AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – UMass Amherst will be ending its mandatory indoor mask mandate on Wednesday.

According to the news release by UMass, the mandate will lift its indoor mask requirement at 7 a.m. Wednesday. Students and staff are now able to wear masks at their discretion but will be required to wear masks on public transportation (including PVTA buses) and in healthcare facilities, including University Health Services, Public Health Promotion Center, and Center for Counseling and Psychological Health. Masks will also be required in the Center for Early Education and Child Care.

“I feel very good because this is the first time this has happened in a year and a half here,” said Sophomore Angela Callahan. “I get to see people’s face and get to know people so I’m excited about it.”

Data indicates that severe illness is extremely rare within Amherst, as it’s a highly vaccinated and boosted community. However, UMass urges their campus community to continue monitoring themselves for COVID-19 symptoms every day before coming to campus. 

For students who began college during the pandemic, masks were just another part of the routine. Due to the requirement, connecting with classmates was a challenge.

“Last semester I think that’s what made it so difficult to make friends in class specifically, was that you had to wear it and I can’t even recognize some of my classmates without it,” said Freshman Sadie Gardner.

22News spoke with students like Senior Brandon Anderson who said he will remain wearing a mask indoors, just as a precaution, “It makes me a little uneasy honestly. I got coronavirus and it messed me up for a pretty long time I would say. So I don’t want to get it again.”

If you are a member of the community and feel unwell, you are being urged to stay home and get tested. UHS has symptomatic testing available for students, or, if you have an unobserved test kit on hand you can drop it off at one of the campus kiosks.