UMass Lowell is committed our housing our students safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. The following guide is for residential students.
All students are expected to read and accept the information within this Guide to lower the risk of a potential outbreak of COVID-19.
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:
- If at all possible, please get a COVID-19 test (and wait for your results) prior to returning to campus for the spring 2022 semester. Ideally, please get tested (rapid antigen tests or PCR tests if available) the day before or morning of your departure to campus and wait for the results before departing so that you can stay home and isolate there if your test is positive.
- 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 call the COVID line at 978-934-COV2 (2682) or email Student_SymptomReporting@uml.edu to talk to a health care professional.
- 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 Aug. 1 for fall semester and Jan. 10 for spring semester. 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.
How We Plan to Provide an Outstanding Residential Experience
Residence Hall Services & Building Office Operations
Residence hall services and building office operations will be fully available. 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.
- 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 limited guests being allowed. Access to residence halls will be limited to residential students and UML commuter students enrolled in on-campus classes. 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.
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.
- 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
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.
Quarantine & Isolation Plan
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. UMass Lowell will continue to follow the latest guidance in establishing our protocols based on Centers for Disease Control recommendations.
Post-Exposure Guidelines for Close Contacts Who Do Not Have Symptoms
Per CDC, a close contact is someone who was less than six feet away from an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period. For example, three individual five-minute exposures for a total of 15 minutes.
The latest quarantine guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is dependent on your vaccination status. Visit the CDC to determine if you need to quarantine.
You can come on campus after an exposure if you feel well (are asymptomatic) and meet one of these conditions:
- completed the primary series of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine within the last 6 months;
- completed the primary series of J&J vaccine within the last 2 months;
- have been boosted with approved COVID-19 vaccine; or
- been diagnosed with COVID-19 within the last 90 days.
If you start to develop symptoms, stay home and take a COVID test. If you take a PCR test, please stay home until you get your results. Per UML policy, please mask while on campus.
You must stay off campus for at least five days under the following circumstances:
- It has been over six months since you completed the primary series of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine and you are not boosted;
- It has been over two months since you had the single dose J&J and are not boosted; or
- You have not been vaccinated or have not completed the primary vaccination series.
In that case you must stay home for 5 days following your last exposure to the infected person and monitor for symptoms.
If you are unable to limit contact with an infected person, you must stay off campus for 10 days.
If you remain without symptoms, test on day five if possible. If you develop symptoms get a test and continue to stay home.
Regardless of your vaccine status CDC guidance is that those exposed mask when around others for 10 days.
Per UML policy always wear a mask when on campus.
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. Follow guidance from the Centers of Disease Control regarding length of isolation.
Residential Isolation Plan
- If a student tests positive for COVID-19 and needs to isolate on campus, we plan to do the following:
- A student who is truly unable to return home could be moved to one of our isolation spaces at our Inn & Conference Center (ICC). Please note, we have limited (30 double occupancy rooms) for isolation use.
- Students isolating at the ICC may be assigned a roommate who has also tested positive for COVID-19 so we maximize the space we have.
- With the current COVID-19 surge, we know we may need to isolate more than 60 students while the Omicron surge continues. If that happens, students will need to isolate in place – in their current residence hall. This could have an impact on roommates, suite mates and apartment-mates. Again, if you test positive, the expectation is that you isolate off campus if at all possible.
- If a student isolates in place on campus, they will need to wear a mask or face covering when around any roommates, suite mates, or apartment mates. Students may need to create plans within their living space in case sleeping arrangements need to be altered during this time – to allow for separation of students while sleeping without a mask or face covering.
- Per standard procedures, students living in suites and apartments will be responsible for cleaning their own bathrooms, common spaces and the like. Please plan accordingly and bring cleaning supplies per standard routines.
- Students living in a traditional residence hall using community bathrooms should:
- Always wear a mask or face covering while traveling from their room to the bathroom.
- Only remove mask or face covering while using showers, etc and continue to stay six or more feet apart from other students.
- Bathroom cleaning schedules will be posted.
- Students in isolation at the ICC will receive meals at the ICC.
- Students isolating in place will leave their room (with mask or face covering) to pick up their food from a central location.
- Students isolating in place should only leave their room to:
- Use a community bathroom
- Pick up food
Be Prepared & Have a Go Bag
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 in order to isolate.
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 isolate 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.
As you put your Go Bag items together, please keep in mind that should you need to be in isolation, you will be off campus or in a different space for a period of five to 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
- 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 placed into isolation. 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.