Operational Posture

Guarded

  • Moderate number of cases, with most cases from a known source
  • Increased personal public health precautions to limit personal exposure warranted

What to Expect

COVID-19 Operational Postures at UMass Amherst

COVID-19 Operational Postures at UMass Amherst

For the Spring Semester, UMass Amherst has developed four operational postures that drive our decision making and activity levels.

COVID-19 is a global pandemic and all members of our community must remain vigilant in taking active steps to curb the spread of the virus. While the university has extensive safety, testing and contact tracing protocols in place, we cannot fully eliminate the spread of COVID-19. For the Spring Semester, UMass Amherst has developed four operational postures that drive our decision making and activity levels. While all of our operational postures meet the minimum requirements provided by local, state  and federal public health guidelines, we will customize them based on factors unique to the UMass.

Determining the Appropriate Operational Posture 

The university’s operational posture determination will take into account a variety of factors such as current positive case numbers and trends, state and federal guidance, and the campus’ continuing ability to manage contact tracing, quarantine, and isolation through the pandemic. The assessment will be made by the Public Health Response Team, which meets on a daily basis. The team consists of the executive director of University Health Services, the executive director of Environmental Health and Safety, the director of Public Health, and two faculty members from the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology. 

When there is change in operational posture status, the status will be updated on at www.umass.edu/coronavirus/operationalposture.

The Public Health Response Team monitors a variety of indicators to determine what actions may be required should conditions change.

    The indicators used to determine operational postures include, but are not limited, to:

    • Increase or decrease in COVID-19 cases in Hampshire County  
    • Increase or decrease in COVID-19 weekly positivity rate in Amherst
    • Increase or decrease in COVID-19 overall positivity rate at UMass Amherst
    • Increase or decrease in COVID-19 weekly positivity rate at UMass Amherst
    • Increase or decrease in COVID-19 cases in last 24 hours at UMass Amherst
    • Turnaround time for obtaining test results  
    • Percentage of capacity utilized for quarantine and isolation rooms at UMass residential facilities
    • Inventory levels for critical supplies  
    • Operational status of departments on campus  
    • State of regional hospital capacity
    • Effective contact tracing capacity  
    • Changes in Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MA DPH) public health mandates and guidance

    Operational Postures

    All levels of risk will require:

    • Daily practice of public health precautions: physical distancing, wearing masks, symptom checking and hand washing
    • Participation in required testing program

    Monitored

    • Cases minimal and transmission controlled
    • Personal public health precautions to limit personal exposure warranted

    What to Expect

    • Combination of in-person, hybrid and remote learning.
    • Asymptomatic testing required of all students.
    • Student gatherings (greater than 5) require plan approved by Environmental Health & Safety that meet standards for indoor or outdoor maximum occupancy as appropriate.
    • Visitors not allowed on campus, including residence halls, and travel strongly discouraged
    • Campus Recreation Center open with limited capacity.
    • Limited seating capacity in dining commons for in-person dining.
    • Modified density in labs and research activities with public health modifications.
    • Remote work or telework is preferred method. Onsite work determined by appropriate vice chancellor’s administrative area.

    Guarded

    • Moderate number of cases, with most cases from a known source
    • Increased personal public health precautions to limit personal exposure warranted

    What to Expect

    • Combination of in-person, hybrid and online learning continues.
    • Frequency of testing may be increased for some populations.
    • Student gatherings (greater than 5) require plan approved by Environmental Health & Safety that meet standards for indoor or outdoor maximum occupancy as appropriate.
    • Visitors not allowed on campus, including residence halls, and travel strongly discouraged  
    • UMass may further reduce capacity of on-campus spaces.
    • UMass may further reduce seating capacity in dining commons for in-person dining. Grab-and-go dining options increased.
    • UMass may further reduce capacity of Campus Recreation Center. Individuals encouraged to exercise distanced outdoors, on and off campus. Community members encouraged to take advantage of being outside as much as possible.
    • Remote work or telework is preferred method. Onsite work determined by appropriate vice chancellor’s administrative area.

    Elevated

    • Increased number of cases, including spread in the community and on campus
    • Increased public health measures to limit most contacts. Modify everyday activities to reduce personal exposure.

    What to Expect

    • Selected classes may move to remote format.
    • Frequency of testing may be further increased for some populations.
    • No student gatherings of any size permitted.
    • Visitors not allowed on campus, including residence halls. Travel restricted.  
    • Campus building access restricted.   
    • Campus Recreation Center limited to virtual activities. Individuals encouraged to exercise distanced outdoors, on and off campus. Community members encouraged to take advantage of being outside as much as possible.
    • UMass may further eliminate seating capacity in dining commons for in-person dining and rely on grab-and-go dining.
    • Additional steps may be taken to de-densify campus, including:
      • Moving all classes online and requiring students to stay in their rooms or apartments, except to get food (grab-and-go) and to complete COVID testing.
      • Ask employees who previously returned to campus to support non-essential activities to work remotely.

    High Risk

    • Cases growing and signs of community and campus spread prevalent
    • Maximized public health measures to avoid all non-mandatory contact. Avoid all travel outside your residence to reduce personal exposure.

    What to Expect

    • All classes moved to remote format.
    • Frequency of testing may be further increased for some populations.
    • No student gatherings of any size permitted.
    • Visitors not allowed on campus, including residence halls. Travel restricted.
    • Campus building access restricted.
    • Additional steps may be taken to de-densify campus, including:
      • Campus restricted to essential operations. Only residential students and employees needed to support residential students or essential research and clinical activities will be allowed on campus.
      • On-campus students must remain in their rooms (except to receive meals and for COVID testing)
      • Off-campus students in the Amherst area also asked to stay in their off-campus apartments, except to receive meals and for COVID testing.
      • If needed to further de-densify campus, a phased move-out may be implemented.