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Living Off Campus Guide

GUIDING PRINCIPLES

  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 meet or exceed guidance set forth by state and federal authorities.
  4. We will rely on members of our community to act responsibly.
  5. We will act on new information promptly.

Campus Expectations

What’s Required

All students are expected to read and accept the information within this Guide to lower the risk of a potential outbreak of COVID-19. 

Accommodations

Students who wish to seek academic accommodations can begin the process by filling out a Public Accommodation Request. Student employees seeking employment accommodations should contact the UML Equal Opportunity and Outreach Office. Students who wish to seek alternative housing due to health reasons should contact the Office of Residence Life. 

Agreeing to Expectations and Accountability

Students returning to campus will be expected to engage in protective personal behaviors to minimize the chances of the transmission of COVID-19. Students coming to campus are expected to engage in the following measures:

  • All UMass Lowell students are expected to review the Community Agreement, and by being a student are agreeing to the content therein. 
  • Conduct the Daily Self Check of COVID-19 Symptoms as outlined by UMass Lowell every time you come to campus or leave your residence hall room that day. Stay home if one or more symptoms are present and notify UMass Lowell Health Services.
  • Adhere to personal mitigation practices based on current guidance and university directives.  
  • Bring recommended self-care items if you live on campus.
  • Adhere to space and event guidelines designed to support social distancing and mitigation of transmission.  
  • Update contact information including mobile phone information in the Student Information System (SiS) and activate voicemail for those devices so that you can be contacted should you be identified as someone who may have been in contact with a COVID-19 positive person.
  • Comply with all COVID-19 testing requirements that may be enacted on campus. 
  • Comply with contact tracing, isolation, and/or quarantine protocols, some of which may be conducted in cooperation with local public health.
  • Comply with immunization record requirements. All information must be submitted via the Student Health Portal no later than Jan. 1, 2021. Students will not be allowed to return to campus if immunization records are not up to date.

All students are expected to fully comply with the policies, protocols and guidelines. Failure to comply with university directives designed to limit spread/exposure to contagions (including viruses, bacteria, fungi, parasites, etc.) constitutes a violation of the Student Conduct Code, the Residence Life Guidelines or other policies at the university. Students may be held accountable through the conduct process for failing to abide by the policies, protocols and expectations outlined above.

Academic Support Services

Academic Testing CentersThe Testing Centers will be closed. We are exploring online proctoring services for students with a testing accommodation. 

Advising: Academic Advising will be delivered virtually through Skype, Zoom or phone. 

Bookstore: The River Hawk Shop is open with restrictions in place. 

Libraries: The university libraries is offering services virtually. Our librarians have created a Libguide curated by subject matter that lists free textbooks available through the libraries. 

Thesis and Dissertation Defenses: Defenses will take place virtually.

Tutoring: Tutoring provided through the Centers for Learning will be available to all students through Zoom. 

Student Services

Recruiters from Intralox talk to a student during the virtual career fair

Consult the webpages linked below for each area for specific and up-to-date information.

Campus Recreation is open to residential students only, by reservation.

Career & Co-op Center is open with limited staffing for reception. Meetings, services and events will be virtual.

Community Relations is available by email and Zoom and can help navigate resources and opportunities in the city of Lowell (i.e., businesses open and their hours; volunteer or connect to an off-campus nonprofit, etc.).

Counseling Services is providing teletherapy services via HIPAA compliant Zoom. Please call 978-934-6800, Monday-Friday to make an appointment. When requesting an appointment, please provide you name, student ID number and a phone number where you are able to receive and retrieve messages. Students can also access a crisis counselor any time day or night by calling 855-890-2879.  

Dining operations are designed to support safety protocols and social distancing.

Disability Services is providing services through Zoom. Students can make appointment via email at disability@uml.edu or calling 978-934-4574 Monday-Friday. When requesting an appointment, please provide you name, student ID number and a phone number where you are able to receive and retrieve messages. Register for accommodations 

Food Pantry is operating an online ordering/no-contact pick up service due to the building closures as a result of COVID-19. order available food, toiletries, paper goods, school supplies, etc. When your order is fulfilled and ready for pickup you will receive an email regarding when and where to pick up your bagged items. 

Health Services is providing telehealth services via HIPAA compliant Zoom. Please call 978-934-6800, Monday-Friday to make an appointment. When requesting an appointment, please provide your name, student ID number and a phone number where you are able to receive and retrieve messages. Health Services staff will work with students to arrange an in person visit if needed based on the outcome of a telehealth appointment.  

Multicultural Affairs is providing services through phone, email, Skype and Zoom, and will offer limited face-to-face service delivery available when it is safe to do so.

Residence Life is open with modified housing occupancy. 

Student Affairs Office is open with limited staffing for reception. Meetings, services and events will be virtual. 

Student Conduct is providing services through phone, email, Skype and Zoom, and will offer limited face-to-face service delivery available when it is safe to do so.

Student Activities & Leadership is holding a combination of modified in-person and virtual activities crafted with public health guidelines in mind. 

Study Abroad will not take place due to worldwide health and travel restrictions. Students interested in study abroad may consult with the Study Abroad office via Zoom.

Support Our Students is providing services through phone, email, Skype and Zoom, and will offer limited face-to-face service delivery available when it is safe to do so.

The Solution Center is providing services through phone and email and will offer limited face-to-face service delivery available when it is safe to do so.

UML Police Department provides services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through phone, email or in person. UMLPD is located in University Crossing on the Salem Street side of the building. UMLPD’s main phone number is 978-934-2398, emergency phone number is 978-934-4411, email is Police@uml.edu.

Veterans Services is providing services through phone, email, Skype and Zoom, and will offer limited face-to-face service delivery available when it is safe to do so.

Mental and Emotional Wellbeing

Counseling Services

UMass Lowell Counseling Services (UMLCS) is available for teletherapy support, assistance and counseling in this difficult time to help our students navigate challenges, persevere and succeed. Individual and group teletherapy services are available via video, or phone when video is unavailable. To request a counseling session, call the Wellness Center at 978-934-6800 or e-mail counseling@uml.edu during regular business hours. Please provide you name, student ID number, and a phone number where you are able to receive and retrieve messages.

Students can also access a crisis counselor any time day or night by calling 855-890-2879.

UMatter2

You matter to UMass Lowell and the university is committed to supporting your overall health and wellbeing. UMatter2 serves to educate our campus community and connect one another to support our students’ mental health and wellbeing. Visit the UMatter2 website or Instagram for more information and resources to offer support, manage stress and enhance your resilience. #UMatter2UML

How We Keep Our Community Safe

Sneakers standing on floor sticker noting six feet distance Photo by Tory Wesnofske

Personal Prevention Practices - Protect Yourself, Protect Others

In the absence of a vaccine, the goals for using mitigation strategies in communities with local COVID-19 transmission are to slow the transmission of the disease and to protect the UML campus and surrounding Lowell community. The more an individual interacts with others, and the longer that interaction, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread. These strategies should be implemented at all times.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is an illness caused by a virus that can spread from person to person. COVID-19 symptoms can range from mild (or no symptoms) to severe illness and is primarily spread by respiratory droplets released when people talk, cough, or sneeze. Though unlikely to cause infection, it is thought that the virus may spread to hands from a contaminated surface and then to the nose or mouth, causing infection.  Using personal prevention practices is important to lower the risk of COVID-19 exposure and spread. 

Social Distancing

Keeping space between you and others is one of the best tools we have to avoid being exposed to the COVID-19 virus and slowing its spread. Since people can spread the virus before they know they are sick, it is important to stay away from others when possible, even if they have no symptoms. Social distancing is important for everyone, especially to help protect people who are at higher risk of getting very sick. All students living on campus, regardless of whether they have symptoms, are expected to adhere to the following social distancing guidelines:   

  • Stay at least six feet (about two arms length) from other people at all times
  • Do not gather in groups
  • Stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings
  • Follow the state Safer-at-Home Advisory
  • In accordance with current guidelines, usage of common spaces including lounges and public floor kitchens may be limited – we will display signage indicating if the space is closed or open. If open, additional information about maximum occupancy will be specified based on current guidelines.  
  • Students will be encouraged to engage virtually with fellow residents, friends, and family members by using technologies like FaceTime and Google Meet. 

We know this is not easy and that much has changed in a short period of time. But social distancing techniques are critical to slowing the spread of COVID-19 and our collective actions will enable us to meet this challenge.  

Face Coverings

Because social distancing cannot be assured at all times, face coverings must be worn indoors, including in classrooms, laboratories and open office spaces, as well as outdoors even when six feet of distance can be maintained. Face coverings are not required in private settings such as individual offices and residence hall rooms.

It is recommended that face coverings be kept on your person at all times. Wearing a face covering helps to protect others by containing respiratory droplets when you cough, sneeze or speak. Since individuals can be contagious before the onset of symptoms, you may be contagious and not know it. If you cover your nose and mouth, it can limit the spread of COVID-19. Another good reason to use face coverings is you touch your face less when your face is covered. Touching your face after touching something contaminated with COVID-19 increases your chances of getting sick with COVID-19. Please refer to the Face Coverings FAQ and Knowing the Difference of the Types of Face Coverings for more information. 

  • Putting on the face covering:
    • Wash hands or use hand sanitizer prior to handling the face covering.
    • Ensure the face-covering fits over the nose and under the chin.
    • Situate the face-covering properly with nose wire snug against the nose (where applicable).
    • Tie straps behind the head and neck or loop around the ears.
    • Throughout the process: Avoid touching the front of the face covering.
  • Taking off the face covering:
    • Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth when removing the face covering/disposable mask.
    • When taking off the face covering, loop your finger into the strap and pull the strap away from the ear, or untie the straps.
    • Wash hands immediately after removing.
  • Care, storage and laundering:
    • Keep face coverings stored in a paper bag when not in use.
    • Cloth face coverings may not be used more than one day at a time and must be washed after use. Cloth face coverings should be properly laundered with regular clothing detergent. Cloth face coverings should be replaced immediately if soiled, damaged (e.g. ripped, punctured) or visibly contaminated.
    • Disposable face coverings must not be used for more than one day and should be placed in the trash after use or if it is soiled, damaged (e.g., stretched ear loops, torn or punctured material) or visibly contaminated.

Handwashing

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing, or touching your face. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, and wash your hands before and after touching your face.

Coughing/Sneezing Hygiene

When you cough or sneeze always cover your mouth and nose with the inside of your elbow or a tissue if available. Throw used tissues in the trash. Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

Personal Disinfection

While facilities crews will continue to clean common spaces based on CDC guidelines, we all will play a role in taking additional care to wipe down commonly used surfaces. Follow posted instructions about disinfection in common use and high touch areas. Also, clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces. Don’t share items such as food, drinks, utensils, vapes, or similar items.  

Stay at Home When You Are Sick

It is important to stay physically distant from others when sick to reduce the transmission of disease. If you are sick, stay home to reduce exposure and transmission of the illness onto other individuals in the community. Students should notify their health care provider or the Wellness Center if they are experiencing symptoms first - and then notify the Wellness Center if they have not done so already to update their health record. Residential students should contact the Wellness Center and the Residence Life staff for their residence hall/area if they feel ill so they can be supported while they remain in their room and minimize contact with others.  

Symptom Monitoring Requirements

Students who return to campus must conduct symptom monitoring every day prior to coming to campus or leaving their residence hall room. You must be free of ANY symptoms potentially related to COVID-19 or have had an evaluation and clearance by Health Services to be eligible to report to class or participate in any other activity on campus.  At this time, these symptoms include one or more of the following:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fever
  • Chills (repeated shaking with chills)
  • Runny nose or new sinus congestion
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Fatigue
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Other less common symptoms have been reported, including gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or foot sores

If you have any symptoms, always wear a face mask to avoid possible virus transmission to others. You should first contact your health care provider. After calling your health care provider, you must also call the Wellness Center hotline to notify them of your symptoms.  A health care professional from Health Services will contact you shortly. You should self-isolate until cleared by Health Services.

While a monitoring app is not required, several options exist to help gauge symptoms.

Take the COVID-19 Self Checker

Roommates/Housemates & Organization Members: Agreeing to Expectations

Living in a shared living environment can be difficult even under normal circumstances. During a public health crisis it becomes even more important for those living together to have a shared set of expectations for their living environment and mechanisms in place to manage issues or disagreements as they arise. The information below is provides tools to students living off campus will help them in this process.

Guidelines for shared living during COVID-19

Cleaning your home and shared living space

How to encourage getting tested

It can be helpful to discuss the expectations around testing with your roommates before there is a need due to illness. If you are concerned that your roommate is showing symptoms of COVID, it is important to also keep yourself safe. Keeping a safe distance from your roommate, while communicating via phone or other manner, can allow you to share your concerns and also keep yourself safe. If you are concerned that your roommate may have been in contact with a person who may have COVID, it may be helpful to offer to also get tested with your roommate, or to discuss what methods can keep the household safe.

Talking about what you are comfortable with in your apartment

Your safety must be your first priority, but you also want to ensure that the behavior of those with whom you chose to live, or their guests, does not put you at additional risk. You should be firm about what you are and are not comfortable with in your residence, including hosting guests, parties and other behaviors. It can be helpful to ensure all roommates know the consequences of their actions may impact others in the apartment/house, and may impact others health and have consequences with the state and/or school. 

Living Agreement

The best course of action is to decide what each roommate is comfortable with via a living agreement before there are problems. Just assuming you are on the same page can lead to miscommunications. Roommates should respect the comfort of one another and only agree to engage in behaviors that all residents are comfortable with. These should also be within the current expectations of the city and state, and should adapt as the expectations from these entities changes. 

Eating Together

As you and your housemates typically gather for house meals, here are some dining pointers to take into consideration:  

  • Family style dining should not be considered; all housemates should prepare their own meals and not share cooking utensils while prepping food. For example, family/community style meals such as buffet trays of pasta, chicken, salad, pizza, etc should not be allowed. 
  • If ordering out, please consider not sharing your food and ensure all food ordered is in single serve/single packaged meals.
  • All house meals should only be for those living in the house/apartment. It is not recommended that meals should be shared with anyone outside of the house.
  • Do not share any eating utensils, glasses, cups, bowls or plates with housemates without proper cleaning in between uses.

Guests in your apartment

The expectations and ordinances from the state and city are in flux as the progression of COVID changes in Massachusetts and Lowell. It is the expectation that all students adhere to the state guidelines. To prevent any gatherings from growing too large to comply, discuss who you and your roommates are comfortable hosting, and when guests are able to be invited. Make sure there are no occasions where too many people are invited over at the same time, as this could cause an unintentional violation of current expectations. Decide ahead of time what to do if there are too many people in the apartment at one time and be open with guests before inviting them that they are not able to bring other parties along.

If you have friends that are living on campus, it is important to know that they are not permitted to have guests in their residence hall space at this time. Please help them follow this expectation by not visiting your friends in their residence hall while these restrictions are in place. 

if someone you live with or is in your student organization tests positive

If you are experiencing symptoms, have tested positive or have been deemed to be a close contact of someone who has tested positive, please DO NOT COME to campus.  

  • Residential students or those attending courses on campus should call the COVID Symptom Reporting line at 978-934-COV2 (2682) or email Student_SymptomReporting@uml.edu to talk to a health care professional. 
  • Students residing off campus or taking virtual/online classes should contact their primary care provider (PCP).  If you do not have a PCP, please call the COVID Symptom Reporting line as noted above.


Resources for Student Leaders

Managing a student organization during this remote time can be challenging but it can also be rewarding and provide a great network of support. Here are some recommendations for leading during this time.

Be sure to reach out to your organization advisor on campus, faculty, advisors, national support staff and or alumni advisors for additional support. 

Consider this while working with your peers: 

  • Be a model: Model shared leadership with behaviors and ways of exploring questions that others can learn from, including the capacity to be honest about what you know, don’t know and need to know; be transparent with processes and decisions; and be truly open to engaging others in collaboration.
  • Work together: Demonstrate that working together matters and is connected to solving problems in meaningful ways. This involves setting the tone, establishing the charge, and then listening and acting upon what teams recommend.
  • Collaboration: Consider other organizations you might want to work with. Contact clubs via www.uml.edu/engage and see what virtual programming you could combine. Consider reaching out and joining together to hear about each other’s successes and challenges. Reach out to Student Government Association, sgapresident@uml.edu for club support. 
  • Be patient: Not all your members will have time or ability to connect virtually. Allow people to step back or step up, regardless of role or title, if this makes sense. Allow yourself as a leader to be patient with yourself, no one has ever experienced this before, it's ok to make mistakes. 
  • Acknowledge accomplishments: Celebrate shared accomplishments—doing so is especially important in times of crisis. Recognize the contributions of teams and individuals.
  • Be open to innovation: Allow members to experiment with different ways of working through an organizational goal. Discuss new ways of approaching annual traditions and be open to hearing from your newest members. 

Beyond Leadership

Be aware of your wellbeing – It’s OK to not be OK

LGBTQ Resources during COVID-19


Testing

A student takes a testing swab from a student EMT Photo by Tory Wesnofske

Weekly surveillance testing is required for all residential students and is expected for all commuter students, faculty and staff who are on campus. This step exceeds all current Centers for Disease Control recommendations.

Testing for any students who exhibit symptoms will be available through the Wellness Center. Symptomatic faculty and staff should contact their healthcare providers for testing. 

Surveillance testing is conducted among populations who are not showing symptoms in an effort to identify potential cases early and quickly isolate them before the virus can spread. UMass Lowell has partnered with the Broad Institute, a biomedical research center affiliated with MIT and Harvard University.

  • Tests will be self-administered and are minimally invasive. The individual being tested will collect the sample themselves by inserting a swab that looks like a “q-tip” just as far as the bottom of the cotton tip into one of their own nostrils, rotate it around the sides of the nostril for 15 seconds, and then use the swab to repeat the same procedure in the other nostril. 
  • Surveillance testing will be conducted by the university at no cost to individuals. 
  • Results will be shared via email as quickly as possible, with results typically expected within 24 to 48 hours. Residential students who test positive will follow their isolation plan. Contract tracing to identify exposed individuals will be undertaken in partnership with the Department of Public Health.
  • Results will only be shared with the Department of Public Health if the test is positive. This is protected health information and will not be shared with parents of students or other campus community members. Read more about contact tracing.
  • Testing does not replace or reduce the importance of social distancing, wearing face coverings, washing hands, isolation or quarantine.

Contact Tracing

The role of the university in contact tracing can be characterized as supportive. The statutory responsibilities of local public health are to initiate and lead contact tracing. As a reminder, a close contact is defined as someone who was closer than six feet from you for longer than 15 minutes.  

Our role as an organization, if requested by local public health or the Contact Tracing Collaborative (CTC), is to clarify the scope of contact a student or staff member might have had while on campus. Local public health authorities may also contact the university if there are unusual and/or alarming levels of disease requiring more intensive investigations and accompanying interventions. The status of an employee's or student’s health is considered protected health information and will not be shared with the community in a manner that would violate the right to privacy of that community member.  

Health Services will support the symptom assessment review and the logistics of placing a student in isolation and quarantine when a positive case is identified in our student population. This will be recorded by Health Services in the manner of other protected health information.

Travel Guidelines

We encourage you to monitor the Massachusetts Travel Advisory. Residential students who are traveling or plan to be absent from campus, please let us know your plans with the Residence Life Travel/Absence from Campus Form.

If you chose to travel, please remember to practice social distancing, wear a face covering and wash your hands frequently. It takes cooperation from all of us to keep our community safe – and we appreciate the kindness and respect you have shown to each other during this time. Please continue to “Be About the We, Not the Me.”

Quarantine & Isolation Plan

Quarantine

Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick and to limit the risk of transmission of disease to others. Even if you feel healthy and well you may be required to quarantine if you have been identified as having had contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19. As we have learned more about the Corona virus, guidance from the Center for Disease Control and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health on the amount of time one should quarantine has changed several times in the course of the last few months. UMass Lowell will follow the most up to date guidance in establishing our protocols. 

Students living in the residence halls will quarantine in their current residence hall assignment. They should stay in their bedroom and have no contact with other people for the number of days outlined by public health after their last exposure to someone with known disease. Individuals should only leave their room to get food left at their residence hall door or to use the bathroom in their suite or hall floor and should wear a mask whenever leaving their room. If in a suite, they should not leave the suite except in the case of an emergency such as a fire alarm or medical crisis.

  • Per standard public health protocols, students who are quarantined will be contacted by a Health Services staff member on a periodic basis to conduct a general wellness review including a symptom review that will be documented in their existing medical record and treated as all other protected health information (PHI) would be in a medical record.
  • If directed by an outside agency to quarantine, students should report that information to the Wellness Center. Health Services will register that information in the student’s health record and will follow up with the student during the quarantine period.
  • Check your temperature twice a day and watch for symptoms of COVID-19.  Students should notify their health care provider first if symptoms emerge and then notify the Wellness Center to update their health record. 
  • Stay away from people who are at higher-risk for getting very sick from COVID-19.
  • Students will have food delivered to their rooms by a representative of the University during quarantine. The ordering and delivery of food other than that provided by dining services left directly in front of the student’s room is not allowed during quarantine in the residence hall.

Isolation

Isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick. Students will be required to isolate if they have been diagnosed with COVID-19, or are waiting for test results, have cough, fever, shortness of breath or other symptoms of COVID-19. Current guidance from the Center of Disease Control and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health is that those with COVID-19 remain in isolation for 10 days.

Students testing on campus who have a positive result will be notified by a member of the Health Services staff to discuss initiation of isolation including arrangements for relocation to the ICC for the duration of isolation. If a residential student determines that they wish to isolate off campus they must remain off campus until they are officially released from isolation by public health or other designated public entity and provide Health Services with documentation of that release.

  • Once in isolation students must stay in their bedroom and have no contact with other people for the number of days outlined by public health. Individuals should only leave their room to get food left at their room door except in the case of an emergency such as a fire alarm or medical crisis.
  • Students will have food delivered to their rooms by a representative of the university during isolation. The ordering and delivery of food other than that provided by dining services left directly in front of the student’s room is not allowed during isolation in the residence hall. 
  • Per standard public health protocols, students who are isolated will be contacted by a Health Services staff member on a periodic basis to conduct a general wellness review including a symptom review that will be documented in their existing medical record and treated as all other protected health information (PHI) would be in a medical record.