UMass Amherst Returns To In-Person Classes After Recent COVID Case Spike

By Jason Hall

February 22, 2021

School buildings at UMass Amherst

The University of Massachusetts at Amherst returned to in-person classes Monday (February 22) following a recent pause due to a spike in COVID-19 cases.

UMass officials said recently implemented restrictions helped reduce the spread of the coronavirus and allowed the school to decrease its risk level from "high" to "elevated," Boston 25 News reports.

A message from Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy on Friday (February 19) said the university decided to return to in-person classes after consulting with the state's Department of Public Health.

Students will be allowed to attend classes on campus this week if they comply with requirements to under COVID-19 testing twice a week. Sports teams will be allowed to return to practices and away games, but won't host any home games until mid-March.

Subbaswarmy said students are still banned from holding unauthorized gatherings at any capacity, which includes small gatherings without masks or social distancing, noting that they were "a significant cause" of the recent COVID-19 case spike on campus.

Earlier this month, UMass Amherst placed the campus on lock down and several restrictions have been implemented for students, including a limit on who can take walks around the campus, NBC Boston reports.

Students were directed to limit interaction at the encouragement of state public health officials in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19 and the school expects everyone's cooperation, according to UMass Amherst's official website.

All UMass Amherst classes were held remotely and students living in dormitories or off-campus housing will be instructed not to leave their residences with exceptions including meals.

All UMass Amherst athletic practices and competitions were canceled as part of the new restrictions. The near-shutdown on campus will continue until at least February 21 and will only be lifted "if the public health situation improves significantly" during that time.

Students living in residence halls were prohibited from leaving their residence to go for a walk as they are required to isolate in their dorm, according to UMass Amherst's website. However, students with dogs were allowed to go on short walks while wearing a mask, but needed meet social distancing guidelines and avoid unnecessary interactions with others.

Photo: Getty Images

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