Face Coverings and Distancing on Mount Holyoke’s Campus

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

By Shannon D. Gurek, vice president for finance and administration and treasurer of Mount Holyoke College and South Hadley resident, and Marcella Runell Hall, vice president for student life and dean of students of Mount Holyoke College and South Hadley resident

For decades the Mount Holyoke campus has been a favorite place for visitors from the local community—and beyond—to stroll, to run and to enjoy the wonders of what is consistently called one of the most beautiful campuses in the country. Indeed, the openness of our campus is a symbol of our longstanding and ongoing partnership with South Hadley and surrounding communities.

We have no problems attracting visitors here, even now in the midst of an unprecedented pandemic. A central concern at this time, of course, for visitors, for our residential students and for employees working and living on or around campus, is maintaining and protecting community health. We want to remind our neighbors to please bring face coverings with you when you visit our campus, practice physical distancing and wear a mask or face covering when physical distancing isn’t possible. It is sometimes hard to predict when you might happen upon another individual or group on a campus, especially on a narrow trail or pathway, so we ask that you always have a mask or face covering handy. Signs around campus reinforce these messages.

At Mount Holyoke we are committed to maintaining our openness, but we are just as committed to protecting campus and community safety. To that end, all buildings—including our art museum, library, field house and greenhouse—are closed to the public, regardless of mask wearing. Campus visitors will not be allowed into the buildings for any reason, including needing a restroom.

There have been many questions about fishing on campus. Those who want to fish at Upper Lake from the shore should have appropriate fishing licenses and respect all College rules, including those related to social distancing and mask wearing. Fishing is not allowed on Lower Lake from Park Street down to Morgan Street, and violators will be asked to leave the campus. We also ask that you take your trash with you, and please keep your dogs leashed at all times.

We look forward to continuing to welcome visitors to campus as long as safety protocols are followed. And, while we all look forward to the day when face coverings are a thing of the past, those days are not here yet.

Through the inspiring leadership of local and state officials and through the readiness of Massachusetts residents and businesspeople to limit the spread of COVID-19, often at significant costs, economic and otherwise, the Commonwealth has mounted an impressive campaign against this disease. It is important that we do not let up now, when we have made so much progress.

Our collaboration and cooperation in these safety measures can only hasten the arrival of the day when they are no longer necessary. We look forward to seeing you around campus—from a distance, of course.