Mask Requirements

KN95 mask

Updated 9/12/2022

    A KN95 mask MUST be worn:

    • in classrooms, studios, teaching laboratories and other instructional spaces (may be waived for faculty member or student presenter who is more than 6 feet from the nearest person). This protocol will be in place at least until the end of September

    • at all face-to-face service locations (i.e., library desks; IT service desks; the Writing Center; service locations in the Athletics complex, including the training and equipment rooms; the Counseling Center; etc.); 

    • when entering, exiting and in line to get food at Valentine Dining Hall and other dining locations;

    • in the COVID-19 Testing Center and the Health Center

    • when asked to do so by someone with whom you are interacting.

    Wearing a mask will be optional in all other buildings, but Amherst remains a mask-friendly campus and all members of our community are expected to have a mask with them at all times.

    Anyone who experiences symptoms that may be COVID-19-related and/or comes down with a cold, flu, or other respiratory illness, should wear a mask in all settings and contact their health care provider. We urge any staff or faculty who feel ill to stay at home and not come to work; students who feel ill should contact the Health Center.

    The CDC recommends that the mask completely cover your nose and mouth and fit tightly against your face without gaps.

    Where to Get Masks

    • KN95 face masks are available to students, faculty, and staff who are living or working on campus. 
    • Faculty, staff, and students can pick up masks at the following locations:
      • Service Center in the Services building (Monday-Friday 7 a.m.-3:30 p.m.)
      • Commissary at Schwemm’s in Keefe Campus Center (daily 3 p.m. until Midnight)
      • Campus Post Office
    • Departments looking to acquire masks should contact the Amherst College Service Center at

    Types of Masks 

    • KN95 masks afford a higher level of filtration and protection than the standard-issue, pleated filter masks. Faculty and staff who determine with their supervisor, and/or with input from Director of Health and Safety Rick Mears, that their role involves direct interaction with individuals requiring isolation (e.g., health services) will be provided with National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)-rated N95 masks.
    • Disposable, pleated, filter masks; cloth masks; bandanas; neck gaiters; and homemade masks are not allowed because studies show that they are not as effective.  
    • Masks should not have exhalation valves, as they defeat the purpose of the mask. Masks with one-way valves or vents allow air to be exhaled through a hole in the material. This type of mask does not prevent the person wearing it from transmitting COVID-19 to others.
    • Individual departments and other groups are prohibited from buying masks for their own distribution. Such purchases are restricted under Amherst’s discretionary spending policy. 

    Caring for Masks

    • College-provided masks can be worn multiple times, depending on use. Replace your College-issued mask when it becomes dirty, damp, wet, or difficult to breath through (e.g., due to dust or pollen).
    • College-issued masks should not be sanitized or bleached, but rather discarded when they become dirty or wet. 

    Sign saying Thank you for masking, with a kn95 mask and a heart

    Print a Sign

    Would you like a “Thank you for masking” sign for your office door or an event? This PDF can be printed on letter-size paper. 

    How to Wear a Mask Correctly

    See how to properly put on and take off a mask.