All individuals must wear masks indoors, on campus shuttles, and in crowded outdoor areas.

Starting Monday, all individuals at UMass Boston will be required to wear masks to protect against rising COVID-19 rates.  

In a campus memo released Friday, university officials announced the reinstated mask policy as Boston health officials urged residents to take precautions after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) raised Suffolk County’s community risk for COVID-19 from “medium” to “high.”

The CDC recommends that all individuals wear masks indoors when the community level has become high.

“While on-campus transmission has remained low and our very highly vaccinated population continues to have strong protection against severe disease, we nonetheless will continue to follow the CDC guidance,” said Robert Pomales, Executive Director of University Health Services, and Marie Bowen, Vice Chancellor for Human Resources, in the memo.

The university’s mask requirement applies to every person, regardless of vaccination status. Masks must be worn indoors, including campus shuttles and crowded outdoor settings. 

“For the sake of the health of our campus and community, we are hopeful that this latest wave of the COVID pandemic will pass quickly,” the memo said. “We extend a heartfelt thank you to all our students, faculty, and staff for your continued vigilance in keeping our community safe.”

According to the Boston Public Health Commission, there have been 306 new COVID-related hospitalizations in Boston as of Jan. 4, representing an increase of 41 percent over the previous two weeks. The concentration of COVID-19 detected in local wastewater as of Dec. 29 also grew by 41 percent over the previous week and 116 percent over the previous two weeks.

As students and staff return from winter break, K-12 public school districts in Boston, Newton, Arlington, and Watertown also recommend that students and staff wear masks.

On Thursday, Massachusetts health officials reported 10,075 COVID-19 cases and 129 deaths over the past week. The seven-day average of positive test results spiked to 13.39 percent, up from 7.85 percent in the first week of December.


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