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January 13, 2021

Dear Students,

Last summer, as we prepared for the Fall semester, we implemented numerous safety measures, testing requirements, and policies designed to mitigate the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 within our community. The policies are captured in the Fall 2020 Campus Guide for AS&E Students and the testing protocols on our website.

Among the many changes we introduced was the establishment of a Residential Cohort system. Following a great deal of input from students, families, and our Residential Life staff including RAs, and after consulting with our medical team, we have concluded that the cohort model has become redundant to the other safety measures we have in place and have discontinued them.

This change does not constitute a relaxation of our policies and procedures designed to mitigate the transmission of the virus in our community. Our residential policy continues to recommend that you maintain a physical distance of six feet from other people. We understand that there may be instances when staying six feet apart is difficult, such as in a shared lounge, a kitchen, or common spaces such as hallways. In these types of spaces, it remains essential to observe occupancy limits and any posted signage related to traffic flow. Face coverings must still be worn at all times when you are outside of your room.

If you live in campus housing, we also want to remind you that no guests--including students from other residence halls--are allowed in residential buildings at any time this year.

Given the ongoing pandemic, for everyone’s health and safety, we do not anticipate relaxing our current policies and guidelines in the spring semester.

We cannot become complacent and must remain vigilant. COVID-19 positivity rates are now very high in Massachusetts and nationwide. Now that colder and more inclement weather has arrived, people are spending more time indoors, which may increase transmission rates.

It is very important to follow all of the university’s safety guidelines and protocols. In particular, please take special care to observe these three key behaviors that are critical to everyone’s health:

  • Wear a mask over your nose and mouth 24/7, indoors and outdoors, on and off campusunless one of the three exceptions applies: 1. You are in your bedroom with no one other than your roommate; 2. You are eating; or 3. You are performing personal grooming. This means that you must wear a mask over your nose and mouth when you are in common spaces of your residence hall or apartment.
  • Keep six feet of physical distance between you and others at all times, indoors and outdoors, on and off campus. 
  • Do not host or attend social gatherings of more than 10 people, indoors or outdoors, on or off campus. Any time you host someone in your room, all attendees must wear masks at all times and be 6 feet apart, meaning a 10 person gathering is likely not possible in your residence hall room.

Thank you for your ongoing cooperation and adherence to the policies.

With all best wishes,

Joshua Hartman
Director, Office of Residential Life and Learning

Camille Lizarríbar, JD, PhD
Dean, Student Affairs and Chief Student Affairs Officer for AS&E