WILLIAMSTOWN — Williams College has announced that, effective Wednesday, everyone, including students, staff, faculty and guests, will have to mask up in all academic and administrative buildings.
In a letter to the campus community, college President Maud Mandel noted that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has declared Berkshire County at “substantial risk” for COVID-19 transmission, and that vaccinated people should wear masks indoors, for the protection of others.
“With this news in mind, I have decided with Senior Staff to institute a campus masking requirement,” Mandel wrote. As of Wednesday, “students, faculty and staff will be required to wear masks in all administrative and academic buildings, including in classrooms, until further notice. To allow some flexibility for classes, we will set up a number of outdoor teaching tents.”
Masks are not required in enclosed private offices or outdoor spaces, Mandel noted. People who are not vaccinated fully should wear masks outdoors when in a crowd or other setting where social distancing is not possible.
But, in dining halls and dormitories, vaccinated people can go mask-free if they choose.
“In order to allow a sense of community and personal space, and given that over 95 percent of our entire student body has been vaccinated, students may for now continue to go unmasked in residence halls and while eating in the dining halls,” Mandel wrote. “Staff are required to wear masks while working in these spaces.”
These rules will change as more people return to campus and as the coronavirus pandemic evolves, she noted.
“Meanwhile, we also believe it is safe for now to allow carefully limited visitor access to campus,” Mandel continued. “The Williams College Museum of Art has recently reopened, and the Office of Admission has begun offering outdoor-only campus tours, as announced in today’s Daily Messages. The libraries intend to start allowing visitors later this month, and guests will be allowed into residence halls to help students during move-in (although not thereafter).”