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Spring classes begin Jan. 25 as fully remote, 25% transition to in-person Feb. 1. For more information, visit COVID website.

Residence Life Returning to Campus Guide

Before You Arrive on Campus

What’s Required

All students are expected to read and accept the information within this Return to Campus Guide to lower the risk of a potential outbreak of COVID-19. In addition, all students must view the University Guidance Video for Returning to campus above.  

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.

Campus Transportation

Campus Transportation is operating at a reduced schedule. Occupancy of Campus Transportation has been reduced to support social distancing and protect drivers, likely resulting in extended wait times.

For spring, tentative hours of daytime service will be Monday through Thursday 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Friday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. No evening or weekend service will be available.

All faculty/staff and enrolled students will continue to have access to the LRTA and approved lines on the MVRTA for the spring via their UCard.

If you must take public transportation or use Campus Transportation, wear a face covering before entering the bus and avoid touching surfaces with your hands. Upon disembarking, wash your hands or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol as soon as possible and before removing your mask. Consider alternate forms of transportation to navigate campus: walking, biking (bring your own or use the Free Wheelers), scooters (electric or manual).

Visit Campus Transportation for latest information and hours of operation.

Parking for Students

All student parking policies for the fall will be applied to the spring.
Parking will remain available at no cost, however permits are still required to gain entry to the lots.
We will continue to use virtual permits in lieu of adhesive decals. Fall permit holders will require receive a communication regarding renewal for the spring.
Students will continue to have access to all student lots, irrespective of their status

How We Plan to Provide an Outstanding Residential Experience

woman with mask plays mini golf on res hall lawn Photo by Tory Wesnofske

Residence Hall Services & Building Office Operations

Residence hall services and building office operations will be fully available and will be conducted in a manner that supports social distancing. Service areas will be restructured as necessary (including separation barriers) to facilitate safe interactions with students for packages, keys, etc. 

Residence Hall Staffing

Each residence hall/residential area will continue to be overseen by a professional full-time live-in Area Coordinator or Residence Director. The Area Coordinators and Residence Directors supervise a team of Resident Advisors and are responsible for the overall experience and functioning of the residence halls. Resident Advisors will be placed and assigned in each residence hall based on occupancy numbers. Residence Life staff will provide a 24-hour, seven days a week on call system to address residents’ needs and concerns. 

Connection & Community Building

Connection and community are vital to the college experience, the development of students and their mental and emotional well-being. Residence Life staff, in collaboration with other campus partners, will provide a community focused experience that fosters connection among students while supporting social distancing.

  • Programs & Events: Residents will be able to participate in virtual events, some small events within the building and larger events outside of the building planned by the Residence Life staff while taking social distancing guidelines into account. 
  • Personal Development & Wellness Checks: Residence Life Staff will be conducting multiple check-in conversations throughout the semester with each resident either virtually or by using appropriate social distancing practices. 
  • Community Space: Students living in traditional style residence halls will have opportunities, based on current guidance, to interact informally in residence hall lounges with other residents from their designated section or wing of their residence hall.  Interactions must be consistent with common space usage and guest policy guidelines.
  • Guest Policy:  In the interest of safety, the semester will begin with no overnight guests being allowed and access to residence halls will be limited to residents of that residence hall. Guest policies will be revisited regularly and could change based on the current situation and CDC and state of Massachusetts guidance. All decisions regarding guest access will take into account community health and safety as well as student desire for social interaction. The most up to date guest guidelines will be published on the Residence Life website and in the residence halls. 
  • Living and Learning Communities (LLC): Living-Learning Communities and cohort-based themed housing will be utilized to facilitate community engagement while maintaining minimal contact and social distancing. We continue to encourage students to explore our many living-learning community options. For students who have participated in an LLC in the past, we know the new LLC experience will be different (and we appreciate your patience) as we work to make sure we are keeping our community safe. With that in mind, we know students enjoy and benefit from our LLC program and we are committed to continuing to provide students with an exceptional LLC experience.  

Mail Service

To maintain social distancing, restrictions will be applied to campus mail locations. All residential mail will be distributed out of the Fox Hall mailroom. Other locations may reopen as conditions allow.

How We Plan to House Students

The Spring 2021 housing model was designed in consultation with medical staff in the Wellness Center and takes into account local, state and federal recommendations for health and safety. In addition, the model is intended to mitigate risk of contagion. 

All students living on campus will live in a single unit or single bedroom within a suite/apartment. Housing will be available in Traditional, Suite and Apartment style buildings. All students, regardless of housing type will have a meal plan.

Possible Housing Scenarios

Currently, we have two scenarios we are developing for this spring. The demand we have for campus housing, including the demand for East Campus and South Campus options, will be a factor in the final decision for what we offer. Our plan is to provide students with detailed information by Nov. 12. Here is a summary of the two scenarios we are exploring:    

Scenario 1    

  • Campus Housing Available on East Campus:  River Hawk Village, University Suites, Bourgeois Hall, Leitch Hall, Donahue Hall, Fox Hall    
  • Single Occupancy Units (example:  Leitch Hall) or Single Bedrooms within a Shared Unit (example:  University Suites)    
  • Meal Plan Required:  To ensure all students have access to campus dining, including times when a student may need to be in isolation or quarantine, all students (regardless of unit type) are required to be on a meal plan.

Scenario 2    

  • Campus Housing Available on East Campus and South Campus:  River Hawk Village, University Suites, Bourgeois Hall, Leitch Hall, Donahue Hall, Fox Hall (East Campus) and Riverview Suites West, Riverview Suites East, Concordia Hall, Sheehy Hall (South Campus)    
  • Single Occupancy Units (example:  Leitch Hall) or Single Bedrooms within a Shared Unit (example:  Riverview Suites)    
  • Meal Plan Required:  To ensure all students have access to campus dining, including times when a student may need to be in isolation or quarantine, all students (regardless of unit type) are required to be on a meal plan.

Room & Board Rate

All residents will pay one reduced Housing & Meal Plan rate totaling $7,770 for Spring 2021 semester. This rate includes housing in single occupancy bedroom within a suite or apartment or traditional residence hall, and an unlimited meal plan.

How We Plan to Assign Students

Spring Housing Intent

Students, who submit, reactivate or declare their intent to live on campus for the spring by Nov. 10 will be able to participate in room selection. Those that do so after Nov. 10 will be assigned on a space available basis by the Office of Residence Life.

• Students who wish to live on campus this spring, but have not submitted a housing contract should do so through the online housing portal.

• Students who have submitted a contract, are currently living on campus or deferred their contract to the spring should complete the “SPRING 2021 HOUSING INTENT” form on the online housing portal.

• Students who cancelled their housing, but have changed their minds and would like to live on campus should contact the Office of Residence Life at reslife@uml.edu to reactivate their contract.

If you are unsure of your status please contact the Office of Residence Life at reslife@uml.edu.  Please note that we are experiencing extremely high phone call and email traffic and will do everything we can to get back to you as quickly as possible. 

Room Selection Process

Our plan is that you will receive detailed information about our spring housing selection process by Nov. 12. Selection will then take place in November (tentatively). More details to come – please closely monitor your student email.      

Cancellations

Students that need to cancel housing should do so by Nov. 30 to avoid late cancellation charges. Please know that if a student’s course schedule changes to all virtual classes, resulting in the student cancelling housing, the student will not be billed for a late cancellation.

How We Plan to Welcome Residential Students to Campus

Move-In Process

Move-in will be conducted in a manner that supports social distancing including appropriate use of common areas and elevators. The move-in period will be extended to achieve this goal and may include students moving their belongings into their rooms, and returning home until a specified building occupancy date prior to the start of classes.  

Specific move-in directions will be developed for students and families including: 

  • All participants are responsible to bring a face covering and gloves.  
  • Only one family/friend (helper) per student will be allowed. 
  • Moving bins will not be provided in an effort to limit spread of germs.
  • Students will be encouraged to bring fewer belongings for their residence hall room.  

Initial Enhanced Social Distancing and Quarantine

  • All residents will be encouraged to engage in enhanced social distancing measures during the first two weeks after moving-in.
  • The university will follow state guidelines for quarantine of out-of-state, non-exempt residents. 
  • Testing will be required for all students.

Planning What to Bring

Students are expected to bring the following items with them upon moving into the Residence Halls. Supply and demand have created some intermittent shortages: 
  • Cloth Face Coverings (at least two)/paper bag(s)
  • Thermometer for personal use
  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and or Ibuprofen: fever reducer 
  • Robitussin or Guaifenesin (cough medicine)
  • Throat lozenges/cough drops
  • Kleenex
  • Hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol content)
  • Insurance card
  • Name of phone number of primary care health care provider
  • List of allergies
  • Prescription medication(s):at least a 3 week supply of each medication
  • Antibacterial bar or pump soap and paper towels
  • Cleaning supplies (Lysol/Clorox type wipes)

Communication Strategy

Student email will be the main method of communication for all communication. Information will also be posted to the Residence Life website as well as social media platforms. 

Residential Dining

A student picks up food at the Fox Dining Commons Photo by Tory Wesnofske

University Dining will provide a high quality dining experience while taking into account CDC and state guidelines for health and safety. University Dining will engage in extensive cleaning and sanitation protocols to ensure food safety and mitigate the risk of contagion.

Residential Dining Hall

  • Students will have access to dine-in experiences as well as extensive to-go options.  
  • Dine-in options will take advantage of opportunities for outdoor seating.  
  • A reservation process is in place to enable students to schedule their dining hall visits.
  • Limited Time Offers (special menu items and events) will be offered as part of both the dine-in and to-go experiences.
  • Operations will be designed to support social distancing including:
    • Occupancy controls to manage spacing in serving and dining area.
    • Social distancing implemented in kitchen and production areas.
    • Service adjustments for staff spacing.
    • Elimination of all self-service options.
    • Closure of services areas where social distancing is not possible.
    • Marked and spaced standing and queuing areas.
    • Signage to support and encourage social distancing. 

Cleaning & Sanitation

  • With safety as our highest priority, we are adjusting our operations at all levels to exceed students’ safety standards and contribute to the overall health of our school community.
  • All staff members will adhere to enhanced hand and respiratory hygiene guidelines.
  • Availability of hand sanitizer at all entrances and exits. Increased table and chair cleaning and sanitization frequency during service hours.
  • Enhanced COVID-19 specific safety training of staff will occur that includes COVID-19 mitigation tactics, PPE protocol and employee health monitoring resources to help prepare for return to work. The training also includes guidance on increased sanitation measures and social distancing techniques to help ensure the safety of our students, campus community and team members.

How We Keep Our Residential Community Safe

Cleaning Expectations

Community Bathrooms
Including:  Bourgeois, Fox, Leitch

Community bathrooms are cleaned by Facilities staff once per day and revisited throughout the day as needed to maintain the APPA-2 standard of cleanliness

In between these cleanings, cleaning supplies are available for residents to clean sinks and counter tops after activities beyond hand washing, particularly for activities like tooth brushing that release respiratory droplets and saliva. 

In-Room Bathrooms/Shared Living Space
Including: Donahue, River Hawk Village, River Hawk Village Townhouses, University Suites

Residence halls with in-room bathrooms and shared living spaces that are located in the room, suite or apartment fall under the responsibility of the residents occupying that space. During your roommate contract meeting with your RA, you will work to create a cleaning schedule that will meet the minimum established cleaning guidelines. 

Guidance for Residence Hall Community Spaces

Elevators:  Maintain social distance or ride solo. Please use the stairs whenever possible. If you are using the elevator, wear your face covering and avoid touching the elevator buttons with your exposed hand/fingers. Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol upon departing the elevator.

We encourage you to build time in when preparing to leave the building to ensure you are able to arrive on time. If you are physically able to do so, we highly encourage you to use the stairs in your building.  

Stairwells and Hallways:  Stairwells and hallways are to be used only for travel and are not congregation spaces. Students are expected to be wearing face coverings at all times and remain six feet away whenever possible in common areas of the residence halls including stairwells and hallways.

Laundry Room Usage:  In an effort to minimize the number of residents using the laundry room at any given time, and to permit us to maintain our six feet of social distancing expectations, signage will be posted in each laundry area with information regarding hours of operation and usage expectations. River Hawk Village and River Hawk Village Townhouses are exempt from these usage guidelines due to having in-unit laundry machines. 

Residential Security:  The UMass Lowell Police Department (UMLPD) and the Office of Residence Life works with Securitas to provide security in all of our residential areas from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. daily. 

Travel Guidelines

We encourage you to monitor the Massachusetts Travel Order. If you travel to a restricted area at any time (including Thanksgiving), you are required to take a COVID-19 test and quarantine until a negative test is received and have been contacted by a member of the Residence Life staff. You need to submit a Residence Life Travel Form.
If you chose to travel, please remember to practice social distancing, wear a face covering and wash your hands frequently. Thanks to all your efforts, we have been able to enjoy a smooth, healthy fall semester thus far. 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.

Be Prepared & Have a Go Bag

The contents of Abby Lipski's go bag Photo by Abigail Lipski

As we continue to live through the COVID-19 pandemic, we want you to know that at UML keeping our community healthy and safe is embedded in everything we do.

With that in mind we’ve developed protocols based on guidance from health officials and have plans in place for students who have a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 to follow an isolation protocol on campus.

Making a Go Bag

To keep you and everyone in our community healthy and safe, as well as for your comfort, we want you to be ready should you test positive for COVID-19 while living on campus.

In an unpredictable time as we continue to live with a pandemic, taking charge of what you are able to control can be a very empowering. Creating a “Go Bag” is something completely in your control and is an important part of being prepared if you are instructed to isolate.

Right now, take about 15 minutes to get a “Go Bag” ready in the event that you need to leave your current room to go to your self-designated off campus isolation location or relocate to the on campus isolation housing as time will be of the essence to minimize exposure to others  should you need to move to another space. 

The suggested list (below) includes items that you may use on a regular basis - a good strategy might be for you to put all of the items nearby each other so you can gather them quickly.

If you need to be moved to on campus isolation housing, rest assured that basics like a bed, bed linens and meals will be provided.

As you put your Go Bag items together, please keep in mind that should you need to be in isolation, you will be in a different space for a period for about 10 days, so having all of the important stuff in your life ready to go will make life easier for you during that time period.  

Here are some suggested items as you consider what to include in your Go Bag.

  • ALWAYS have your UML ID with you – ALWAYS
  • Personal hygiene items, including bath towels
  • Face coverings
  • Containers of the medications you take, including nonprescription (over the counter drugs) as well as prescription medication. Be sure to have enough for 14 days just in case you need to isolate longer due to feeling poorly.
  • A thermometer (part of the supplies we advised students to bring when moving back on campus)
  • Phone and charger
  • Laptop and charger
  • All your important documents, including insurance cards and, if an international student, your passport
  • Notepad, pen/pencil
  • Several changes of clothes/underclothes/pajamas
  • Towels
  • If you keep snacks in your room, put a supply of them in your Go Bag

Doing this now is important as you may have very little time to prepare if you need to be temporarily moved. Having all of this together will allow you to grab and go and have the items you’ll need while away from your residence hall and leave you able to continue with school and personal responsibilities.