Massachusetts Education Dept. asking colleges and universities to ease up on COVID restrictions

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AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – Two cabinet secretaries within the Baker administration have written to public and private college presidents, encouraging them to consider relaxing mask requirements on campus.

UMass has had COVID restrictions in place since 2020 to ensure the public health and safety on campus, but some students think it might be time to ease some of these restrictions.

UMass Amherst continues a mask mandate for public spaces and encourages everyone to wear high filtration masks in public areas.

The Education Secretary James Peyser and Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders is asking college presidents across the commonwealth to ease those restrictions.

22News spoke to some UMass students to find out how they are coping with the current public health restrictions.

“I think overall everything is going fine I’m happy to see the restrictions get lifted. But I def it rly think it’s important to do it at a nice slow rate that everyone is comfortable with,” said Jackson Henning, a UMass Amherst junior.

Governor Baker and the two state secretaries believe that young people are at low risk, and have easy access to testing and vaccine availability within universities and colleges.

Colin McCarthy is a UMass Amherst Student, who says that the current restrictions are too limiting. “It feels super limiting right now to be honest I know a lot of people want to bring family members here or significant others onto campus.” McCarthy added “This isn’t going away anytime soon regardless of what the protocols are.”

At UMass Amherst students are not able to have non-university guests in residential halls or more than two UMass students within a residential hall.

“Some people disagree with the mask mandates, but there is also a lot of people that agree with them too. So I feel like if it kind of became optional if you happen to be high risk….but I don’t feel like we should be forced,” said UMass Amherst senior Ryan Forgues.

It is unclear at this time whether or not UMass Amherst will ease their current COVID-19 restrictions.



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