To enhance their coordinated response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the Town of Amherst have appointed a high-level Working Group to address areas of mutual concern.
Students will be returning to the Amherst area next month as UMass prepares to begin classes Aug. 24th.
Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy said, “We look forward to working closely with our partners in the Town of Amherst. Our shared goal is to implement an extensive set of public health protocols and strategies, and I’m confident we will each do our part to protect our community. We are committed – as we always have been – to collaborate with the Town to meet the many challenges posed by the global pandemic.”
Town Manager Paul Bockelman said, “With the return of thousands of students, the University and the Town have a shared interest in ensuring the health and safety of our entire community including our students, whether they live on or off campus. It is critically important that the Town and University meet regularly, with key decision-makers at the table, to address vital concerns of both the University and Town. Our goal is to share information in real time and work through important issues together.”
State Senator Jo Comerford said, “This working group will help to ensure that there is solid and clear communication and information sharing between stakeholders as the region prepares for college students to return. I'm looking forward to joining these conversations and to helping ensure that the Commonwealth does everything it can to offer necessary support. This is a difficult time for all concerned, and I hope this working group will help the University and community navigate the way forward together."
State Representative Mindy Domb said, "This working group will meet a critical need for facilitating communication, sharing information, and taking action so that we can prevent a COVID-19 outbreak or respond quickly and effectively should one occur. It also provides an opportunity for key stakeholders to address community concerns and risks as they emerge. We need this commitment from both the University and the Town to make sure we are in conversation together during this challenging time. Our mutual vigilance will help to keep our community informed and safe."
The 17-member Working Group includes:
- Ann Becker, public health and infection control nurse, University Health Services
- Paul Bockelman, Amherst town manager
- Nancy Buffone, associate vice chancellor for University Relations
- Jo Comerford, state senator
- Mindy Domb, state representative
- Derek Dunlea, student trustee and graduate student
- Julie Federman, Amherst health director
- Steve Goodwin, deputy chancellor
- Lynn Griesemer, president, Amherst Town Council
- Jeff Hescock, executive director of Environmental Health and Safety and Emergency Management
- John Kennedy, vice chancellor for University Relations
- Sally Linowski, associate dean of students, Off Campus Student Life and Community Engagement
- Scott Livingstone, chief, Amherst Police Department
- Tony Maroulis, executive director, External Relations and University Events
- Tim Nelson, emergency management director and chief, Amherst Fire Department
- Seni Nkeng, vice president, Student Government Association and undergraduate student
- David Ziomek, Amherst assistant town manager