COVID-19 community updates

Published: 9/15/2020 4:01:56 PM
COVID-19 testingexpanded for UMass students

UMass Amherst now has free testing available to all UMass students living in the Amherst area.

The asymptomatic testing program, conducted at the Public Health Promotion Center at the Mullins Center, is designed to mitigate community spread through the early detection of infection. Unlike some earlier tests, the current test is not uncomfortable and there is no charge for testing.

The expanded testing now provides additional free testing access to undergraduate and graduate students who live in the Amherst area and are not coming to campus for classes. They are strongly encouraged to get tested twice a week. Previously, these students were tested when they first arrived in the Amherst area and were offered testing on a trial basis in recent weeks. The announcement establishes a regular testing schedule and an extended commitment to testing off-campus students.

As part of the testing protocols established since the start of school in August, students who reside on campus have been required to be tested twice a week. In addition, off-campus students coming to campus for face-to-face classes, research labs or work have also been required to be tested twice a week. In the expanded testing program, the Amherst area is defined as Amherst, Hadley, Sunderland, Belchertown, Pelham, Shutesbury and Leverett.

Mass Audubon ‘free admission’ for military year-round

Mass Audubon is expanding to year-round an offer of free admission to its wildlife sanctuaries for active-duty members of the military and their families.

Since 2014, Mass Audubon has been a participant in the Blue Star Museums program. The collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and more than 2,000 museums across the country offers free admissions to the nation’s active duty military personnel, including National Guard and Reserve and their families each summer.

The program typically begins in mid-May and runs through Labor Day in early September. And while it was officially suspended for 2020 because of the pandemic, Mass Audubon maintained the program, and will now honor it 12 months a year.

Service members and/or families need only present a valid military ID card to sanctuary staff; the offer applies to a maximum of five people per ID card.

With trails now open at all Mass Audubon wildlife sanctuaries, from Cape Cod and the Islands to the Berkshires, U.S. service men and women and their families are welcome to explore fields and woodlands, observe wildlife, and connect with nature in all its variations.

To learn more about access at Mass Audubon wildlife sanctuaries, please visit www.massaudubon.org/trails.

Dakin receives ‘Save Them All’ COVID-19 relief grant

Dakin Humane Society, with locations in Springfield and Leverett,has received a Rachael Ray Save Them All COVID-19 Relief Grant from Best Friends Animal Society to ensure that its pet food aid program continues to help save the lives of pets living in western and central Massachusetts, as well as northern Connecticut.

Dakin Humane Society is an active partner in the Best Friends Network, which offers resources and support to fellow shelters, rescue groups, and animal welfare organizations across the country.

The Rachael Ray Save Them All COVID-19 Relief Program, administered by Best Friends and funded by The Rachael Ray Foundation, provides COVID-19 relief grants to shelters and rescue groups across the country.




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