Back to school: Here are the vaccine, mask, and testing requirements for colleges in Mass.

As college students come back to campus, COVID-19 protocols will still be part of the equation for many.

Schools like Northeastern University are lowering their COVID-19 weekly testing requirements to once a week, opposed to several times a week, which was required during the spring semester. Pat Greenhouse / Globe Staff

In less than a month, colleges and universities will see the return of students and staff back to their campuses. This fall promises to bring back at least some sense of normalcy for schools, especially for the campuses that have been mostly vacant since March 2020 when the first COVID-19 outbreak occurred. 

However, many of the schools seeking to resume normal activity levels on campus are striving to take the utmost precautions in bringing back large numbers of students and staff. With the Delta variant on the rise, administrators are updating policies for wearing masks, testing, and more. 

In April, when readers were polled on whether “colleges should mandate the vaccine in the fall,” 66% of responses agreed with a vaccine mandate. 


In order to compare and monitor the reopening of colleges and universities in the fall, has compiled a table of colleges in Massachusetts, listing their vaccine, mask, and testing requirements. 

Some schools are requiring vaccines for students while keeping it optional for faculty and staff. Others, like the Massachusetts association of community colleges, have not mandated COVID-19 vaccines at this time. On the other hand, the nine presidents of the Massachusetts state schools agreed to require COVID-19 vaccines for all returning students for the fall. 

Mask policies also vary depending on the schools. The recent CDC updates on masks following the increase in COVID-19 cases from the Delta variant has prompted some schools to restore mask mandates, requiring mask-wearing indoors and outdoors where social distancing is not possible. 

This list will be updated to reflect the changing policies as colleges prepare for the reopening of their campuses. 

Private Colleges & Universities

SchoolCOVID Vaccine for studentsCOVID Vaccine for staffMask requirementsTesting requirements
Amherst CollegeYesYesYesStudents: 3/week
Faculty & Staff: 1/week
Anna Maria CollegeYesYesYes (Indoors only from beginning of semester)Vaccinated: 1/week
Unvaccinated: 2/week
Assumption CollegeYesYesYes (Vaccinated: only indoors)Vaccinated: 1/week
Unvaccinated: 2/week
Babson CollegeYesRecommendedNo (Unvaccinated: must wear
Everyone 1/week
Bay State CollegeNursing, health and residential student: Yes
Other students: Recommended
YesNo (Unvaccinated: Indoors and Outdoors)Will continue contact tracing
Bentley UniversityYesYesNoUnvaccinated: 1/week
Berklee College of MusicYesYesNo (Unvaccinated: Indoors and
Everyone: 1/week
Boston CollegeYesYesNo (Unvaccinated: Indoors)Everyone: 1/week
Boston UniversityYesYesYes (Indoors in certain areas)Everyone: 1/week
Brandeis UniversityYesYesYes (Indoors in some areas
and unvaccinated individuals)
Vaccinated: Every other week
Unvaccinated: 2/week
Clark UniversityYesYesYesN/A
College of the Holy CrossYesYesNo (Unvaccinated: Indoors)Vaccinated: 1/week
Unvaccinated: 2/week
Curry CollegeYesYesN/A (Not yet determined)Unvaccinated: Weekly
Emerson CollegeYesYesYes (from Aug. 16 through at least Sept. 17)Everyone: 1/week
Endicott CollegeYesYesYes (Indoors in some areas)N/A
Gordon College“Strongly encourage”“Strongly encourage”No (Unvaccinated: Indoors)N/A
Hampshire CollegeYesYesNo (Unvaccinated: Indoors)N/A
Harvard UniversityYesYesYes (Indoors only)On-campus housing:
Others: 1/week
Lesley UniversityYesN/AYes (Indoors only)None
Merrimack CollegeYesYesNoNone
Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyYesYesYes (Indoors only)Everyone: 1/week
Mount Holyoke CollegeYesYesYes (Indoors only)Everyone: 1/week
New England Conservatory of MusicYes“Strongly encouraged”YesN/A
Northeastern UniversityYesYesYes (Indoors only from Sep. 6)Everyone: 1/week
Simmons UniversityYes“Strongly recommended”Yes (Indoors only)N/A
Smith CollegeYesYesNo (Unvaccinated: Indoors)Everyone: 1/week
Springfield CollegeYesYes (Those who are in more direct
contact with students)
Yes (Indoors only)Unvaccinated: 1/week
Suffolk UniversityYesYes“Following Boston guidelines”On-campus housing:
Others: 1/week
Tufts UniversityYesYesYes (Indoors only)Everyone: 1/week
Wellesley CollegeYesYesYes (Indoors in some areas)Everyone: 1/week
Williams CollegeYesYesNo (Unvaccinated: yes)Unvaccinated only
Worcester Polytechnic InstituteYes“Strongly encourages”Yes (Indoors only)Everyone: 1/week

State Schools

SchoolCOVID Vaccine for studentsCOVID Vaccine for staffMask requirementsTesting requirement
Bridgewater State UniversityYesRecommendedNoN/A
Fitchburg State UniversityYesExpects all faculty and staff to be vaccinatedYes (Indoors only)N/A
Framingham State UniversityYesExpects all faculty and staff to be fully vaccinatedNoN/A
Massachusetts College of Art and DesignYesExpects all employees will be fully vaccinatedYes (Indoors only)Residents: 1/week
Off-campus: Biweekly
Massachusetts College of Liberal ArtsYesYesNoN/A
Massachusetts Maritime AcademyYesExpects all employees to be fully vaccinatedNoN/A
Salem State UniversityYesExpects all employees to be fully vaccinatedYes (Indoors only)Everyone: 1/week
UMass AmherstYesYesYes (Indoors only)Everyone: 2/week
UMass BostonYesStrongly encouraged and recommendedYes (Indoors only)None (Unvaccinated:
UMass DartmouthYesStrongly encouraged and recommendedNoNone for vaccinated
UMass LowellYesStrongly encouraged and recommendedNoN/A
Westfield State UniversityYesExpects all faculty and staff to be fully vaccinatedYes (Indoors only)Unvaccinated: 1/week
Worcester State UniversityYesUndecidedYes (Indoors only)Everyone: 1/week
Massachusetts state universities is requiring the vaccine for all students

Community Colleges

Massachusetts community colleges said they would not require their students to get COVID shots. Massachusetts also does not require community colleges to conduct COVID-19 testing of students and faculty or staff on campus.

SchoolCOVID-19 VaccineMask requirements
Bunker Hill Community CollegeYes (Indoors only)
Cape Cod Community College“Highly reccomended”Yes (Indoors and large gatherings)
Massachusetts Bay Community CollegeN/A
Massasoit Community CollegeYes (Indoors only)
Middlesex Community College“Strongly urge”Yes (Indoors only)
North Short Community CollegeN/A
Northern Essex Community College“Strongly recommends”Yes (Indoors only)
Roxbury Community CollegeYes (Indoors only)


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