Hundreds of Amherst students oppose extreme COVID policy

Amherst College’s COVID-19 regulations disallow students from leaving campus without official school approval through September 13.

The school has not yet responded to 'Campus Reform's' inquiry on whether the same restrictions apply to faculty.

Amherst College’s COVID-19 restrictions bar students from leaving campus without school approval.

According to the college’s August 25 guidelines for students returning to campus for the fall semester, administrators are limiting students’ off-campus travel through September 13. 

”Students may visit the town of Amherst, masked when indoors, in order to conduct business (opening bank accounts, picking up prescriptions, etc.) during regular business hours, but may not go to restaurants or bars,” the policy states. 

The petition currently boasts 433 signatures in opposition to the policy, Mass Live reports. The petition called for greater student input, suggesting that the college did not take their perspective into account fully before implementing the policy.

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Furthermore, other “off-campus travel,” with the exception of travel to other nearby universities for classes, “must be approved by the Office of Student Affairs.”

The guidelines also warn that Amherst may “need to place restrictions on student travel during fall break” between October 11 and 12. For other holidays — such as Family Weekend, Homecoming, and Thanksgiving — the college says that it is “too early to say whether travel will be impacted.”

For athletics, however, the college only says that they are continuing to “assess protocols.”

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Travel restrictions appear to be especially strict for unvaccinated students — who are not allowed to leave campus at all within the first seven days of their arrival. Instead of eating in dining halls, they “must take grab-and-go meals” and “may eat with others only when they are outdoors and physically distanced.” 

Shortly after their arrival, Amherst will “assist” unvaccinated students with receiving their COVID-19 vaccine.

In addition to travel restrictions, Amherst is enacting a 50 percent capacity limit for all non-classroom indoor events. 

Campus Reform asked Amherst College whether professors and other university employees are subject to the same travel restrictions as students; this article will be updated accordingly.