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We’re sharing weekly emails with college-wide updates related to the college’s evolving response to the COVID-19 crisis, including information on remote teaching, learning, work, and operations.

New Face Covering Requirements at NECC

On May 1, Governor Baker signed an emergency order requiring face coverings in public places where social distancing is not possible.  

As of May 6, any person over age two who is in a place open to the public in the Commonwealth, whether indoor or outdoor, and is unable to or does not maintain a distance of approximately six feet from every other person must cover their mouth and nose with a mask or cloth face covering.

What does this mean specifically for Northern Essex?

Face coverings should be worn in all public and common areas such as lobbies, bathrooms, stairwells, and hallways, according to Deb Crafts, director of public safety.   Additionally, they should be worn when there are two or more people in a space and they cannot maintain a distance of 6 feet apart.

The order applies to all individuals currently working on our campuses and will apply to all employees and students if the order is still in effect when face-to-face classes resume.  

Don’t have a Face Mask? Here’s How to Make One

The Center for Disease Control has a website covering everything you need to know about COVID-19, including how to make your own face covering.  

If you’re handy with a needle and thread, you can sew one.   If not, it’s simple to make a face covering from a scarf and a couple of hair ties or from a t-shirt.

Instructions on how to make a cloth mask are available from the CDC here.

Governor Baker Announces Phased Plan for Re-Opening

On May 11, Governor Baker announced that there will be a four-phased plan for re-opening businesses in the Commonwealth.

While he shared some details, the full plan will be released on May 18.

The four-phases will include Start, Cautious, Vigilant, and The New Normal.  The first businesses to re-open in the Start Phase will be those that can lend themselves easily to non face-to-face operations.  Restrictions will be loosened and more businesses added in each phase.

Before any business opens, mandatory workplace safety standards must be agreed upon.  Those standards will include protocols around social distancing, cleaning and disinfection, reporting COVID-19 cases, and more.

The phases will be flexible, meaning if there is new data, the Commonwealth may return to an earlier phase or stay in a phase longer than planned.

In the meantime, the college is creating its own plan for a safe return to campus, one that aligns with what the governor is planning and with guidance from the Department of Public Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Department of Higher Education.

Have Questions?

If you have questions specific to COVID-19 and the college’s response, please visit the Coronavirus Information page on the website, call 978 556-3700, or email

As we receive updates, our policies may change. We will share these updates through campus email. Higher level information will also be shared through the college’s Emergency Notification System and on Facebook or Twitter.

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