Dear Colleagues,

As the Commonwealth of Massachusetts prepares to lift COVID-related restrictions effective May 29, we are continuing to evaluate and, in some cases, adjust MBL’s COVID-19 policies and protocols.

Please note the following changes, effective May 29. It is important to remember that everyone on our campus—whether a member of our year-round staff or a visitor to campus participating in one of our summer programs—is expected to abide by the same COVID-19 policies and requirements.

Indoor Masks

Speakers who are speaking from the podium/stage in either the Cornelia Clapp (formerly Lillie) Auditorium or Speck Auditorium are permitted to remove their masks only when they are speaking to ensure the audience can hear them clearly. This applies to the speaker only and allowable only in the two auditoriums. Note: this change is effective immediately. Despite the Commonwealth relaxing indoor mask and distancing requirements for most settings on May 29, masks continue to be required indoors in all MBL buildings.

Outdoor Masks

Masks are no longer required in any instance when outdoors on the MBL campus.

Internal Meetings

Indoor, in-person meetings may be resumed when necessary and meetings larger than 10 people no longer require approval from the Chief Operating Officer or Director of Research. For a meeting of any size, the following must be adhered to:

  • meeting size should not exceed posted maximum occupancy (note all meeting spaces contain signage with current capacity limits);
  • all individuals must wear masks at all times (unless speakers in Clapp or Speck Auditorium)
  • no food/drink should be consumed during meeting;
  • social distancing is required with appropriately spaced seating

We encourage staff to use the outdoor tents in various locations around campus. The tents may be reserved through the MBL Booking Calendar or by emailing (Note: Dining/functions will take precedence for use of tents over internal meetings).

Classroom and Lecture Space Capacities

Analysis of auditorium and meeting room capacities is currently under review and may be increased in some or all indoor spaces in the coming weeks. More information will be forthcoming.

Travel Policy

The suspension of MBL-sponsored international and domestic travel is lifted and there are no advisories against non-essential personal travel. The MBL Travel Form has also been suspended. All travelers are encouraged to consult the Massachusetts COVID-19 Travel Advisory and CDC’s guidelines and requirements for travel for more information. It is our expectation that anyone who travels out of state and is not fully vaccinated will obtain a negative COVID-19 test before returning to campus.


COVID-19 cleaning requirements mandated by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts will be discontinued including logs. Some shared equipment (e.g. microscopes) that requires cleaning between use will continue to use logs. Environmental Services is reverting back to standard cleaning schedules and routines for all campus buildings. Contact for any additional cleaning needs.

Notification of Positive Cases

Moving forward, positive COVID-19 cases will be reflected on the COVID-19 Dashboard rather than through a laball message. As always, contact tracing will be conducted and those in close contact with a positive individual, per CDC guidelines will be contacted directly. In addition, testing data from the MBL’s Mandatory Asymptomatic Testing Program is also now available on the dashboard and will be updated weekly.

Vaccine Survey

We will be asking all MBL resident faculty and staff to fill out a brief COVID-19 vaccination survey that should take you less than five minutes to answer. Answers will remain anonymous and you will not be identifiable. The purpose of the survey is to better understand COVID-19 vaccination rates among MBL resident faculty and staff in order to inform our response to the pandemic and associated planning efforts. We ask that everyone respond to the survey regardless of your vaccination status, so that the results are representative of the MBL year-round community. All MBL regular and temporary employees should expect to receive an email from HR with a link to the survey tomorrow (Thursday, May 27).

Our cautious approach to normalcy will continue as we gradually implement changes to existing health policies and procedures to ensure the safety of our community. Additional changes will be communicated to you via laball and updated on the MBL Forward website –

Paul Speer
Chief Operating Officer