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Student Fall 2020 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 Experience

Learning on Campus

Although we are expecting campus to be open this fall, we will be offering modifications to our course schedule, with only courses that must be taught in person, such as certain labs and studio classes, will continue on campus with most other classes offered in fully virtual mode. If necessary, we will be prepared to pivot our on-campus courses to remote teaching in a way that supports a consistent student learning experience. Faculty will be offered a series of online summer trainings designed to support remote teaching and learning. Student services and support remain a top priority.  

  • All fall courses will have a Blackboard shell with syllabus posted.
  • Student advising appointments will continue to be virtual, with face-to-face options as physical spaces allow for social distancing. 
  • The Testing Centers will operate on a limited capacity with social distancing, with scheduled appointments for students with accommodations. 
  • Tutoring can be effectively delivered through Zoom, and a virtual delivery makes it more accessible to students; therefore, we will continue to offer these services virtually even as we are able to offer some face-to-face tutoring in the fall.
  • Lydon and O'Leary Libraries will remain closed for patrons. Beginning Sept. 1, students, faculty and staff will be allowed to safely check out and return books on a limited basis. Pickups and returns of Inter Library Loan and UML materials will be available Mondays and Thursdays, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. at Lydon only (North Campus). Visit the Library website for more information.
Engagement on Campus

The university will provide engaging life in the residence halls and limited activities on campus for residential students. The year will kick off with an exciting virtual Welcome Week including New Student Convocation, Engagement Fair and a series of fun activities. The Campus Recreation Center will be open to residential students with equipment safely spaced, outdoor group fitness classes. There will be virtual programs for all students. To view Campus Recreation's fall 2020 program and facility plan, visit www.uml.edu/campusrec.

Students living in the residence halls will have the best access to these experiences in addition to Living and Learning Communities, floor programs and events, and the ability to hang out with other students in common areas. Student Dining has been modified to offer a variety of safe and exciting options including reservations, outdoor dining, the ability to order a full meal on line for pick up, and multiple grab and go options. 

Living on Campus

The Fall 2020 housing model was designed in consultation with medical staff in the Wellness Center and considers local, state and federal recommendations for health and safety. In addition, the model is intended to mitigate risk of contagion, while still maintaining a sense of community and connection among students. Please see the Returning to Housing Guide for further details.

Dining on Campus

University Dining will provide a high-quality dine-in and extensive to-go experiences while considering CDC and state guidelines for health and safety. Dining will take full advantage of multiple modalities of food services and will engage in extensive cleaning and sanitation protocols to ensure food safety and mitigate the risk of contagion.

  • 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.
  • Specialty meals 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 service 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. 

Getting Around Campus

Transportation services may run at reduced capacity to accommodate the current social distancing guidance. The priority for on-campus shuttles services will be focused on connecting students to classes. Student will be encouraged to utilize alternative means to navigate campus if they are able including: walking, biking, skate boarding and using electrically propelled transportation devices. Please note that gas powered vehicles may not be stored in the residence halls.

Tuition, Fees and Charges

We know that now is not the time to increase tuition and fees, so we are lowering costs. On July 20, the UMass Board of Trustees voted to freeze tuition for the 2020-2021 academic year to provide financial relief to students and families. In addition, some student fees will be reduced, including a 50 percent reduction in the student activity fee for the fall semester.

Please note that tuition will not be reduced in the event of a conversion to all remote learning. Regardless of delivery mode, UMass Lowell courses are taught by the same highly qualified faculty, are fully accredited and count equally toward degree requirements. The university’s costs to deliver instruction this fall will be greater due to increased technological resources, reduced classroom and residence hall capacity, regular virus testing and additional cleaning services across campus. Students will be provided the same resources and support services such as academic advising, regardless of modality.

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.  

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 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 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.

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

Testing & Contact Tracing

Testing

UMass Lowell will conduct weekly COVID-19 surveillance testing of its entire residential student population and select cohorts of commuter students, faculty and staff who frequently interact with others 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 doctors 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 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 below.
  • Testing does not replace or reduce the importance of social distancing, wearing face coverings, washing hands, isolation or quarantine.

Students from Non-exempt States: Students coming from or who have travelled to states not on the exempt list in the two weeks prior to arriving on campus:

  • Must move their belongings into their fall assignment. Sign up for move-in time using the Online Housing Gateway
  • Students will be tested upon arrival and will quarantine at the ICC in a single until they receive a negative result. Typically two to four days, hopefully less. 
  • A negative test from prior to arriving on campus will not exempt a student from initial testing and quarantine on campus.
  • If a student receives a positive result they will remain in isolation in the ICC.

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 would be (if requested) 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 be asked to conduct the 14-day symptom assessment review and support the logistics of 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.

Self isolation vs. self quarantining vs. social distancing

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. 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

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. 

Guidance for Students While on Campus

Class and Labs

On-campus courses will be scheduled to allow for time between classes for recommended classroom cleaning protocols, including cleaning and disinfecting of high touch areas. Students may be asked to wipe down spaces they occupy during class. Lab participants will be required to clean their work areas more thoroughly at the end of each class session. Students will be expected to follow social distancing guidelines and wear face coverings while in class, as will faculty. All students and faculty will be expected to follow safety protocols as recommended by the university based on CDC and state guidelines. 

Meals

Before and after eating, you should wash your hands thoroughly to reduce the potential transmission of the virus. If dining on campus, you should wear your  face covering until you are ready to eat and then replace it afterward. Dining establishments are structured to allow at least six feet of distance between each customer, including lines and seating arrangements. Individuals should not sit facing one another. Students are encouraged to take food back to their residence hall rooms, vehicles or to eat outside, if this is reasonable for your situation.

Use of Common Areas/Lounges/Study Areas/Student Spaces

Only use spaces designated as open and follow posted guidelines for use of space. Continue to engage in personal mitigation practices including wearing a face covering and staying six feet or more away from others. Students can reserve designated study spaces.

Student Services

Student services will continue to be provided and many will continue to operate virtually for fall 2020. Select in-person activity may be approved based on social distancing and event gathering guidelines. Individual meetings will continue using online conferencing programs. Small group educational events, like workshops will be delivered virtually. Please visit the website for specific information about delivery of specific services.

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).

Using Restrooms

Maintain social distance and follow posted guidelines. Wash your hands thoroughly afterward to reduce the potential transmission of the virus.  See the “Returning to the Residence Halls” guide for specific information about residence hall common bathroom usage.

Using 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% alcohol upon departing the elevator.

Meetings/Gatherings

Convening in groups may increase the risk of viral transmission. Where feasible, meetings and gatherings of any kind should be held in whole or part using the extensive range of available collaboration tools (e.g. Zoom, WebEx, Microsoft Teams, telephone, etc.).

In person meetings are limited to the restrictions of local, state and federal guidelines. If participating in an in-person meeting or gathering, follow the social distancing expectations of that location/event.  

During your time on campus, you are encouraged to communicate with others by email, instant message, telephone or other available technology rather than face-to-face. You can also use a range of available collaboration tools (e.g. Zoom, WebEx, Microsoft Teams, Jabber, etc.).

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. 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.

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