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University of Massachusetts at Amherst bans students from walking around outside


University of Massachusetts at Amherst bans students from walking around outside or hanging out in each others dorm rooms amid surge in COVID cases on campus

  • Students are allowed to leave their dorm rooms to go to the bathroom
  • They can also leave their rooms to get food, or do laundry, and pick up packages
  • Pet owners are allowed to take their pets for a short walk while wearing a mask
  • Students who have ‘critical on-campus employment’ are allowed to work, but those with off-campus jobs are expected to obey the order
  • According to the school, there were 51 new cases reported on February 10. The school has a total of 500 active cases with a 7-day positivity rate of 2.12%

Students at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst have been banned from walking around campus or hanging out in each other’s dorm rooms as cases of COVID-19 surge on campus.

Campus officials have ordered students to self-sequester ‘at the encouragement of state public health officials,’ according to the school’s website. 

Students who leave campus for any reason may not be able to return, and students planning to leave campus have been directed to email the school for ‘guidance and instruction concerning your final move-out.’

‘It may further spread the virus through your travel and would also require additional isolation/quarantine time and resources,’ according to the website.

Students who remain on campus are expected to stay in their rooms ‘at all times.’

According to the school, there were 51 new cases reported on February 10. The school has a total of 500 active cases with a 7-day cumulative positivity rate of 2.12%. 

The only times students are allowed out of their rooms are to go to the bathroom on their floors or get food, and to get tested for the coronavirus twice a week.

Pet owners can take short walks while wearing a mask to meet their needs as long as they practice social distancing.

Students walk on the campus of UMass Amherst in January, before a ban on walking the campus went into effect

Students who have had exposure to COVID-19 have been directed to live in these apartments, pictured, to quarantine

Students who have had exposure to COVID-19 have been directed to live in these apartments, pictured, to quarantine

According to the school, there were 51 new cases reported on February 10 as the self-sequester order went into effect

According to the school, there were 51 new cases reported on February 10 as the self-sequester order went into effect

‘Some of these activities represent opportunities to walk and get exercise outside, so please also view them in this way,’ the website reads.

Students who have ‘critical on-campus employment’ can work, but those with off-campus jobs are expected to obey the order.

‘We also understand that the directive to self-sequester may present financial hardship for students who rely on income from their employment,’ the school said on its website.

‘As a result, we have set up an Employment Assistance Grant program to support students in need.’

A fraternity at the school has faced an interim suspension after it was revealed it hosted large gatherings in late January, according to the school.

Theta Chi was suspended ‘pending investigation by the Student Conduct and Community Standards Office. The chapter has been directed to cease all chapter-related functions,’ campus officials said.

‘Student socialization in large and small groups, both on-campus and off-campus, contributed to the recent increase in cases of COVID-19 at UMass Amherst.’

The national Theta Chi  chapter issued a statement disputing allegations, obtained by the Daily Hampshire Gazette.

UMass officials reportedly responded on February 4 that the comprehensive review had already found no wrongdoing. 

The lockdown at UMass Amherst comes just days after UC Berkeley took similar action on Wednesday.

Students in California are also not allowed to exit their dorms to conduct solo outdoor exercise, and a self-sequester mandate that was put in place for the campus has been extended until February 15. 

An email from UC Berkeley student affairs to the student body obtained by The Daily Californian also announces an potential increase in campus security officers around the dorms.

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