UMass Encourages Students To Stay Home. Number Of Students Residing On Campus To Be Greatly Reduced For Fall Term

Central Residential Area at UMass Amherst. Photo: Flckr.com

Source: UMass News and Media

The worsening conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic nationally have led UMass to significantly reduce the campus population for the fall. Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy announced in a letter to the campus community on Thursday (8/6) that UMass is reversing its previously announced offer to provide on-campus housing for students whose coursework is entirely remote.

Only students who are enrolled in essential face-to-face classes, including laboratory, studio and capstone courses, which have been designated in SPIRE, will be accommodated in campus residence halls and be granted access to campus facilities and dining this fall. All other students, whose courses do not require a physical presence on campus, should plan to engage in their studies remotely, from home.

The University also urges strongly that off-campus students whose coursework is remote to refrain from returning to the Amherst area for the fall semester, for they, too, will not have campus facilities at their disposal.

Research laboratories, many of which resumed operation in the spring, will remain open.

Subbaswamy acknowledged that  there are some students who are dependent on campus housing and dining, and others, including some international students with specific visa requirements and students in healthcare fields, who will need to reside on campus. These situations will be handled on a case-by case basis, and in most instances will be accommodated.

Any questions or concerns may be sent to fallplanning@umass.edu.

The Chancellor’s full message can be read here.

Spread the love

3 thoughts on “UMass Encourages Students To Stay Home. Number Of Students Residing On Campus To Be Greatly Reduced For Fall Term

  1. There needs to be a safe, sane, clear, dignified, simple procedure to alert police, town, landlords, and school, so the right actions can be taken. Ideas need to be measured against those criteria. What’s effective or ineffective about an idea for such a procedure. (ie: what’s the “score” for the idea of people sending photos of large unmasked groups (whether students or not)? What’s the safeguard against a police encounter going off the rails? What’s the pressure on landlords? parents of students? How can a nervous observer determine if they are witnessing a real problem, that deserves to be reported? How to know, in a given situation, if some education is called for, or a fine/punishment? This all needs to be well coordinated, and the public well informed.

    I don’t think we can afford to “see what happens” or “give the benefit of the doubt.” There will be shedding. There will be (it’s already happening!) inconsiderate, selfish behavior – we cannot plan to fail.

  2. idea from a friend, a civic leader from another town nearby: One idea for you/the town: can sales of kegs or large quantities of alcohol be prohibited? Presumably they are for large gatherings, which should not be occurring.

  3. Hello again, Mr. Bockelman,

    I am assuming that you are ok with me sharing this, as it’s important information that concerned community members need to know.

    Thanks

    Ira Bryck

    From: Bockelman, Paul
    Sent: Sunday, August 9, 2020 8:49 AM
    To: Ira Bryck; chancellor@umass.edu Subbaswamy
    Subject: RE: I am sharing my perspectives with you both, as a community member that is concerned, but hopefully reasonable

    Thanks for writing, Mr. Bryck.

    As you can imagine, we have been meeting and planning around all these issues. I will go through your questions one-by-one:
    a. There needs to be a safe, sane, clear, dignified, simple procedure to alert police, town, landlords, and school, so the right actions can be taken. Ideas need to be measured against those criteria. What’s effective or ineffective about an idea for such a procedure. (ie: what’s the “score” for the idea of people sending photos of large unmasked groups (whether students or not)?
    a. The Town and the University have been working to establish a “hot line” – a telephone line plus a email/web based reporting system – that anyone can utilize to inform the Town and the University of situations. These calls should NOT go to the emergency 9-1-1 number that is operated in the Police Station. We will be advertising this number in the coming couple of weeks in advance of the return of students. But, frankly, at this point downtown the “violators” are older people or people who militantly do not want to wear masks.
    b. What’s the safeguard against a police encounter going off the rails?
    a. We are highly sensitive to this possibility. While both the University of Massachusetts Police Department and Amherst Police Department are highly trained in social interactions, the danger is only increased with the focus on Police Departments and the friction that can occur in confrontational situations. Working with the University, the Town is engaging non-Police “ambassadors” who will work in the area to educate people about mask wearing and social gatherings in an effort to create a “culture of compliance” in the Town. They will have boxes of masks to hand out for those who neglected to have one on them.
    c. What’s the pressure on landlords?
    a. The Town had a meeting with the major landlords a week ago. Landlords have concerns that match yours and there was a frank discussion about those concerns.
    d. parents of students?
    a. As a parent, I know parents are concerned about the health of their children and I would expect they would encourage their children along these lines.
    e. How can a nervous observer determine if they are witnessing a real problem, that deserves to be reported?
    a. Again, we will have a call-in number for people to call. The Board of Health regulation states that residents should not be involved in confronting individuals about mask wearing.
    f. How to know, in a given situation, if some education is called for, or a fine/punishment?
    a. That is a judgement that will be decided by the Town or University official intervening.
    g. This all needs to be well coordinated, and the public well informed. I don’t think we can afford to “see what happens” or “give the benefit of the doubt.” There will be shedding. There will be (it’s already happening!) inconsiderate, selfish behavior – we cannot plan to fail.
    a. Thank you for your concerns. Town and University officials are working hard to manage through this situation.

    Paul

    Paul Bockelman
    Town Manager
    Town of Amherst
    4 Boltwood Avenue
    Amherst, Massachusetts 01002
    413-259-3002

    TownManager@amherstma.gov
    http://www.amherstma.gov
    Open Government to the MAX!

    All email messages and attached content sent from and to this email account are public records unless specifically exempted under the Massachusetts Public Records Law.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.