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WPI Update: Changing Guidelines for Masks and Club/Organization Travel; Testing News

October 7, 2021

This message was sent to the WPI community.

Thanks to this community’s vigilance around health, safety and testing protocols, COVID cases have decreased significantly within our population. After careful consideration, the university is making the following changes to face covering guidelines and club/organization travel policy. Also included below are updates to testing schedules and decisions regarding Thanksgiving break.

Effective immediately:


Fully vaccinated speakers (faculty, presenters, instructors) may, at their option, lower or remove their face coverings when actively providing instruction in a classroom or lab setting IF the following conditions are met:

  • At least six feet of social distancing from the speaker to the audience can be maintained. 
  • All others present (students/participants) are masked.

This also applies to public speaking/presenting for campus-sponsored academics, events, or activities and does not change the requirement for the use of face coverings in all indoor spaces on campus.  


Face coverings are optional for vaccinated individuals at all outdoor events

  • The recommendation remains for unvaccinated individuals to wear face coverings in outdoor events where social distancing cannot be maintained.
  • This is consistent with CDC, MA, and Worcester guidance and data that show the risk of outdoor transmission to be extremely low.


Overnight travel possible for student clubs and organizations

  • Clubs and organization can plan overnight travel, following appropriate approvals. Learn more about the new travel policy, expectations, and process here.


COVID Testing

During the A/B Term break:

  • COVID testing is not required for anyone who is away from campus for the break.
  • Continued testing is strongly recommended for anyone who is on or around campus.
  • Students must test the day they return (or the next day the Testing Center is open; hours are here). Routine testing will resume the week of October 25 (undergraduates twice weekly, graduates weekly).
  • Employees returning to campus must also resume weekly testing the week of October 25.
  • Wherever you are during the break period, please continue following health and safety guidelines to minimize the potential spread of virus:
    • Wear a face covering
    • Avoid group gatherings
    • Wash your hands regularly
    • Be mindful of local guidelines if you travel, particularly if you use public transportation.


Thanksgiving Break: COVID Testing and Returning to Campus

  • The Thanksgiving break is November 24 to 28; classes resume November 29.
  • As with the A/B-Term/Fall break, students and employees will not be required to test over the Thanksgiving break if you leave campus. If you are on or around campus, we strongly recommend you continue testing. Thanksgiving break testing center hours will be posted online shortly.
  • At the end of break, students must test the day they are back, or the next time the test site is open, upon returning to campus, and resume testing the week of November 29.
  • Employees must resume weekly testing the week of November 29 as well.