Mask Requirements

KN95 mask

Updated 8/5/2022

  • Effective Monday, August 22, through Monday, September 12, masks will be required indoors in all locations
    • Exceptions: mask will not be required inside residence halls or when alone in one’s private office with the door closed. In addition, speakers/performers will be allowed remove their mask as long as they maintain a distance of 6 feet.
  • We fully anticipate moving to a more relaxed masking protocol once we are past the first few weeks of the semester. That decision will be made based on the prevalence of the virus on campus at that time and communicated prior to September 12. 
  • Wearing a well-fitting KN-95 mask provides excellent protection from the virus, even if others around you are not wearing masks.

As always, Amherst is a mask-friendly campus. Everyone is welcome to wear a mask in all settings on campus at all times, and an individual’s choice to wear a mask should be respected.

  • Until August 22, wearing a KN95 mask will be optional in all buildings with the exception of:
    • classrooms, studios, teaching laboratories and other instructional spaces (this may be waived for a faculty member or student presenter who is more than six feet from the nearest person); 

    • all service locations (i.e., library circulation and reference desks, IT service desks, etc.); 

    • when entering, exiting and in line to get food at Valentine Dining Hall and other cafes/dining locations; and

    • service locations in the Athletics complex, including the training and equipment rooms.

  • Additionally, masks are optional in shared workspaces (including research laboratories) and offices when all occupants agree to release the requirement.

  • Everyone, regardless of vaccination status, must wear a KN95 mask at all times:
    • in healthcare facilities — the COVID-19 Testing Center, the Counseling Center and the Health Center;

    • at all organized indoor events with more than 10 people; and

    • when asked to do so by someone with whom you are interacting.

Anyone who experiences symptoms that may be COVID-19-related and/or comes down with a cold, flu, or other respiratory illness, should wear a mask in all settings and contact their health care provider. We urge any staff or faculty who feel ill to stay at home and not come to work; students who feel ill should contact the Health Center.

The CDC recommends that the mask completely cover your nose and mouth and fit tightly against your face without gaps.

Where to Get Masks

  • KN95 face masks are available to students, faculty, and staff who are living or working on campus. 
  • Faculty, staff, and students can pick up masks at the following locations:
    • Service Center in the Services building (Monday-Friday 7 a.m.-3:30 p.m.)
    • Commissary at Schwemm’s in Keefe Campus Center (daily 3 p.m. until Midnight)
    • Campus Post Office
  • Departments looking to acquire masks should contact the Amherst College Service Center at servicectr@amherst.edu.

Types of Masks 

  • KN95 masks afford a higher level of filtration and protection than the standard-issue, pleated filter masks. Faculty and staff who determine with their supervisor, and/or with input from Director of Health and Safety Rick Mears, that their role involves direct interaction with individuals requiring isolation (e.g., health services) will be provided with National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)-rated N95 masks.
  • Disposable, pleated, filter masks; cloth masks; bandanas; neck gaiters; and homemade masks are not allowed because studies show that they are not as effective.  
  • Masks should not have exhalation valves, as they defeat the purpose of the mask. Masks with one-way valves or vents allow air to be exhaled through a hole in the material. This type of mask does not prevent the person wearing it from transmitting COVID-19 to others.
  • Individual departments and other groups are prohibited from buying masks for their own distribution. Such purchases are restricted under Amherst’s discretionary spending policy. 

Caring for Masks

  • College-provided masks can be worn multiple times, depending on use. Replace your College-issued mask when it becomes dirty, damp, wet, or difficult to breath through (e.g., due to dust or pollen).
  • College-issued masks should not be sanitized or bleached, but rather discarded when they become dirty or wet. 

Mask Requirements

KN95 mask

Updated 6/22/2022

All members of the community are expected to have a KN95 mask with them at all times.

Wearing a KN95 mask will be optional in all buildings with the exception of:

    • classrooms, studios, teaching laboratories and other instructional spaces (this may be waived for a faculty member or student presenter who is more than six feet from the nearest person); 

    • all service locations (i.e., library circulation and reference desks, IT service desks, etc.); 

    • when entering, exiting and in line to get food at Valentine Dining Hall and other cafes/dining locations; and

    • service locations in the Athletics complex, including the training and equipment rooms.

  • Additionally, masks are optional in shared workspaces (including research laboratories) and offices when all occupants agree to release the requirement.

Everyone, regardless of vaccination status, must wear a KN95 mask at all times:

    • in healthcare facilities — the COVID-19 Testing Center, the Counseling Center and the Health Center;

    • at all organized indoor events with more than 10 people; and

    • when asked to do so by someone with whom you are interacting.

  • Members of the community with approved exemptions from vaccination must wear masks indoors at all times.

Anyone who experiences symptoms that may be COVID-19-related and/or comes down with a cold, flu, or other respiratory illness, should wear a mask in all settings and contact their health care provider. We urge any staff or faculty who feel ill to stay at home and not come to work; students who feel ill should contact the Health Center.

The CDC recommends that the mask completely cover your nose and mouth and fit tightly against your face without gaps.

Where to Get Masks

  • KN95 face masks are available to students, faculty, and staff who are living or working on campus. 
  • Faculty, staff, and students can pick up masks at the following locations:
    • Service Center in the Services building (Monday-Friday 7 a.m.-3:30 p.m.)
    • Commissary at Schwemm’s in Keefe Campus Center (daily 3 p.m. until Midnight)
    • Campus Post Office
  • Departments looking to acquire masks should contact the Amherst College Service Center at servicectr@amherst.edu.

Types of Masks 

  • KN95 masks afford a higher level of filtration and protection than the standard-issue, pleated filter masks. Faculty and staff who determine with their supervisor, and/or with input from Director of Health and Safety Rick Mears, that their role involves direct interaction with individuals requiring isolation (e.g., health services) will be provided with National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)-rated N95 masks.
  • Disposable, pleated, filter masks; cloth masks; bandanas; neck gaiters; and homemade masks are not allowed because studies show that they are not as effective.  
  • Masks should not have exhalation valves, as they defeat the purpose of the mask. Masks with one-way valves or vents allow air to be exhaled through a hole in the material. This type of mask does not prevent the person wearing it from transmitting COVID-19 to others.
  • Individual departments and other groups are prohibited from buying masks for their own distribution. Such purchases are restricted under Amherst’s discretionary spending policy. 

Caring for Masks

  • College-provided masks can be worn multiple times, depending on use. Replace your College-issued mask when it becomes dirty, damp, wet, or difficult to breath through (e.g., due to dust or pollen).
  • College-issued masks should not be sanitized or bleached, but rather discarded when they become dirty or wet. 

Sign saying Thank you for masking, with a kn95 mask and a heart

Print a Sign

Would you like a “Thank you for masking” sign for your office door or an event? This PDF can be printed on letter-size paper. 

How to Wear a Mask Correctly

See how to properly put on and take off a mask.