AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – UMass Amherst is currently going through one of their most significant COVID-19 outbreaks of the school year. Students are now required to follow strict guidelines in an effort to stop the spread.
After hearing about a lot of cases in a short period of time, Governor Charlie Baker said the university is making the right decision, he’s just hoping students will do their part.
Eight days into the spring semester and UMass Amherst has reported 431 active cases of COVID-19. Due to this outbreak, the university has implemented strict restrictions with strict consequences. Restrictions include all classes being remote and no eating in the dining halls among others.
Violation could result in removal from campus housing or suspension.
“To basically put an equivalent of a stay in place order is not an unusual way to use that strategy to deal with the amount of spread they are dealing with. Others have done it and it’s worked pretty well,” said Gov. Baker.
Baker added younger people remaining to be vigilant against the virus continues to be a challenge, “As the parent of three kids in their 20’s I know how kids in their 20’s think about this, which is very different which presents a challenge for colleges.”
UMass conducted more than 8,000 tests between last Thursday and Friday. That’s the most the university has done over two days in the whole school year.
“That’s going to have consequences as to where you can go and what you can do to encourage kids to do the right thing on this stuff,” said Baker.
According to the university’s dashboard, new case rates have dropped significantly. Only nine were reported on February 7.