The University of Massachusetts Lowell is looking forward to safely welcoming students to campus this fall. Please review our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) below and continue to monitor this website as the university will continue to provide updates and additional details as guidance from the CDC and local health experts changes over time.

Why is UMass Lowell requiring indoor face coverings for fall 2021?

The requirement to wear face coverings indoors follows guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued in response to the Delta variant. Wearing face coverings in indoor common spaces mitigates the spread of COVID-19 from asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic carriers who are not aware they are infectious.

When and where are face coverings required on campus?

Face coverings are required for all faculty, staff, students, vendors and visitors regardless of vaccination status beginning Monday, Aug. 16 in nearly all indoor common spaces, including classrooms, instructional laboratories, meeting rooms, work areas, break rooms, hallways, elevators and restrooms. Face coverings are not required outdoors.

The face covering policy will be re-evaluated in September.

If I have an approved exemption and am unvaccinated, do the same face covering requirements apply?

No. All unvaccinated individuals are required to wear a face covering at all times in any indoor location on UMass Lowell property, with exceptions only for eating, drinking and when alone in a residence hall room if living on campus.

Are face coverings required in the dining halls?

Yes, face coverings should be worn in nearly all indoor settings, including in line in dining areas. Face coverings may be removed only while eating in dining areas.

Are face coverings required in residence halls?

Yes, face coverings are required in all common areas in residence halls. This includes hallways, lobbies, common rooms and elevators. Residents and their guests are not required to wear face coverings in assigned residence hall rooms.

Are face coverings required in the Rec Center?

Yes, to ensure that Campus Recreation is able to provide full access to its facilities, face coverings are required in the building.

Where are face coverings not required?

Face coverings are not required:
  • in personal offices when alone
  • in research spaces when alone
  • in cubicles or office spaces when alone at your desk
  • for faculty members when teaching an in-person class
  • when eating in the dining halls or other campus eateries
  • in residence hall rooms when alone or with a roommate
  • outdoors 
  • for children under the age of 2
  • for anyone with a medical condition that prevents the use of a face covering

Why are faculty permitted to choose to teach without face coverings?

To facilitate effective instruction, including voice projection and facial expressions, UMass Lowell intends to permit fully vaccinated faculty members to not wear face coverings while teaching in-person classes, if they choose. 

Nearly all students in classes will also be vaccinated and wearing face coverings.

This permission for faculty while teaching will depend on the status and direction of the current wave of infections in Massachusetts at the beginning of the fall semester, and may be rescinded, if necessary.

How long will face coverings be required on campus?

The campus will re-evaluate the face covering requirement in September and may extend or relax it, depending on the status and direction of the current wave of COVID-19 infections in Massachusetts.

What if I want to wear a face covering, even in circumstances when I’m not required to?

Anyone may wear a face covering on campus whenever and wherever they want.

Are face coverings required outdoors?

Face coverings are not required outdoors. However, anyone may wear a face covering on campus whenever and wherever they want.

Can I wear a face shield instead of a face covering?

No, face coverings must cover both the mouth and nose. Exceptions are allowed for individuals alone in a private office or room, or actively eating.

How do I get a medical-based accommodation regarding face coverings?

Individuals who have a health condition that prevents wearing a face covering must get an accommodation approval:
  • Employees who are medically unable to wear a face covering because of a medical condition must request an accommodation through Human Resources.
  • Students who are medically unable to wear a face covering must request an accommodation through Disability Services.