The Department of Health and Human Services in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, alongside the City of Springfield, announced they will be implementing a citywide mask mandate, regardless of vaccination status, for all indoor venues and outdoor public spaces where six feet of social distancing can not be maintained.
Sports were also included in the update, with the expectation that masks will be worn by players during high and moderate risk athletics.
This order is expected to go into effect on Monday, Sept. 13 and to remain in effect until Nov. 1.
In an email sent to the student body on Friday around 2:00 p.m., Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Slandie Dieujuste announced that masks will now be required outside when six feet of social distancing cannot be maintained.
Diejuste stated in the email, “To comply with the city mandate, face coverings will now be required outdoors on campus when a social distance of six-feet or more is not possible. This new mandate will go into effect on Monday, September 13 and we expect that members of the Springfield College community will self-monitor and mask up outside when you cannot maintain social distancing.”
The new order for Springfield College will go into effect Monday, Sept. 13.
“We felt that we really needed to be as minimal as possible; we trust our students, we know that they will be able to make good decisions and self-monitor,” Dieujuste said.
Townhouse backyards will still be open and operating; however, students will need to wear masks when in the backyards due to the high volume of students that generally populate the area.
“The students in the backyards will need to be masked because they will not be able to socially distance… if a student is drinking or eating, they can certainly have their mask off, but when holding on to a drink and not actively drinking, students should have a mask on,” stated Dieujuste.
If a student is walking to class with a friend less than six feet away from them, the pair would need to be masked. However, community members do not need to wear a mask when walking alone on campus.
Students will need to be masked at all outdoor activities and events when social distancing is not possible.
Spectators for sporting events will still be allowed on campus, but are now required to be masked on the sidelines and in stands.
No decision has been made towards whether or not athletes will need to wear masks during practices and games outdoors.
Dieujuste stressed that personal responsibility will be pivotal in following these new guidelines; students need to ensure they are personally following the rules, and hold their friends and others accountable for wearing masks when needed.
Photo Courtesy City of Springfield