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2020 Fall Planning

As we plan for Fall 2020, the understanding is that we’re in an ever-evolving situation and our response must be flexible. We’re interested in your feedback and questions and we know there may be campus operations, procedures and details we may have omitted. A summary of operations is below.

UMass Lowell Fall 2020 Plan

UMass Lowell plans to resume on-campus teaching, learning, research and campus life operations for the Fall 2020 semester. The full plan, further detailed across the reports and recommendations of the six Fall 2020 working groups, establishes protocols for preventing and responding to the spread of COVID-19 while gradually normalizing operations as conditions allow. This plan is subject to revision at any time.
Employees should consult the Return to Work Guide, and students should read the Return to School Guide.


  1. We will keep the safety and health of our community as our top priority.
  2. We will provide the fullest academic and campus life experience possible.
  3. We will rely on members of our community to act responsibly.
  4. We will act on new information promptly.

Preventing Exposure


  1. Perform daily self-checks 
    For each of the following risk factors: 
    • Fever/chills with a recorded temperature above 100.3 Fahrenheit  
    • Having taken any medication for the purpose of reducing a fever within the past four hours 
    • Cough 
    • Muscle aches 
    • Sore throat 
    • Shortness of breath 
    • Fatigue 
    • Loss of taste or smell 
    • Known close contact exposure to COVID-19 within the past 14 days 
    • Under orders from a medical professional to self-quarantine or isolate 
    If you meet any one of these criteria, stay home or in your room, or go home immediately and notify the proper university authorities. 
    • Employees: contact your supervisor and email or call Human Resources at 978-934-3557. 
    • Students: contact the Wellness Center at 978-934-6800.
  2. Maintain physical distance 
    Stay a minimum of 6 feet away from others whenever possible. Observe posted signage at building entrances, elevators and other high-traffic locations. Avoid congregating in common spaces.
  3. Wear a face covering 
    In accordance with CDC recommendations, every person on the UMass Lowell campus is expected to wear a cloth covering over their nose and mouth in all public/shared spaces and any time when 6 feet of personal distancing cannot be assured. 
  4. Maintain good personal hygiene 
    • Wash/sanitize hands frequently, using soap and water, for at least 20 seconds. 
    • When soap and water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, covering all hand surfaces and rubbing until dry. 
    • Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose, and mouth. 
    • Cough/sneeze into a tissue. Dispose of tissues immediately into a trashcan and then wash hands. If tissues are unavailable, cough/sneeze into the crook of your elbow, not your hands.
  5. Comply with public health efforts 
    Enter cell phone information into the Student Information System so that you can be contacted by and receive messages from agencies conducting contact tracing.
  6. Speak up for health 
    No single authority can ensure compliance. We ask all faculty, staff and students to politely speak up to individuals who are seen putting others at risk. Simply ask them to mask up, maintain social distance or head home if they clearly aren’t feeling well. It may not be comfortable, but it may save lives. 


  1. Promote physical distancing 
    In most cases, classroom capacity will be reduced to 25% of normal. Labs, studio and clinical instruction will be prioritized for on-campus learning. Many courses will be taught online or in a blended format, relying heavily on online technologies. Classroom availability may be staggered to lower foot traffic and allow time for cleaning.  
    Residence Halls 
    Halls will be opened on a reduced-density basis. In many cases, this will mean one student in a bedroom designed for two. There may also be an option of two students in a bedroom designed for three or four. In suite- and apartment-style halls, single and double occupancy bedrooms will be available. Use of community spaces, such as laundry rooms, may be limited or by appointment. 
    Rec Center 
    Measures will be taken to lower density, including spreading out equipment, enforcing occupancy limits and eliminating amenities and activities that cannot be safely adapted to a socially distanced format. 
    Until state re-opening criteria are met, the university will conduct events, meetings and social gatherings online. This includes club and organization activities, student recruitment and orientation events, symposia and performances. Athletic events will follow NCAA, America East and Hockey East protocols. 
    University shuttles will operate with reduced seating capacity and enhanced sanitation. 
    The full complement of meal plans will be available, and students will have a variety of takeout, dine-in and outdoor seating options. Occupancy limits and enhanced sanitation procedures will be in place. Self-service stations will be eliminated. 
    Non-essential visits to campus will be discouraged.
  2. Clean and sanitize 
    Washrooms and common spaces 
    • University buildings will be cleaned to APPA-2 cleanliness levels. 
    • Washrooms will be cleaned daily or more often. 
    • Frequently touched surfaces such as doors, elevator buttons and common area spaces will be cleaned throughout the day. 
    • Housekeeping will clean all instructional spaces once a day. 
    • Every classroom will be supplied with two spray bottles of disinfectant, paper towels and a user information card. 
    • Room users should wipe down surfaces before and after using them.  
    • Staff will be responsible for sanitizing their own workspaces daily or more often. 
    • The university will supply two spray bottles of disinfectant, paper towels and a user information card for each office suite.  
    • Staff will be responsible for refilling the spray bottles at a centrally located re-filling station. 
    • The Facilities Department will replenish paper supplies upon request. 
  3. Provide hand sanitizer  
    The university will maintain hand sanitizer stations at the main entry to each building and in elevator lobbies. Handwashing with soap and water is the preferred method of sanitizing hands.
  4. Control building access 
    Buildings will be locked when not in use. UCard access to university buildings and labs may be restricted in order to prevent unauthorized entry and unnecessary foot traffic. 


Testing: The university is actively developing its policies and procedures on testing, following CDC guidelines.
Quarantine: Individuals who feel healthy but have a known exposure to COVID-19 will be expected to quarantine, in their home or room, until 14 days have passed since their point of exposure without onset of illness.
Isolation: Individuals who are diagnosed with COVID-19, who are symptomatic or who are presumed positive while awaiting test results, will be expected to isolate. The university will relocate resident students according to their pre-established isolation plan. If you live off campus with others, stay in a specific “sick room” or area and away from other people or animals. Use a separate bathroom if available.
Contact tracing: The university will act in support of public health authorities who are responsible for contact tracing and for notifying individuals who may have been exposed to COVID-19. The health status of individuals is protected information and will not be shared with the community in a manner that violates the right to privacy.


Individual office: Close/seal for seven days. Based on CDC guidance, no additional cleaning is needed.
Cubicle: Temporarily relocate occupants of directly adjoining spaces. Using a fogger with cleaning solution, spray all horizontal and vertical spaces; let dry and re-occupy.
Classrooms and labs: Close/seal for 48 hours. After initial 24-hour waiting period, a fogger with cleaning solution will be utilized to spray all horizontal and vertical spaces. 
Residence Hall room: Close/seal affected bedroom for seven days while student is relocated for isolation. Based on CDC guidance, no additional cleaning is needed. Students in suites can remain, provided affected room remains sealed, and should clean/sanitize all surfaces regularly.