Off-campus housing COVID-19 protocols for UMass Amherst

Hampshire County

AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – One college community continues to increase its efforts on slowing the spread of COVID-19.

More protocols are now in place in Amherst as most of the off-campus housing units are full.

It’s been one week since UMass Amherst welcomed back its students for the fall semester amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The university announced Monday that all off-campus students who signed the UMass Amherst community agreement are now required to undergo a second round of testing by September 4.

This comes as almost 850 staff members will be placed on furlough in the next coming weeks. Another 450 staff members could face layoffs.

Downtown Amherst is doing its part to slow the spread as well. Masks are still required in all areas, as businesses continue to see a drop in sales from lack of students.

“They are obviously very concerned and some are very student driven and some are not. It really depends on the business, it’s business to business.”

As a way to address community concerns in the event that COVID-19 case numbers spike, the town-gown fall reopening group, which is made up of UMass and Amherst town officials, will hold a virtual community forum Thursday. They will discuss testing, along with isolation and quarantine protocols.

Students are a major driver when it comes to downtown business, and although there are fewer students in the area — off-campus housing looks promising.

“We also have heard from our landlords that our off campus has really filled up and we have also heard that urban flight is coming to our area.”

UMass continues to do regular testing of on-campus students, faculty and staff at the Mullins Center.

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