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COVID Risk At UMass Amherst Raised To 'High' After Spike In Cases

AMHERST (CBS) -- The University of Massachusetts Amherst raised its COVID-19 risk level assessment to "high" on Sunday. The move is just two days after the campus raised the risk to "elevated."

Between Feb. 2 and 4, the latest three days of testing results at UMass, there were 298 positive tests. There is now a total of 398 active cases.

"This new designation will have a significant impact on our UMass community, both on and off campus for its duration," said a letter from Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy. "To many of you these may seem like drastic measures, but faced with the surge in cases we are experiencing in our campus community, we have no choice but to take these steps. By acting aggressively now, we are confident we can contain this surge and more quickly return to normal operations, including a resumption of in-person classes and organized student activities."

The designation begins at 2 p.m. on Sunday and will be in place for a minimum of 14 days. "It will only be lifted when public health conditions improve substantially," the school said.

All classes will transition to be remote and all students on campus or in off-campus housing are directed to "self-sequester." This means they should stay in their homes unless they are getting food, headed to their twice-weekly COVID tests, or going to a medical appointment. All campus athletic events have been canceled.

Student-workers who perform essential functions should contact their supervisors.

"Failure to comply with these directives is a violation of the Code of Student Conduct and will result in disciplinary action, which may include removal from residence halls and/or suspension," said the school.

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