jan. 10 and Thursday, Jan. 13.

2. Test at a "Stop the Spread" Location: Individuals in Massachusetts can test free of charge at any of the more than 450 sites across Massachusetts. In other states, community-based testing sites are available. You should conduct your test between Monday, Jan. 10 and Friday, Jan. 14, and have the results emailed to testing@umass.edu no later than Monday, Jan. 17. This must be a PCR test. 

3. If you live in the Boston area, you can pick up a test kit at Campus Security (Building 17) on the Mount Ida Campus in Newton. There is a dropbox there as well for you to return your test. We recommend you drop off your test on Wednesday or Thursday before noon because test kits are picked up every Thursday afternoon for processing.

Students who do not take a COVID-19 advance test as outlined in the options above will be expected to test at the PHPC immediately upon arrival on campus for the start of the semester.

How can I get tested for COVID-19?

(Updated Jan. 16, 2022) Kits for unobserved testing for people without symptoms are available at the Public Health Promotion Center in the Campus Center at University Health Services as well as at locations off campus in Amherst. Completed kits can be returned return to one of the drop boxes located on and off-campus .

See COVID-19 Testing Programs for complete details including the current hours and locations of drop boxes.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, please go to University Health Services for symptomatic testing. 

Will UMass Amherst follow the new CDC and state guidance on five days of isolation and quarantine for students who test positive?

(Added Jan. 7, 2022) Yes. We believe this period is sufficient and will allow our students, faculty and staff to return to in-person classes, work and activities quicker with fewer disruptions.

How would the university handle a large number of positive cases in terms of isolation and quarantine housing?

(Updated Jan. 10, 2022) The return-to-campus test that is required of all students between Jan. 10 and 14, 2022 is how we plan to detect any positive COVID-19 cases before students return to campus. Once students return, if we experience a large spike in cases, we will tell infected students whose permanent residence is within driving distance of campus to return to their permanent residence to isolate. This is the same policy that was in place during the Fall 2021 semester. A limited number of isolation and quarantine rooms are available on campus for those students who live out-of-state or who have extenuating circumstances that prevent them from recovering at their permanent residence.

I got COVID-19 during winter break. Do I still need to take the return-to-campus COVID test?

(Added Jan. 7, 2022) You do not have to do the return-to-campus test, but you do need to email a copy of your positive result to the Public Health Promotion Center at testing@umass.edu.

I need a COVID-19 test for international travel. What should I do?

(Updated Jan. 3, 2021) Results from COVID-19 PCR  self-test kits available at at the Public Health Promotion Center and UHS can be used for international travel. 

See the Testing Page for hours of operation and turnaround time for test results. 

Before you leave for the airport:

  • Print a physical copy of your test result and keep it with your travel documents
  • Verify that name and date of birth match your passport or travel ID EXACTLY; corrections cannot be done while you’re standing in line at the airport
  • Verify that you can login to your patient portal and see your results
  • Save a PDF copy of your results to your personal cloud storage

If I am traveling outside of the U.S. over winter break, how do I participate in advance COVID testing?

(Added Dec. 15, 2021) Almost all international flights require a COVID test in order to fly to the United States. You can take a picture of your test results and email it to testing@umass.edu. If a test is not required for your flight to the United States, you can take a test when you arrive at UMass.

What happens if I do not take a COVID-19 advance test 10-14 days prior to the start of spring 2022 classes?

(Added Dec. 1, 2021) Students who do not take a COVID-19 advance test as outlined in the Chancellor’s communication about returning for the spring semester will be expected to test at the PHPC immediately upon arrival on campus for the start of the semester. Students who test positive upon their arrival on campus will be sent home to isolate for 10 days, as required by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

What is the difference between asymptomatic and symptomatic testing?

(Updated Aug. 19, 2021)

Asymptomatic testing is conducted for people who do not have any symptoms of COVID-19. This testing is open to any student, faculty or staff member at their discretion and is required for anyone in those groups who has an approved medical or religious exemption from COVID-19 vaccination.  Find out more about UMass Amherst's COVID-19 Asymptomatic Testing Program. 

Symptomatic testing is conducted when a campus community member has any symptoms, even mild ones, of COVID-19. If you have any COVID-19 symptoms do not come to the PHPC at the Campus Center for testing. If you have picked up an Unobserved Testing Kit, please utilize this if you are symptomatic and drop it off at one of the kiosks on campus, if you do not already have an Unobserved Testing Kit, please contact University Health Services.

What type of asymptomatic test is being used?

SARS-CoV-2 Real-time Reverse Transcriptase (RT)-PCR Diagnostic Assay is a real-time RT-PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test intended for the detection of the SARS-CoV-2 in nasal swabs collected from individuals who may have contracted the virus.

Research demonstrates that the PCR test is more reliable than the rapid response antigen test.

How do I learn the results of my COVID-19 test?

(Updated Sept. 17, 2021) Results from tests done on Monday through Thursday are read within 24-48 hours. Results from tests done on Friday through Sunday are ready the following Monday evening or Tuesday.

If you test NEGATIVE, you will be notified via email from careevolve@lknotification.com or umalab@umass.edu. You will need to register and log in to a secure portal to get your results.

If you test POSITIVE, you will receive a call from a UMass Amherst public health nurse who will explain further steps. All individuals who test positive are required to isolate in accordance with the guidelines of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state public health authorities. We will help you every step of the way.

Your results are completely confidential except as required by state guidelines in order to conduct case investigations and contact tracing.

What happens if I test positive for COVID-19?

(Updated Sept. 16, 2021) Regardless of your vaccination status, if you test positive you must isolate for 10 days. If you test positive using UMass testing facilities, a UMass public health case manager will call and give you specific instructions. If you test positive through a different facility, isolate in place and report your results to the Public Health Promotion Center immediately by calling 413-577-8888 or emailing testing@umass.edu.

If I test positive for COVID-19 and have completed my 10-day quarantine, can I resume activities? Do I still have to be tested regularly?

(Added Feb. 5, 2021) If you test positive, you can resume participation in campus activities following the required ten day quarantine. You are then exempt from COVID-19 testing for 90 days. At the end of 90 days, you will again be required to be tested according to the protocols in place.

What happens if I have been in contact with someone who tested positive?

(Updated Aug. 26, 2021)

Current CDC guidance updated on July 27, 2021 states that all individuals infected with COVID-19 as indicated by a positive test isolate for 10 days regardless of their vaccination status.

Guidelines for people who are identified as a close contact to a person with COVID-19:

If the Close Contact is Fully Vaccinated:

  • Fully vaccinated close contacts must monitor their health and, wear a mask for 14 days indoors or until they receive a negative test result.
  • If asymptomatic, they should test on day 3-5 post-exposure.
  • If symptomatic, they should test immediately, and self-isolate until they receive the test result.
  • If test is positive, they are required to isolate for 10 days.
  • If negative they should self-isolate (in their on or off-campus residence), wear a mask and socially distance until symptoms resolve, and retake a test if symptoms persist.

If the Close Contact is NOT Fully Vaccinated:

  • Not fully vaccinated close contacts must strictly quarantine for 7 days if they remain symptom-free and test negative on day 5, 6, or 7. Individuals will be released from quarantine on day 8 with continuing active self-monitoring for another 7 days.

Because residence halls on campus are fully occupied, quarantine and isolation space on campus is limited. Isolation and quarantine for on-campus students should take place at their permanent/home residence. On-campus quarantine and isolation space will be made available only in limited instances. Since there is typically little time to prepare for isolation or quarantine when instructed to do so, the university has developed this planning guide to help individuals anticipate what they may need if they must isolate or quarantine.

 

How do minors give consent to be tested for COVID-19?

All students who are under 18 must complete this form in order to get tested. Please fill it out, have your parent or guardian sign it, and bring it with you when you come for testing.

I forgot my password to access test results. What should I do?

(Added Feb. 22, 2021) If you forgot your password for accessing your test results through the UMass Lab, please do not use the “forgot your password” option, which is run by a third party and is unable to reset your password. To maintain your privacy, we ask that you instead send an email to testing@umass.edu to have your password manually reset. When your request is processed, you will receive a confirmation email. Given the current volume of email, there may be a delay in processing.

Who do I contact if I have a question about COVID-19 testing?

(Updated Dec. 22, 2021) Students, faculty and staff can email testing@umass.edu with questions related to COVID-19 testing. Please be aware this email is not for private health information, but for logistical or technical help with the testing process.

FACE MASKS

When and where are face coverings required on campus?

(Updated Jan. 14, 2022) All members of the UMass community ­­— students, faculty and staff —as well as contractors and visitors are required to wear face coverings in public indoor spaces on the UMass Amherst campus. The requirements applies to vaccinated and non-vaccinated individuals. Face coverings must be worn in nearly all indoor public spaces, including classrooms, hallways, elevators, restrooms, break rooms, entries and exits to buildings, laboratories, meeting rooms, shared offices and work areas.

Your face covering must:

  • Cover your nose and mouth
  • Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of your face
  • Be secured with ties, elastic or ear loops
  • Allow for breathing without restriction

The indoor mask requirement remains in effect until further notice  

What kinds of masks or face coverings are required? 

(Added Jan. 14, 2022) Everyone should use a higher-grade mask, such as KN95, KF94, or N95, or double-mask. Cloth masks are not effective in limiting the spread of omicron and should only be used in double masking, with a close-fitting surgical mask underneath.

Can I wear a face shield instead of a mask?

(Added Jan. 14, 2022) No. Face coverings must cover both the mouth and nose. Face shields do not provide this coverage. 

Will UMass provide higher-grade masks to meet new campus requirements?

(Added Jan. 14, 2022) While UMass Amherst community members are expected to supply their own masks, the university recently placed a large order for KN95 masks, which will be made available at no charge to faculty, staff and students when the shipment arrives. The masks will be distributed to help meet the university’s updated requirements for face coverings as we move forward with in-person teaching, learning and research activities. Everyone should use a higher-grade mask, such as KN95, KF94, or N95, or double-mask. Cloth masks are not effective in limiting the spread of Omicron and should only be used in double masking, with a close-fitting surgical mask underneath.

Are face coverings required in residence halls?

(Added Jan. 14, 2022) Yes, face coverings are required in all common areas in residence halls. This includes hallways, lobbies, common rooms and elevators. Residents and their guests are not required to wear face coverings in assigned residence hall rooms.

Are face masks required in dining commons and campus eateries?

(Added Jan. 14, 2022) Yes, face coverings must be worn in nearly all indoor settings, including while in dining commons and campus eateries except while actively eating or drinking.

Are face masks required in the Campus Recreation Center?

(Added Jan. 14, 2022) Yes,. To ensure that Campus Recreation is able to provide full access to its facilities, face coverings are required in the building. You must remain masked when working out.

Can faculty remove their face mask while teaching a class?

(Added Aug. 30, 2021) Faculty may remove their face covering while teaching only if:

  • They remain at least six feet away from all students while their face covering is off
  • They tell students why they are removing their face covering

All students are required to wear face coverings in classes, regardless of how far apart they are from other students or from the instructor.

Are masks required outdoors?

(Added Jan. 14, 2022) Masks are not required outdoors. However, anyone may wear a mask on campus whenever and wherever they want.

Where are face coverings NOT required?

(Updated Aug. 30, 2021) In accordance with public health guidance, face coverings are not required:

  • in personal offices when alone
  • by faculty when teaching a class if they remain at least six feet away from all students and if they tell students why they are removing their face covering
  • in research spaces when alone
  • when eating in a dining hall or other campus eatery
  • in residence hall rooms
  • outdoors
  • for children under the age of 2
  • for anyone with a medical condition that prevents the use of a face covering

Why is the UMass Amherst campus requiring indoor face coverings?

(Added Jan. 14, 2022) The campus indoor mask requirement was developed in concert with guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to mitigate the risk of transmission of COVID-19. Scientific evidence finds that fully vaccinated people infected with COVID-19 can potentially spread the virus to others. Indoor mask wearing is particularly important to mitigate the spread from asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic carriers who are not aware they are infectious, and when other public health measures such as social distancing are not possible. The mask requirement is in effect until further notice.

How do I get a medical-based accommodation regarding masks?

(Added Jan. 14, 2022) Individuals with a health condition that prevents wearing a face covering must be receive an accommodation approval:

  • Employees who are unable to wear a face covering because of a medical condition must request an accommodation through the Accessible Workplace Office.
  • Students who are unable to wear a face covering must request an accommodation through the Disability Services Office.

What precautions should I take with my face covering?

(Added Jan. 14, 2022) Using face coverings incorrectly can spread germs. It is important to properly wear, store and dispose of face coverings by doing the following:

  • When putting on and taking off a face covering, you might touch your face. Wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water or, if not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer every time you put on and take off your face covering. If you are unable to clean your hands, be very careful not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth when putting on and taking off your face covering.
  • Do not put a used face covering in places where others can touch it or where germs trapped in your face covering can touch other surfaces, such as counter tops or your kitchen table.
  • Do not throw your face covering loose in a bag or backpack. Keep a plastic bag with you to store your face covering if you will be taking it off when outside your home.
  • Used paper masks should be thrown out at the end of the day. Properly dispose them in the trash. Do not throw single-use face coverings or disposable gloves on the ground.

How can I keep my glasses from fogging up while wearing a face mask?

(Added Jan. 14, 2022) Glasses fog up when you're wearing a face covering because the face covering redirects your warm breath upward instead of outward. Your breath then forms condensation on the lenses. A tighter seal on the top of the mask, such as from a nose clip, can reduce this.

  • Immediately before wearing a face covering, wash the glasses with soapy water and shake off the excess. Then, let the glasses air dry or gently dry off the lenses with a soft tissue before putting them back on
  • Pull your mask up and rest your glasses on top of the mask.
  • Consider adding a folded tissues to the inside top of your face covering, which can also help to absorb moisture, and reduce fogging.
  • Consider taping your face covering across the bridge of your nose and across your cheeks.
  • If these methods are not working, consider purchasing anti-fog spray or wipes.

What if I want to wear a mask, even in circumstances when I’m not required to?

(Added Jan. 14, 2022) Anyone may wear a face covering on campus whenever and wherever they want.

What should I do if someone isn’t wearing a mask?

(Added Jan. 14, 2022) Wearing a mask is important to the health and safety of our community, and each of us has a responsibility to do our part. If you notice someone without a face covering indoors, you can distance yourself or ask that they wear a mask. If you are a staff member, you may refer the situation to your supervisor.

INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS

I need a signed document stating that I recently recovered from COVID-19 before flying internationally. How do I get one?

(Updated Jan. 12, 2022) UMass community members who recently recovered from COVID-19 and who plan to travel internationally can request a certificate of recovery signed by a UHS medical provider. From January 13-21, contact Jeanne Ryan if you need a certificate: jeanneryan@umass.edu. After January 21, contact Sasha Rivera at 413-896-1157

I am an international student. What happens if I can’t easily get access to a vaccine where I live, either in the U.S. or abroad? Can I get vaccinated when I get to UMass?

(Updated Sept. 14, 2021)  International students who are unable to access the COVID-19 vaccine prior to arrival in the U.S. may get vaccinated at UMass.  Students are required to participate in the campus asymptomatic testing program until they are considered fully vaccinated.

Which vaccines does UMass Amherst currently accept as approved vaccines?

(Updated Dec. 1, 2021) UMass follows Massachusetts Department of Public Health guidelines on approved vaccines in Massachusetts which allow the current World Health Organization (WHO) approved vaccines: 

  • Moderna
  • Pfizer/BioNTech
  • Janssen (Johnson & Johnson)
  • Oxford/AstraZeneca
  • Covishield
  • Covaxin
  • Sinopharm
  • Sinovac

If I am fully or partially vaccinated with a vaccine that is not WHO-approved, what will I need to do when I arrive at UMass?

(Added May 6, 2021) Current scientific guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health requires you to restart your vaccination schedule in the U.S. at least 28 days after your last dose of the non-approved vaccine. This is a changing situation, and we will update guidance for international students regularly and provide specific instructions as it becomes available.

TEACHING AND LEARNING

Why is UMass Amherst moving forward with in-person instruction for spring semester 2022?

(Added Jan. 7, 2022) Our primary mission is to provide educational opportunities that include in-person learning and research to our undergraduate and graduate students. We have a highly vaccinated community, and along with the booster requirement, extensive testing protocols and face-covering policies, we stand well-prepared to welcome students back this spring. Data shows that vaccination is the strongest line of defense against COVID-19. While vaccination does not entirely prevent infection, it does minimize the chances that you will become seriously ill and require hospitalization.

Are classes being taught in-person?

(Updated Dec. 16, 2021) Yes, all classes normally taught in-person have returned to that mode of instructional delivery. The university continues to monitor public health guidelines.

The Mount Ida campus and UMass Amherst Center in Springfield follow UMass Amherst guidance and have also returned to in-person instruction.

Do I have to attend my in-person classes?

Yes, when courses are offered in-person, students are expected to attend those courses in person. The university’s “University Policy on Class Absence” explains what absences need to be accommodated by an instructor. To help instructors meet such accommodations, Echo360 technology (for recording and asynchronous playback by students) and hybrid technology (for synchronous instruction to remote students) are available in numerous classrooms.

What if I have to travel to an off-campus location for a field trip or field work?

Courses that require field trips and field work will take place while following public health guidelines for travel and the location where the field trip/work takes place. Public health guidance will be followed with approval processes put in place in advance if needed.

What student support services are available?

(Updated Oct. 5, 2021) Student support services, including the Learning Resource Center, Registrar’s Office, International Programs Office, Bursar’s Office, Financial Aid, abd Career Services are available in-person.

What if the state reinstates restrictions on in-person classes once the semester has started?

If restrictions are placed on in-person instruction, for example, limited classroom capacity, we plan to use remote and/or hybrid instruction for the duration of such a restriction. Instructors have significant experience with the necessary technologies and pedagogies, and thus such a switch – while highly undesirable – could be implemented.

UNDERGRADUATE STUDENT ENROLLMENT OPTIONS

I am a senior. Can I complete my degree via UWW or another institution?

(Added April 27, 2021) Seniors with at least 87 credits completed can finish their requirements through UWW or at another institution. Academic advisors can assist with planning for Senior Year in Absentia. Prior approval is required.

How do I enroll in courses via University Without Walls (UWW)?

Course enrollment can be done through the UWW website. UWW courses are charged on a per-course basis.

Are study abroad options available?

(Updated Dec. 2, 2021) The International Programs Office (IPO) continues to offer safe study-abroad, international internship, and exchange opportunities as international travel and health guidelines allow.  

GRADUATE STUDENT ENROLLMENT OPTIONS

I have completed the coursework for my graduate degree. Do I have to return to campus?

(Added May 11, 2021) Graduate students who are on Continuous Enrollment, taking independent studies, or thesis and dissertation credits may not need to be on campus. Consult with your advisor to be sure to arrange regular mentoring. Be sure you are clear about milestones you need to meet and any other requirements of your program.

I don’t have any courses I need to take on campus, but I have a TA/TO/RA assistantship. Can I teach/work remotely?

(Added May 11, 2021) Graduate student instructors must provide their courses in person unless otherwise notified by their supervisor. Exceptions/accommodations must be requested according to GEO contract rules via Disability Services. Students with research assistantships or training grants as well as postdocs need to follow the guidance of the principal investigator of their grants.

As a graduate student, how do I take a leave of absence from UMass for one or more semesters?

(Added May 11, 2021) Continuing graduate students may request a leave of absence from their program of study by petitioning their graduate program director who, in turn, provides justification for the request to the Graduate School. When a leave of absence is approved, a student’s statute of limitations is extended accordingly. Graduate students on a leave of absence must maintain continuous enrollment by registering for the continuous enrollment course and paying the program fee every semester during their leave.

STUDENT AFFAIRS AND CAMPUS LIFE

What are the mask requirements at UMass Amherst?

(Updated Jan. 14, 2022) An indoor mask mandate remains in place until further notice. Everyone should use a higher-grade mask, such as KN95, KF94, or N95, or double-mask. Cloths masks are not effective in limiting the spread of omicron and should only be used in double masking, with a close-fitting surgical mask underneath. Gaiters, single-layer cloth masks and masks with vents should not be used.

What is the Interim Pandemic Policy?

The Interim Pandemic Policy, developed by students and staff and reviewed by the Student Government Association and the Graduate Student Senate, clearly outlines expectations for the spring semester for students living either on or off campus.

What resources are available to students living off-campus?

Off-campus students have access to university support services and resources. Additionally, the Off-Campus Student Center lounge is available as an in-person resource.

May I have guests in my residence hall room and what is the room capacity with guests?

(Updated August 17, 2021) Residential students may sign in UMass Amherst student guests only. UMass Amherst residential students may host a maximum of two UMass Amherst student guests at one time. Guests who are not UMass Amherst students will not be permitted in the residence halls until further notice. 

The maximum occupancy of a single room, including guests, is three, for a double room six, and for a four-person suite or apartment 12. 

Hosts should check with their roommates before inviting guests and are encouraged to engage in conversations about guests when completing a roommate agreement. Roommates have the right to refuse their roommate’s guest(s) or to ask the guest(s) to leave if the guest is being disruptive or their presence is in violation of an established roommate agreement.

At this time, no non-UMass Amherst guests are allowed in residence halls.

RESEARCH AND LIBRARIES

What are the current research and libraries policies?

(Updated Dec. 13, 2021) Please see the Office of Research and Engagement's COVID-19 Resources and Guidance for details about research and libraries operations.  

Are some workspaces more restrictive?

Some UMass facilities, including performance venues, farms or field stations, or individual research groups, need to adopt more restrictive health and safety measures according to their in-person activities and participants’ risk levels. Following the best practices developed over the last year, those plans should be discussed with all the participants and across spatially proximate lab groups, such as those using the same shared facilities.

FACULTY AND STAFF

For more FAQs related to faculty and staff, please see the Human Resources website

Can faculty remove their face mask while teaching a class?

(Added Aug. 30, 2021) Faculty may remove their face covering while teaching only if:

  • They remain at least six feet away from all students while their face covering is off
  • They tell students why they are removing their face covering

All students are required to wear face coverings in classes, regardless of how far apart they are from other students or from the instructor.

Are flexible work arrangements available for academic year 2021-2022?

(Added Aug. 16, 2021) For detailed information regarding flexible work arrangements please visit the Modern Workplace Initiative website.

Do I need to provide my vaccine records if I’m on a leave of absence?

(Added Aug. 16, 2021) No. If you are on a leave of absence you do not need to provide your vaccination records right now. You will be required to submit your records prior to returning to any on-campus activity.

What do we do if someone in our office was exposed to COVID-19? Do they need to quarantine?

(Added Aug. 16, 2021) If the person who was exposed is vaccinated and has no symptoms they will be advised to always wear a mask, use caution around others especially while eating or drinking, and monitor their health for 14 days.  If they become symptomatic they should isolate themselves and get tested. If the test is negative they can return to work after any symptoms have resolved.

If they are exposed and have not been vaccinated they are required to be off work to quarantine for 7-10 days.

What happens when I or someone in my department or office tests positive for COVID-19?

(Added Aug. 16, 2021) When a co-worker or faculty member tests positive for COVID-19 they should immediately isolate themselves at home away from others for 10 days. This should be done even if they have been vaccinated. If they were tested at UMass Amherst, a public health case manager will contact them and begin a case investigation related to any potential on-campus exposures. They will also be contacted by the local health department in the town in which they reside who will complete the case investigation and contact tracing for any of the non-UMass family or friends.

The UMass public health team will notify any campus contacts of their exposure. If they are vaccinated and have no symptoms they will be advised to always wear a mask, use caution around others especially while eating or drinking, and monitor their health for 14 days. If they become symptomatic they should isolate themselves and get tested. If their test is negative they can return to work. 

Individuals who are exposed and have not been vaccinated are required to be off work to quarantine for 7-10 days.

What options do employees have if they do not want to be vaccinated and don't have a medical or religious exemption?

(Added Aug. 16, 2021) Unvaccinated employees who do not have an exemption or are not awaiting approval for an exemption, shall be placed on unpaid leave and not permitted to work until they are fully vaccinated.  Those employees may use compensatory time, personal time, and accrued vacation, in that order, to remain in pay status. Employees may be placed on unpaid leave for a period of no longer than one (1) year.

How often are offices cleaned?

(Added July 15, 2021)  Offices are cleaned every other week. Cleaning includes vacuuming, dusting, dry and wet mopping (if tile floor) and cleaning doors handles and plates. Please contact the Solutions Center at 413-545-6401 for spills and/or if you need a rapid response.

Where can I find documents related to Spring 2020 furloughs and reduced hours for AFSCME members?

(Added Dec. 22, 2021) Documents translated into 11 languages are available at Documents Related to Notification of Furloughs and Reduced Hours for AFSCME Members.

 

 

CAMPUS OPERATIONS

What are the mask requirements at UMass Amherst?

(Updated Jan. 14, 2022) An indoor mask mandate remains in place until further notice. Everyone should use a higher-grade mask, such as KN95, KF94, or N95, or double-mask. Cloths masks are not effective in limiting the spread of omicron and should only be used in double masking, with a close-fitting surgical mask underneath. Gaiters, single-layer cloth masks and masks with vents should not be used.

What is the latest campus policy for attending indoor events, including athletics events?

(Updated Jan. 12, 2022) UMass Amherst expects everyone attending an indoor event to be vaccinated or have a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of the event.  Read more at Current Guidance for Fall 2021 Events

UMass Athletics has made it mandatory that all guests aged five and older attending indoor athletic events be fully vaccinated or have a negative COVID-19 (PCR or antigen) test result within 72 hours of the event date. All attendees must wear masks at all times except when actively eating or drinking. Children under five can still attend events but must wear a mask at all times. See the complete UMass Athletics policy for guests attending in-arena events

When and where are face coverings required on campus?

(Updated Jan. 14, 2022) All members of the UMass community ­­— students, faculty and staff —as well as contractors and visitors are required to wear face coverings in public indoor spaces on the UMass Amherst campus. The requirements applies to vaccinated and non-vaccinated individuals. Face coverings must be worn in nearly all indoor public spaces, including classrooms, hallways, elevators, restrooms, break rooms, entries and exits to buildings, laboratories, meeting rooms, shared offices and work areas.

Your face covering must:

  • Cover your nose and mouth
  • Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of your face
  • Be secured with ties, elastic or ear loops
  • Allow for breathing without restriction

The indoor mask requirement remains in effect until further notice  

Where are face coverings NOT required?

(Updated Aug. 30, 2021) In accordance with public health guidance, face coverings are not required:

  • in personal offices when alone
  • by faculty when teaching a class if they remain at least six feet away from all students and if they tell students why they are removing their face covering
  • in research spaces when alone
  • when eating in a dining hall or other campus eatery
  • in residence hall rooms
  • outdoors
  • for children under the age of 2
  • for anyone with a medical condition that prevents the use of a face covering

Are student guests and visitors allowed in residence halls in Spring 2022?

(Updated Jan. 10, 2022) To deter the spread of COVID-19, the guest policy in effect in Fall 2021 will remain. No guests are allowed in residence halls until further notice. A guest is defined as someone who does not live in the residence hall. Two family members or helpers can help with move-in and move-out. 

What are the policies for spectators attending Athletics events that take place inside?

(Added Oct. 1, 2021) Everyone aged 12 and older who attends a campus indoor athletic event is expected to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or show a negative COVID-19 (PCR or antigen) test result within 72 hours of the event date. UMass Athletics reserves the right to request proof of vaccination/negative test prior to event admission. If guests do not meet the expectations or cannot provide proof of vaccination/negative test, UMass Athletics reserves the right to deny admission to the event. Read more about this policy on the Athletics website.

What are the requirements for vendors, contractors and others conducting business on campus?

(Added Sept. 23, 2021) Everyone visiting campus must wear face coverings when indoors and follow campus COVID-19 health and safety requirements, including showing proof of COVID-19 when required. Outdoor campus spaces are open to the public with face coverings optional. People experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should not to come to campus.

Please see the latest COVID-19 Requirements for Vendors, Contractors and Persons Conducting Business on Campus document for full details.

How does custodial services staff clean and disinfect campus spaces?

(Updated Aug. 17, 2021) According to CDC recommendations, when no people with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 are known to have been in a space, cleaning once a day is enough to sufficiently remove viruses that may be on surfaces and help maintain a healthy facility. Disinfecting will continue to be done in restrooms, showers, and locker rooms as is standard procedure.

Cleaning works by using soap, or detergent, and water to physically remove germs from surfaces. This process does not necessarily kill germs, but by removing them, it lowers their numbers and the risk of spreading infection. 

Disinfecting uses chemicals to kill germs on surfaces or objects after these surfaces have been cleaned.  No disinfection will be done outside of spaces listed above unless staff are responding to an EHS request.

For more information, you can view the CDC page on Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility.

How often are offices cleaned?

(Added July 15, 2021)  Offices are cleaned every other week. Cleaning includes vacuuming, dusting, dry and wet mopping (if tile floor) and cleaning doors handles and plates. Please contact the Solutions Center at 413-545-6401 for spills and/or if you need a rapid response.

How is Physical Plant Pest Control checking buildings for pests?

(Added July 15, 2021) Pest Control staff are coordinating with Custodial Services as academic buildings are cleaned. Pest Control has two shifts with staff available from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. You may call the Solutions Center at 413-545-6401 to request additional services if you notice an ongoing pest issue.

How is trash removed from my workspace?

(Added July 15, 2021)  All academic buildings have established central pick-up points. Occupants take their trash to this central location, from which custodial staff remove it. Maps identifying these locations are available on the Physical Plant Custodial webpage

What COVID-19 related guidelines are used to determine best practices for HVAC?

(Added Aug. 19, 2021) UMass Amherst is using COIVD-19 related guidelines developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) to inform HVAC-related measures on campus.

What do I need to know about ventilation in university buildings?

(Updated Dec. 5, 2021) The university is employing ventilation best practices across campus. University buildings are supplied with a percentage of outside air either via mechanical fans (a mechanical HVAC system), or natural ventilation (e.g., operable windows), dependent on each building and system. Naturally-ventilated classrooms also have air purifiers for operation during the cold winter months when windows cannot be opened.

HVAC

  • In buildings with HVAC systems, air is mechanically supplied to building spaces by air handler units.  These units are started two hours prior to occupancy. Air handlers increase air flow rates as much as possible during occupancy.
  • Air handlers serving laboratory buildings provide 100 percent outside air. This means that all of the air delivered to the space from the air handler comes directly from outside and is 100 percent exhausted, with no recirculation. Windows in lab spaces with fume hoods should not be opened because this can interfere with the functioning of the fume hood. Fume hoods provide excellent exhaust for spaces and ensure adequate ventilation without opening windows.
  • Many non-lab buildings recirculate a portion of the air from the space and mix it with a portion of outdoor air. In these buildings, the campus optimizes the system to bring in maximum fresh air whenever possible and exhaust it entirely or filter any recirculated air.
  • HVAC air filtration is rated by Minimum Efficiency Reporting Values, known as MERV ratings. ASHRAE recommends filters with MERV13 rating or higher as part of its COVID-19 guidelines. UMass is utilizing MERV13 and MERV14 rated filters for all areas where air is recirculated. 
  • Facilities maintenance staff continue to perform scheduled preventive maintenance on all HVAC systems. 

Natural Ventilation

  • In buildings that use natural ventilation, occupants are encouraged to open operable windows while occupying a space.  For instructional spaces with natural ventilation, Physical Plant staff are responsible for opening and closing the windows.
  • Natural ventilation is an approved method by the CDC of improving ventilation, and good air change has been observed with this method on campus. 
  • If you are not sure if your building uses natural ventilation or mechanical ventilation, please contact your Building Coordinator.

Air Purifiers

  • The university is providing air purification units to naturally ventilated classrooms. During warmer months, opening windows provides additional fresh air to naturally ventilated spaces. Opening windows in the colder months can lead to occupant discomfort, frozen pipes and less energy efficiency. 

 

If you have concerns about specific spaces, please contact EH&S at askehs@umass.edu or at 413-545-2682. To report a ventilation problem in academic and administrative buildings, contact the Facilities Solutions Center at 413-545-6401.

Why are air purifiers provided to some classrooms?

(Added Dec. 5, 2021) The university is providing air purification units to naturally ventilated classrooms for enhanced ventilation. During warmer months, opening windows provides additional fresh air to naturally ventilated spaces. Opening the windows in the colder months can lead to occupant discomfort, frozen pipes and less energy efficiency. 

What air purification technology is used in the provided units?

(Added Dec. 5, 2021)  Air purification units all contain a carbon filter and high efficient particulate air (HEPA) filters. Carbon filters remove odor causing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the air, while HEPA filters are capable of removing 99.97% of particulates and aerosols that are 0.3 micrometers (μm) in diameter. Note that HEPA filters are rated for a capture efficiency of 0.3 μm particles because this size is the most difficult to capture. This means that the filters are even more efficient at capturing particles of other diameters.

If I want an air purifier in my classroom, will the university provide one on request?

(Added Dec. 5, 2021) The university is providing air purifiers to naturally ventilated classrooms. If your classroom has mechanical ventilation, it does not need an air purifier.  If you believe your classroom is naturally ventilated and needs an air purifier, but it does not have one, please contact Environmental Health and Safety for an evaluation at askehs@umass.edu or 413-545-2682.

How should air purification units be positioned and how often are the filters changed?

(Added Dec. 5, 2021) The units have both an inlet, where air is taken from the room into the unit, and an outlet where filtered air is returned into the room. The units should be positioned so they do not blow directly onto one person. The units will be positioned correctly when they are delivered to spaces, but please check these periodically to ensure appropriate placement. If you have questions about appropriate placement, please contact Environmental Health and Safety at askehs@umass.edu or 413-545-2682.

The HEPA filters on the units are rated by the manufacturer for at least one year of service.  The filters will be changed as needed by the Physical Plant per the manufacturer's schedule. The units also have indicator lights to alert users when they need to change the filter. If the indicator lights are on, please report this to the Solutions Center at 413-545-6401 and the filters will be replaced.

What can I do to improve ventilation in my residence hall?

(Added Aug. 19, 2021) Heating and ventilation in the residence halls has been reviewed and it is recommended that students in naturally ventilated residence halls slightly open windows (1/4” to 2” crack) when occupying their room or common spaces to allow fresh air to circulate in the room. It is recommended not to leave windows open when a space is not occupied. Please close windows when you leave a space. If a window will not open or close properly, please submit an iService Request.

It is not necessary to open windows in the Commonwealth Honors College Residential Community and North Apartments because the mechanical ventilating systems in these buildings introduce enough outdoor air  automatically. It is important not to block supply and return diffusers in these buildings with items like furniture.

Bathrooms and restrooms in all residence halls use mechanical ventilation, and hallways have 100% fresh air supply. Opening windows in these spaces is not necessary.

 

Do bathrooms, restrooms, and elevators have ventilation?

(Added Aug. 19, 2021) Yes, bathrooms and restrooms have exhaust systems that removes air from the space and all elevators use mechanical ventilation.

What are the minimum air change rates spaces should have?

(Added Aug. 19, 2021) There is no minimum acceptable air change rate for a space as this is dependent on the activities and number of occupants in a space at a given time. It is important to note that dilution ventilation (i.e., increasing the air change rates) is not an effective strategy for controlling airborne contaminants on its own. Buildings on campus are providing at least the minimum supply air cubic feet per minute (cfm) per person as provided by ASHRAE 62.1.

Who should I call with requests or concerns about custodial services or questions about the air purification setup in a classroom?

(Updated Dec. 5, 2021) The Solutions Center is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year at 413-545-6401. You may also contact your Customer Service Representative.