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Residence Life Fall 2020 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 a University Guidance Video for Returning to campus.  


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 their-in. 
  • 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 Aug. 1, 2020.  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.  

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)

How We Plan to House Students

The Fall 2020 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 on East Campus in a single. Students will be assigned by the Office of Residence Life. 

Room & Board Rate

All residents will pay one reduced Housing & Meal Plan rate totaling $7,770 for Fall 2020 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

Room Selection Process

After verification with the Registrar's Office, any student registered in SiS for a class that meets on campus for Fall 2020 will automatically be prioritized for housing. Students in this category do not need to petition for on campus housing. Students will receive confirmation from Residence Life with approval to live on campus. For students not wishing to live on campus, follow instructions to cancel housing.

Students who would like to live on campus need to submit a new petition to live on campus form by Thursday, Aug. 13 at 9 a.m. The petition will be available on the Online Housing Portal.

The criteria to live on campus include:

  • identifying as homeless;
  • living out-of-state or out of the country;
  • being an international student in need of housing;
  • having an internship or co-op in the Lowell area;
  • employment in the Lowell area;
  • unable to maintain academic progress at home;
  • without internet access at home.
Due to reduced capacity, students who do not submit a petition by the deadline may not be able to be accommodated in campus housing. Students who do not petition to live on campus but have an active housing contract will automatically have their housing cancelled and charges adjusted taking financial aid into account.

How We Will Keep Our Community Safe

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
  • 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. Face coverings must be worn outdoors when 6 feet of distance can’t 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, even when outdoors, since it is possible that you may come within 6 feet of another person. 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.


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

How to Keep Our Community Safe Within Residence Halls

Cleaning Expectations

Community Bathrooms

Including:  Bourgeois, Fox, Leitch

Community bathrooms will be cleaned by Facilities staff once per day and revisited throughout the day as needed to maintain the APPA-2 standard of cleanliness. Cleaning supplies will be made available for residents to clean sinks and counter tops as needed

In between these cleanings, cleaning supplies will be made 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, if possible. Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent 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 6 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. 

Self isolation vs. self quarantining vs. social distancing

Quarantine & Isolation Plan


Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick. You may be required to quarantine if you feel healthy AND had contact with a person with COVID-19:

  • Students living in the residence halls will quarantine in their current residence hall assignment. They should stay in their bedroom and have limited contact with other people until 14 days after their last exposure.  Individuals should only leave their room to get food or use the bathroom. And should wear a mask whenever leaving their room.
  • Per standard public health protocols, students who are quarantined will be contacted by a HS staff member on a periodic basis to conduct a general wellness review including a symptom review.  Follow up will be implemented as indicated.  The process 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 or the Wellness Center 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 be able to use their meal plans to order food and have it delivered to a designated pick up location within their residence hall.


Isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick.  Prior to moving onto campus, residential students will identify an off-campus isolation plan through the Housing Portal.  

In the event that a student contracts COVID-19 or they need to evacuate campus, students will be instructed to vacate campus to their designated Isolation location.  In the event a student is unable to designate an isolation plan, a plan will be implemented that isolates the student in a room on campus. 

You will be required to isolate if you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, or, are waiting for test results, or have cough, fever, or shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19:

  • Separate yourself from others.
  • Students who live in the residence halls will be asked to isolate at their permanent address or other location they have identified through their isolation plan registered with Residence Life.  Residential students who are unable to isolate off campus will be relocated to an on campus isolation space.  
    • Students will be able to use their meal plans to order food and have it delivered outside of their on campus isolation room.
  • Students should monitor their symptoms daily and notify their health care provider or Health Services if symptoms worsen.  
  • Per standard public health protocols, students who are placed in isolation will be contacted by a HS staff member on a periodic basis to conduct a general wellness review including a symptom review.  Follow up will be implemented as indicated. The process 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 and 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 imbedded 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 if they are unable to isolate off 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, bath towels, 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 of up to 14 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 
  • 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.
  • A thermometer (part of the supplies we advised students to bring when moving back on campus).
  • Phone and charger
  • Your 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
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. 

How We Plan to Provide an Outstanding Residential Experience

Residence Hall Services and 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 and 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 location may reopen as conditions allow.

Campus Transportation

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. Occupancy of Campus Transportation will be reduced to support social distancing and protect drivers, likely resulting in extended wait times. Consider alternate forms of transportation to navigate campus: walking, biking (bring your own or use the Free Wheelers), scooters (electric or manual).

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 residents. 
  • Testing will be required for students arriving from non-exempt states.

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

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.  
  • Plans are currently being developed for a reservation process as well as a capacity tracking program to help students 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 and 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.