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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.

Student Returning to Campus Guide

UMass Lowell is committed to keeping our community safe while providing high quality education and services to our students. This guide provides information for all students. 

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.

Classes, Labs & Instruction

Closeup on woman's hands typing on laptop placed on crosslegged legs

As in the fall, we will continue to operate classes safely according the latest guidance from state health officials. We are anticipating that up to 30% of courses for both graduate and undergraduate students will be scheduled to be taught in-person or in hybrid mode, which is a mix of in-person and virtual (both synchronous and asynchronous remote learning). Most labs and studio courses will be taught in-person with lecture and recitation courses taking on a variety of learning modalities. 

  • Labs, clinicals and studios will operate to ensure six-foot social distancing can be maintained.
  • Instructional spaces will be cleaned daily; students and instructors should clean personal surfaces before and after each use with cleaning kits supplied in each room.
  • A virtual component will be created for every course such that students will have the option to build a schedule with 100% remote learning.
  • All classrooms will be equipped with technology for lecture capture/livestreaming (video and audio).
If you need to engage in all of your courses virtually for any reason, please submit the Learn from Anywhere form.

Students Will Need

A computer, webcam, earbuds or headphone with a microphone and reliable internet access; computer loans will be made to those in need. Students are expected to bring their own face coverings to be worn in classroom, laboratory and common spaces. 

Criteria for Return to All Remote Learning

UMass Lowell will continue to follow the guidance of public health authorities and state officials and revert to all virtual learning if deemed necessary to protect the safety of our community. Instructors will be prepared to take any course to an all-online format.

Academic Support Services

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

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

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

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

Thesis and Dissertation Defenses: Defenses will take place virtually.

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

Student Services

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Health Services is available by phone, with exceptions for services that require in-person contact such as immunizations. 

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

Residence Life is open with modified housing occupancy. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 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.

Guidance for Students While on Campus

Socially distanced students in masks sit in the grass on campus Photo by Ed Brennen

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.

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.).

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

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

How We Keep Our Community Safe

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

Personal Prevention Practices - Protect Yourself, Protect Others

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

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

Social Distancing

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

  • Stay at least six feet (about two arms length) from other people at all times
  • Do not gather in groups
  • Stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings
  • Follow the state Stay-at-Home Advisory, which instructs residents to stay home between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. except for work or critical errands.
  • In accordance with current guidelines, usage of common spaces including lounges and public floor kitchens may be limited – we will display signage indicating if the space is closed or open. If open, additional information about maximum occupancy will be specified based on current guidelines.  
  • Students will be encouraged to engage virtually with fellow residents, friends, and family members by using technologies like FaceTime and Google Meet. 

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

Face Coverings

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

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

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

Handwashing

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

Coughing/Sneezing Hygiene

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

Personal Disinfection

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

Stay at Home When You Are Sick

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

Symptom Monitoring Requirements

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

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

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

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

Take the COVID-19 Self Checker

Testing

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

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

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

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

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

Contact Tracing

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

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

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