Yes. Employees can certainly come to campus to retrieve items from their offices or other work locations. This is an individual choice. They should use social distancing practices while on campus.
Updated July 9, 2020
Students choose to attend UMass Amherst not only for the quality of the faculty and the academic programs, but also for the immersive living and learning experience, which offers a wealth of enriching co-curricular and extra-curricular opportunities shared among a diverse group of peers.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the university is now balancing our immersive residential experience with the health and well-being of the entire campus community. Given this situation, campus life will be a different experience in the fall, with all members of the community playing an important role in mitigating the infection and spread of the virus.
Students facing hardship resulting from COVID-19 should contact the Dean of Students Office.
The UMass Agreement
All students coming to campus will be required to sign The UMass Agreement, a commitment to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 on our campus. This agreement emphasizes each student’s role in actively protecting the health and safety of every member of our campus and local communities.
Students are encouraged to limit their travel to the local area. Students who travel outside of a certain mileage range will be required to report their travel and possibly quarantine upon return.
The following portions of the Code of Student Conduct allows for adjudication of alleged violations:
- The university reserves the right to take action based on any student conduct, regardless of location.
- Existing applicable policies:
- Reckless behavior
- Failure to comply
- Disruptive behavior
- Violation of university policies and regulations
Due to the serious impact of breaches to public safety, students can be removed from campus and will continue their education remotely, until their case is completed.
New Students Orientation and Transition Events
New Student Transitions is exploring options for in-person gatherings and activities for small groups. Incoming students will continue to meet in person and virtually with the orientation groups formed over the summer. These transition groups will work to help new students adjust to university life, and will be staffed by resident assistants (RAs), peer mentors (PMs), and others.
- RAs and PMs will be available online and will be part of the transition for first-year students.
- Residential Life anticipates creating micro-communities. First-year students will be assigned to small groups who live together in a residential community. These student groups will explore campus together to find their classes and locate campus resources, and participate in weekly activities to assist them in getting to know each other and transition successfully to campus.
- Graduate student orientation will be available asynchronously on the Graduate School website the first week of August.
- Information about asynchronous and synchronous TA training sessions will also be available on the website by the first week of August.
Residential Life is working to accommodate as many students as possible in the room selection process. It has surveyed students about their willingness to live with a roommate and will make every effort to create as many doubles as our occupancy guidelines allow. The university will confirm the process for room assignments after July 1, 2020.
Residential Academic Programs (RAPs)
- RAP housing will be confirmed when assignments are released. In most cases, RAPs will remain in the designated residence hall, but it is possible some may be relocated.
- RAP courses: If a student held a spot in a RAP and is enrolled in the affiliated RAP course, they can remain in the RAP course even if they are not living on campus.
- With regard to roommates, RAP students will follow the same process outlined for all students.
The Move-In Process
The residence hall move-in process will be spaced out over a multi-day period with very few early arrivals.
- Two family members or helpers per student will be allowed, and all move-in participants must wear a face covering and gloves. Students will be directed to pack much less for their residence hall room and to estimate for 12 weeks of residency rather than the whole year.
- Additional details about fall move-in will be shared as soon as possible.
Life in the Residence Halls
Although residence hall living will look a bit different than it has in the past, we are committed to providing an experience that builds a sense of belonging within our community. Final plans are still being developed and include the following:
- Bathroom cleaning schedules will be managed very differently, including frequent deep cleaning, established bathroom schedules, and posted approved occupancy numbers.
- Pedestrian flow will change to minimize contact, with students required to follow directives for walkways, stairwells, and lounges, and to abide by occupancy restrictions on elevators.
- No guests are allowed until further notice. A guest is defined as someone who does not live in the residence hall. Two family members or helpers can help with move-in and move-out.
- Students will experience limited face-to-face contact with staff and peers.
- Staff will only meet with individuals or small groups; however, they will maximize virtual contact with students.
- Staff support will be on hand for 24/7 operation of the residence halls, including availability of both facilities and residence education staff.
- Security desks will be staffed.
- Services and Service Desk operations will be adjusted. Students should only order essential packages for delivery, such as books and medicine.
- If students have requested fall on-campus housing and are notified that they are not eligible for fall on-campus housing, a plan will be developed to assign on-campus housing for the spring semester. Students who are notified that they are not eligible for fall on-campus housing should only pursue off-campus housing if they plan to live off campus for the entire academic year.
International Students: First-Year and Domestic Exchange
- If a first-year international student is waiting for a VISA, the university will provide on-campus housing when they are able to travel to campus later in the fall.
- Visiting international students enrolled at the university from other colleges via domestic exchange who can come to campus are eligible for on-campus housing.
Remote learning is new for most students. The university will offer regular online workshops about successful remote learning as part of the Student Success Toolkit Series. The Learning Resource Center (LRC) will continue to provide supplemental instruction for the context of remote learning. Additionally, instructors are engaged in teaching and learning resources to best deliver remote courses.
- For fall 2020, the Five College Consortium will be restricted to enrollment in fully remote courses at each of the campuses.
Student Engagement and Leadership
Student Engagement and Leadership will provide quality opportunities for student involvement. Activities and programs will create balance with the rigor of academic pursuits. There will be restrictions on traditional student group activities and programming due to federal, state and university guidelines. Small, in-person meetings and gatherings will be limited, with increased use of virtual platforms for events and meetings.
- Staff will continue to advise, train, and support students involved in Registered Student Organizations (RSOs). Staff will be available by appointment only for face-to-face meetings, and all meetings must follow current social distancing guidelines. Most event planning, training, and RSO support can take place remotely through Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or other formats.
- The university is still evaluating whether student-run businesses can operate in the fall.
- All First Amendment rights will be supported by the university with an emphasis on working with student organizers to educate, strategize, and execute COVID-19 safety protocols to mitigate spread of the virus.
- Greek Life recruitment will be conducted. Most, if not all, chapter programming will be held remotely. Directors and house corporation representatives have been meeting regularly with the university to review and revise house and chapter operations so they are in line with public health. This group is examining occupancy, health precautions, move-in processes, and other aspects of day-to-day operations.
- UMass Athletics is working closely with the NCAA, state, and university authorities to complete plans for programming this fall. Decisions regarding spectators at sporting events have not yet been made.
Off-Campus Student Life
- Given the early start date for the fall semester, if a student’s lease does not begin until September 1, 2020 the student should contact their faculty about missing face-to-face classes for the first two weeks to make needed academic accommodations.
- The university will provide contact tracing, academic support, health services, and counseling services to all students who contract COVID-19, both on and off campus. However, UMass will not provide off-campus students with on-campus isolation and quarantine space.
Cultural and Identity Centers
Cultural Centers and affinity spaces, including the Stonewall Center, Veterans Resource Center, Office of Religious and Spiritual Life, and Men and Masculinities Center, will be open in accordance with public health guidelines for social distancing. All Advocacy, Inclusion, and Support programs will continue to provide programs and services through a mix of in-person and virtual formats.
Disability Support Services
Disability Services will work with students to put accommodations in place before and during the first few weeks of the semester. Students are encouraged to expedite this process by registering with Disability Services between July 1 and August 1 via online registration.
Services available include working with students who need a residence hall room and those who need accommodations due to the shift to remote learning.
To register with Disability Services:
- Submit this intake form online.
- Scan documentation to Box at UMass and share with firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Students will receive a confirmation email to set up an appointment.
Wellness Support Services
The Center for Counseling and Psychological Health (CCPH) is in the process of developing special services for students during this challenging time. To ensure safety and accessibility, CCPH will continue to offer teletherapy throughout the fall 2020 semester. Additionally, students will have daily opportunities to speak with a counselor for both urgent and routine concerns. For the most up-to-date information, visit the CCPH website.
Additional virtual opportunities will be offered to cultivate healthy habits and develop mental health and wellbeing strategies, including the following:
- Koru Mindfulness Course (free): Koru Mindfulness offers an introduction to mindfulness in everyday life. In this free, four-session course open to all students, you will learn the skill of mindfulness and build the habit of using it on a regular basis. Beyond simply decreasing your stress, this course offers an approach for finding greater satisfaction in your daily life.
- Positivity and Relaxation Training (1-credit course): This nine-week program, based out of the Benson Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine, helps participants develop a self-care routine to manage stress, improve their outlook, and enhance quality of life. It teaches participants a variety of mind-body practices and self-care interventions.
- Peer Health – Educational Workshops in RAPS: These one-hour workshops are delivered to first- year students on wellbeing via peer health coaches. They serve as an entry to other wellbeing opportunities and trainings.
Campus Recreation will take a phased approach to reopening, with services, activities, events, and access to facilities dependent on restrictions in place during the fall. We are committed to offering creative online and in-person ways for students to remain physically active. Possibilities include outdoor group fitness to allow a greater numbers of participants while maintaining physical distancing guidelines. We will stream fitness classes live through IM Leagues and offer special online tournaments and challenges.
The Recreation Center will be open and activities that comply with public health guidelines will be allowed. Safety measures will include capacity restrictions; elimination of activities that require physical person-to-person contact or touching the same equipment without sanitizing (e.g., pick-up basketball); limits to pool usage; and restriction of locker room use.
It is unlikely that Club Sport teams will travel in the fall. We will await guidance on best practices from organizations such as the National Intramural and Recreation Sport Association to determine these decisions. Workouts and team activities that adhere to safety guidelines for the campus will be encouraged.
The Mount Ida Campus
Students who either do not have access to the main campus in Amherst or are seeking a residential option beyond the main campus may apply for housing on the Mount Ida Campus in Newton, Mass. All health and safety protocols on the main campus will be in effect in Newton, but the total residential population will be limited by available housing to less than 500 students. All courses beyond essential face-to-face courses for on-site programs (e.g., Veterinary Technology) will be offered remotely. For more information, visit the Mount Ida Campus website.
Center for Early Education and Care (CEEC)
The CEEC hopes to reopen in mid-July, though no official date has been set. When the date is finalized, CEEC will contact families and update the community.
The center will follow all state, local, and university guidelines for child care centers, including extensive cleaning and enhanced health and safety protocols. Parents and families will receive guidance on new policies and procedures in advance of the center’s opening.