By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

Officials at UMass Amherst raised the operational posture of the campus to “High Risk”, up from “Elevated Risk” just two days prior after consulting with the Commonwealth’s Department of Public Health due to an  increase in the prevalence of positive cases reported among students since Thursday.

Tumisu from Pixabay

The new designation went into effect Sunday and will be in place for a minimum of 14 days. It will only be lifted when public health conditions improve substantially.

According to Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy:

The public health measures that will be implemented during this period include the transition of all in-person classes to remote format. All students, whether residing in campus residences halls or in off-campus housing in the surrounding area, are directed to self-sequester. Self-sequestration means that students must stay in their residences, both on and off campus, except to get meals, undergo twice-weekly COVID testing, or to attend medical appointments. In addition, to minimize potential spread, students should refrain from travel from campus or outside the surrounding area. Failure to comply with these directives is a violation of the Code of Student Conduct and will result in disciplinary action, which may include removal from residence halls and/or suspension. Also, all campus athletic competitions and practices are cancelled.

He continued

To many of you these may seem like drastic measures, but faced with the surge in cases we are experiencing in our campus community, we have no choice but to take these steps. By acting aggressively now, we are confident we can contain this surge and more quickly return to normal operations, including a resumption of in-person classes and organized student activities. Our extensive planning process anticipated the possibility of this occurrence, and we are prepared to take swift and decisive action to protect our community. Be assured that in all we do, the health and well-being of our students, faculty and staff are of paramount concern.

From Feb. 2-4, the latest three days of testing results at UMass, 298 positive tests have been registered, and now have a total of 398 active cases.