two mammoths standing 6 feet apart

Physical Distancing

An effective way to reduce the spread of COVID-19 is to limit face-to-face contact with others. Physical distancing is a means of creating space between yourself and other people to significantly reduce the transmission of the virus. Because people can spread the virus before they know they are sick, individuals should stay at least six feet (or two arms’ length) apart from others.



Even if you are not showing symptoms of COVID-19, you could still be spreading the virus. Amherst College requires face masks or covers to be worn on campus in all spaces inside and outside, with the exception of when alone in private personal offices. Make sure the mask covers your mouth and nose. Continue to keep a physical distance of at least six feet from individuals; a face cover is not a substitute for physical distancing.

Please note, a mask is not a substitute for physical distancing. You should continue to keep at least a six-foot distance between yourself and others even when wearing masks.

Disposable, pleated filter face masks are available to faculty and staff who are living or working on campus by contacting Director of Environmental Health and Safety Rick Mears at or Chief of Police/Director of Public Safety John Carter at

The mask distribution process outlined above is for this phase of the reopening only. If/as the campus work force grows, a decentralized, department distribution plan will be formalized.

Cloth Face Masks

Cloth face coverings are also allowed, but it should be noted that they are generally considered to be less effective than the types of masks provided by the College. Cloth face coverings can be purchased or made from household items or common materials at low cost. A cloth face covering should:
  • fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face;
  • be secured with ties or ear loops;
  • include multiple layers of fabric;
  • allow for breathing without restriction; and
  • be able to be laundered after every use.

The CDC offers information on how to make, wear, and clean your own face covering/mask, as well as how to clean a simple disposable mask.

soap and hand sanitizer


Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place or after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

Hand-washing should occur frequently—after using the restrooms; before and after eating; before and after handling equipment, items, and packages from unknown locations; before entering and after leaving the laboratory; before smoking; and before and after any other instances where a transfer of germs might occur.

mammoth sneezing

Coughing/Sneezing Hygiene

Cough or sneeze into a tissue or the inside of your elbow. Throw the tissue into the trash. Immediately wash your hands with soap and water or use a hand sanitizer that contains 60% alcohol after coughing or sneezing. If you experience cold or flu-like symptoms, do not come to campus.

spray cleanser

Cleaning and Disinfecting

Clean and disinfect frequently-touched surfaces, such as common kitchens and copier areas and as well as your offices and personal work areas, at least once per day. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, faucets, and sinks.

Amherst College will provide disinfecting supplies to employees, which are available through the Service Center at 413-542-2254. Keeping surfaces clean is a shared responsibility.