To: UMASS Chancellor, Hampshire, Amherst, Mount Holyoke, Smith College Presidents, and Local Town Representatives
Do NOT Bring College Students Back To School and To Our Community This Fall
We the below signed from the host communities (Amherst, Pelham, Hadley, Leverett, Shutesbury, Montague, Sunderland, South Deerfield, Whately, Hatfield, Northampton, Florence, Leeds, Easthampton and surrounds) of the 5 Colleges respectfully ask that the University and the Colleges NOT allow students to return to campus this semester (Fall 2020).
We believe that this influx of students will increase the risk to our communities of the spread of the Coronavirus and the likelihood of exposing more local townspeople with COVID-19. And that the burden of increased exposure will fall on the communities to manage.
Why is this important?
We do not believe that the mitigation plans we have read about are sufficient to ensure not only the protection of the students but of the community at large.
We also do not believe it should become the responsiblity of the host communities to assume the burden of supporting students as they become ill or need to quarantine. Or to have to enforce adherance to COVID mitigation measures when out in the community.
Until the colleges and University can demonstrate that they have not only appropriate mitigation plans in place but the capacity and ability to enforce those plans on campus and off - as well as deliver any urgent and ongoing medical and health related services in a manner that does not burden the local resources - students should not return to campus.
All future COVID mitigation plans should be reviewed and approved only by the town representatives who have been elected to represent the aforementioned communities.