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Mask Policy Update

Updated February 28, 2022

To the Members of the University Community,

Over the last two years, we learned a lot about COVID-19 and how to navigate a very challenging set of circumstances. Thank you for rising to every challenge. Together, we modeled agility and resilience, and in doing so, kept ourselves and our community safe, while continuing to operate, live, and learn together. 

A new phase is upon us and it is time to pivot. Our monitoring of vaccination and infection rates on campus, in Hampden County, and across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, in addition to new guidance recently published by the CDC, has informed the decision to shift WNE’s current mask policy.

We will move to a policy that balances a demonstration of care for those more vulnerable to the disease with relaxed practices available to community members who are comfortable not wearing masks in certain indoor spaces. As a first step, we will differentiate between the types of spaces on campus where we will move to “mask optional” rather than “mask required.”  This will ensure that we are responding to the changing external environment while continuing to stress the importance of continuity of learning and caring for one another.

Masks will continue to be required in all classroom and laboratory settings, as well as in administrative and private offices, floors 2-3 in the University Commons when not eating, D’Amour and Law Libraries, and in the Caprio Alumni Healthful Living Center. 

Effective March 1, 2022, all spaces in the residence halls, common areas within all buildings (i.e. the first floors of the St. Germain Campus Center and the University Commons) will be designated as mask optional. Masks are not required outdoors.  

We will continue to monitor all internal and external variables, with potential policy updates to be communicated on March 25, one week after students return from spring break.

As we move to this new phase of our mask policy, it is essential that we continue to demonstrate civility and tolerance toward each other. We all have different perspectives and comfort levels when it comes to COVID-19. To that end, we are asking our community to be “mask-ready,” an atmosphere in which everyone, including visitors and guests, is carrying a mask and prepared to wear it when required and/or if asked.

Thank you for being diligent and responsive to the needs of our entire community as we continue to evolve our policies and practices. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.


Basil A. Stewart, Vice President for Finance and Administration, Chair of the Emergency Management Response Team (EMRT)

Kathleen Noone, Director, Center for Health and Wellness Center