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Mask Policy

Updated January 5, 2022

Until further notice, all Western New England University community members (students, faculty, and staff) are required to wear a face covering.

Outside: Masks will be required in outdoor public events, where six feet of physical distance cannot be maintained. This includes but is not limited to; sporting events, homecoming weekend, and other outdoor University-sponsored events.

Inside (general policy): Masking inside buildings is required, including classrooms, laboratories, and residence hall common areas. This applies to vaccinated and unvaccinated students, faculty, staff, and campus visitors.

NEW for Spring 2022

Link: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/types-of-masks.html

Single-layer cloth masks may not provide adequate protection against the omicron variant. Avoid the use of loose-fitting knit materials, cloth masks, or single-layer items such as bandanas or neck gaiters.

3 ply tight-fitting masks, double masking, or N95 or KN95 masks are strongly recommended.

Athletics: Masks are required in dugouts, benches, and other common seating areas for outdoor moderate and high-risk contact team sports including but not limited to:

Baseball, softball, volleyball, soccer, field hockey, football, wrestling, rugby, basketball, lacrosse, ice hockey, competitive cheer, dance, and intramural activity. 

WNE participates in the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) Division III athletic events. As such, our student-athlete policies are aligned with CCC policies.

Important noteworthy points are:

  • Vaccinated student-athletes and officials are NOT required to be masked when competing or participating in an indoor event.
  • Unvaccinated student-athletes and officials ARE required to be masked when competing or participating in an indoor event.
  • All other student-athletes, recreational athletes, coaching staff, and spectators are expected to adhere to WNE's mask policy at all times.

Inside Mask Exceptions:

Exceptions will be made in the following circumstances:

  • Individuals working alone in an enclosed space (an office, research lab, or area with a door or dividers five feet tall or higher).
  • Student residential rooms. Masks are required in all common areas (hallways, lounges, etc.).
  • Performers or presenters at a speaking event are not required to wear a face covering but must adhere to social distancing of at least ten feet from their audience.
  • Students using the very small individual study rooms located in D’Amour Library are NOT required to wear a mask when using the area. Students are expected to adhere to the mask policy if the room is being used for work beyond single-occupancy, such as tutoring or small group work.

Every community member is required to abide by this policy. If an employee or student refuses to comply with this policy, they will be asked to remove themselves from their location and may face disciplinary action as outlined in the student or employee handbook.

Who is exempted from wearing a face-covering?

Certain medical and mental health conditions may exempt a person from wearing a face covering. Students should contact Student Accessibility Services for more information. Employees should contact Human Resources for more information.

People under the age of two are exempt from this policy.

Additional Guidelines

  • Community members may wear their own face covering instead of the face covering provided by Western New England University.
  • Face coverings must cover the nose, mouth, and chin.
  • Face masks should fit snugly against the side of the face. They must be secured with ear loops or other secure fittings around the head and include multiple layers of fabric.
  • Consider wearing a K95 or N95 mask (without a valve).
  • When putting on, adjusting, or removing the face covering, only touch the straps. Do not touch the face covering.
  • Hand sanitizer should be used after touching your face covering.
  • Face coverings must be stored in a safe location (in your pocket, desk, or plastic bag) and sanitized/washed regularly with soap and water.
  • Face coverings do not have to be worn when eating or smoking in an appropriate or designated location.
  • Food and drink are not permitted in classrooms or other locations where face coverings are required at all times.

Ways ensure a better fit and extra protection:

  • Wear two masks (a disposable mask underneath AND a cloth mask on top).
  • Combine either a cloth mask or disposable mask with a nose fitter or brace.
  • Knot and tuck ear loops of a 3-ply mask where they join the edge of the mask.
  • Use masks that attach behind the neck and head with either elastic bands or ties (instead of ear loops).

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Archive of Mask Policy

Mask Policy
September 17, 2021

Mask Policy
September 3, 2021

Mask Policy
August 7, 2021