MBL Masking Policy – Frequently Asked Questions

Effective March 14, 2022


  1. What is the MBL’s mask policy?
    The MBL will go mask-optional for much of campus beginning March 14, 2022. Masks will continue to be required in instructional settings (e.g., classrooms, teaching labs), while educational content is being delivered in other spaces, and at any event open to the public.
  1. What is the MBL’s mask policy in classrooms and instructional spaces?
    Masks are required in classrooms and other instructional settings (e.g., teaching labs) until further notice. A speaker may pull down their mask temporarily while actively speaking or presenting and should return their mask to its position when not actively speaking. The MBL will communicate changes to classroom and instructional lab masking policies as we move into the spring.
  1. Should individuals carry a mask with them while on campus?
    Yes. Masks are still required in some settings and may be used voluntarily in others. The MBL recommends always keeping a mask with you for such situations.
  1. Are masks required in classrooms or meeting spaces during non-instruction periods?
    No, masks are not required in classrooms or meeting spaces during non-instruction periods or for other internal activities (e.g., department seminars or staff meetings) that are separate from scheduled courses.
  1. Are there special requirements for large meetings or events?
    Masks will continue to be required at any event that is open to the public, including conferences, until further notice.
  1. Can individuals request that others wear masks?
    Yes, though there is no obligation to wear or remove a mask in settings where masks are optional. During this time of transition, we ask that everyone be courteous of others and respect each other’s choices and requests. This may include voluntary masking in meetings or other contexts.
  1. Can staff members request an accommodation related to masking requirements or COVID-19?
    Accommodation requests by staff should be directed to Human Resources at hr@mbl.edu
  1. Are there additional masking requirements for visitors or others on campus?
    Yes. Visitors and contractors/vendors will be required to be masked in all campus locations unless their vaccination status is verified.
  1. Should unvaccinated individuals continue to wear masks?
    Yes – this is each person’s individual responsibility, rather than a requirement. Individuals who are unvaccinated or not up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations are strongly encouraged to wear a mask at all times while in MBL buildings, with the following limited exceptions:Private spaces – An unvaccinated individual may remove their face covering if they are in a private room/office alone with the door closed.Eating and Drinking – An unvaccinated individual may remove their face covering to eat or drink so long as they maintain six feet of social distance from others.
  1. Is weekly testing still mandatory for individuals who are unvaccinated or not up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations?
    Yes. See the Mandatory Testing page for more details.
  1. Is masking still required in some settings for individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 or are a known close contact of someone with COVID-19?
    Yes. MBL’s exposure protocol, based on guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, require that people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and have been released from isolation after 5 days must wear face coverings at all times around others until day 10. Individuals who are known close contacts of someone with COVID-19 must wear a face covering around others for 10 days from the date of their last contact with someone with COVID-19.
  1. Will the mask requirement be reinstated at some point?
    The MBL will continue to follow guidance from experts at UChicago Medicine, CDC, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, regarding any subsequent changes to masking requirements.
  1. Have other MBL COVID-related policies changed as a result of the mask optional policy? (e.g., contact tracing, isolation protocols)?
    No. We will communicate any other changes to MBL policies individually and as needed.