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Mask Update

Updated September 17, 2021

On Monday, September 13, the City of Springfield by order of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Board of Health, implemented a citywide mask mandate policy, regardless of vaccination status, through November 1, 2021.

Link: Springfield Mask Mandate Sept 9, 2021

In response to this mandate, WNE has updated the mask policy to be in alignment with regulatory requirements. Updates are noted below:

Until further notice, all Western New England University community members (students, faculty, and staff) are required to wear a face-covering in the following circumstances:

Outside: Masks will be required in outdoor public events, where physical distancing of six (6) feet cannot be maintained. This includes but is not limited to; sporting events, homecoming weekend, and other University outdoor sponsored events.

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. 

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

Inside (exceptions): Exceptions will be made in the following circumstances:

  • Individuals working alone in an enclosed space (an office, research lab, area with a door or dividers 5 feet tall or higher).
  • Student residential rooms, (but not common areas).
  • Meetings and small group work taking place in enclosed offices/conference rooms where all attendees are fully vaccinated and close contact can be avoided.
  • Performers, or presenters at a speaking event are not required to wear a face covering, but must adhere to social distancing of at least 10 feet from their audience.

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 (2) are exempt from this policy.

Additional Guidelines

  • Community members may wear their own face covering (shield or mask) 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.
  • 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.
  • Cloth face coverings should be washed after using for one day. Disposable masks should be disposed of after use for one day and should not be used for multiple days.

A face covering is defined by Western New England University as a face shield or face mask.

I would like to thank the entire Golden Bear community on their ongoing efforts to keep each other safe.

Kathleen M. Noone
Director, Center for Health and Wellness