FAQ

What happens if an employee becomes ill while working from an alternative site?

Should employees become ill or otherwise be unavailable to perform work, they are required to enter accrued time for absences from work duties during those times and notifying their supervisor.

Will the campus allow designated onsite employees who are parents or caregivers time off from work to care for sick family members with COVID-19?

Designated onsite employees who are healthy but whose family members are home sick with COVID-19 should contact central Human Resources at 413-687-2283 or Covid19HR@umass.edu, and they will contact public health officials for guidance on conducting a risk assessment of their potential exposure. A designated onsite employee may be entitled to take leave to care for a family member who is ill under applicable policy and collective bargaining agreement provisions.

If I work off campus at a remote location, what guidance do I follow?

Employees working remote will follow the measures announced in the communication from Chancellor Subbaswamy released on March 13, 2020. This applies in Amherst, the Mount Ida Campus in Newton and at the UMass Center in Springfield.

If someone is not an on-site employee, can they come to campus to gather materials from their workplace?

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.

What is the University’s policy regarding gatherings and events on campus?

All on-campus activity, including gatherings and events, is severely limited, and most students and employees are no longer on campus. On March 23, Governor Charlie Baker issued an order prohibiting gatherings of over 10 people.

  • Regardless of size, all external events (with outside vendors and non-UMass guests) are canceled.
     
  • All gatherings – meetings or other events – with more than 10 participants scheduled to be held on campus must be held virtually, postponed or canceled.
     
  • Attendance at all off-site events with more than 10 participants is prohibited. Virtual participation is allowed.
     
  • Regardless of whether an event or gathering falls within this scope all persons are urged to maintain social distancing (six feet away from other people) whenever possible and to continue to wash hands, utilize hand sanitizer and practice proper respiratory etiquette.

Is UMass Amherst conducting research related to COVID-19?

Yes, as a top national research institution, the university has projects under way that can help the world respond to the spread of the coronavirus. For example, urgent research Is investigating whether health care providers can safely reuse protective face masks, which could slow the COVID-19 pandemic and ease a critical equipment shortage endangering medical workers and patients worldwide. For this and other research stories, visit www.umass.edu/newsoffice.

How does the university provide support when a member of the UMass community has a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19?

The University works closely with local and state public health departments to identify UMass Amherst community members who test positive for COVID-19.  Officials proceed to:

  1. Obtain details about the person’s symptoms, locations on campus and close contacts
  2. Conduct a risk assessment to determine an action plan. This may include providing a recommendation about self-isolation and providing related assistance, as well as notifying individuals or groups who were in close contact.
  3. Evaluate specific locations where the person spent time on campus to initiate cleaning and disinfection in accordance with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

How does UMass follow up with people who were in close contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19?

We initiate efforts to reduce the risk of transmission, which includes identifying UMass Amherst community members who were in close contact with the person who tested positive and mapping their movement on campus. Close contact is defined as being within approximately 6 feet of a person with confirmed COVID-19 for a prolonged period of time, or having direct contact with infectious secretions of a COVID-19 case (e.g., being coughed on) without wearing personal protective equipment. Individuals in close contact within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms will be contacted by health officials and given instructions. Close contacts may include roommates, coworkers, instructional faculty, classmates and building occupants.

If you are not notified as being in close contact, you do not need to take any action beyond those recommended for all members of our community to protect themselves against COVID-19. These measures include practicing good hygiene and social distancing, monitoring your health, and staying home if you’re sick.

If you are a UMass Amherst community member and believe you may have been exposed to COVID-19, or if you are experiencing fever, cough or shortness of breath, please stay in your residence and call the UHS Triage Nurse at 413-577-5229 for guidance.

What strategies will be used to mitigate the spread of COVID-19?

Seven core actions are being implemented: required education for all; daily self-screening for all; enhanced cleaning; increased testing and tracing capabilities; arranging for high-risk individuals to study and work remotely; increased mental health support; and use of face coverings and physical distancing.

When I arrive on campus, what preventive public health measures will be in place?

(Updated July 31, 2020) Key prevention measures include:

  • Students will be required to make a promise to respect social distancing and other public health practices.
  • Face coverings are required indoors in nearly all circumstances. Facemasks are required outdoors when social distancing is not possible.
  • Appropriate barriers — plexiglass and other similar materials — will be established in high-volume areas.
  • Sanitation and cleaning will be enhanced in buildings throughout the campus, and adequate hand sanitizer products will be made available in all common spaces (lobbies, lounges, academic learning centers and classrooms).
  • Residence halls, workplaces, meeting rooms and research laboratories will have modified occupancy.

What is the Daily Screening?

Faculty, staff and students must conduct symptom self-monitoring every day before coming to campus or leaving their residence hall room. Students (on or off campus) will be required to use the COVID-19 symptom checklist through University Health Services’ secure patient portal (Medicat Connect). Faculty and staff can use the My UMass app.

Who gets tested for COVID-19 and when?

(Updated Aug. 7, 2020) Our screening and testing strategy is designed to mitigate community spread through early identification. We plan on testing all students, whether living on or off campus, prior to their arrival or shortly after their arrival on campus or to the Amherst area. We will conduct twice a week surveillance testing of all students living in residence halls as well as off-campus students who have face-to-face classes. To further monitor the off-campus population, and students in residence halls, we will conduct additional adaptive testing of specific populations as recommended by our epidemiology advisory group. 

Symptomatic monitoring and testing will occur throughout the semester. Individuals with even minimal symptoms will be promptly tested by University Health Services. Students will conduct a daily self-screening, and those with any COVID-19 symptoms, living either on or off-campus, will be expected to report them. Close contact exposure to a COVID-19 positive individual will also be promptly tested. Infection rates will be monitored on campus and in the surrounding communities.

Does UMass have a contact tracing program?

Yes, to determine the risk of potential exposure to others on campus the UMass Public Health Team will conduct contact tracing per Massachusetts Department of Public Health guidelines on any individual who has tested positive. The team will have a dedicated phone number and caller ID, and it will actively promote its “Answer the Call” program to protect the UMass community.

What’s the difference between isolation and quarantine?

(Updated Aug. 18, 2020) The Centers for Disease Control define isolation as separating sick people with a contagious disease (such as COVID-19) from people who are not sick, and quarantine as separating and restricting the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick.

Learn more about planning for isolation and quarantine in the Isolation and Quarantine Planning Guide For Students.

What happens if a student or their friends test positive for COVID-19?

All students living on campus are required to have an isolation and quarantine plan. For students who can travel in a private vehicle, we strongly recommend isolation and quarantine in the comfort of your own home. For students living on-campus who cannot travel home, the university has set aside dedicated isolation and quarantine space. Those students will be provided food and essential items.

All students living off campus will be strongly encouraged to have an isolation and quarantine plan. The university will provide support services in your off-campus location or at your home. The university will not provide on-campus isolation and quarantine space.

What support do students get if they are in isolation or quarantine?

UMass is committed to supporting all students during any required isolation and quarantine. This includes contact tracing, academic support, health services and counseling services. All students in isolation and quarantine, both on- and off-campus, will receive a daily wellness call.

How will face-to-face instruction be conducted?

(Updated July 31, 2020) The occupancy of classrooms will be modified to maintain social distancing, including assigned seating where appropriate. Before the start of each class, students and faculty must wipe down their chairs and any other commonly touched surfaces. Everyone in the classroom is required to wear face coverings. There is no eating or drinking in class. An educational video is being produced that will detail the public health measures in place for classrooms and laboratories.

How will you reduce density in classrooms?

Classrooms and study spaces will have diagrams depicting the reduced seating capacity for each space, including designated areas for instructors and required space between students to ensure appropriate social distancing. Room locations for some courses may be reassigned to meet public health standards. Signs will be posted to explain appropriate ways to enter and exit, as well as reminders about preventive health practices.

How will graduate-level courses be taught?

All graduate-level courses (600-700-level) will be offered remotely unless identified essential by colleges or departments. Some graduate programs may offer their entire curriculum remotely. Dissertation and thesis defenses will be conducted remotely. Questions about registration and enrollment should be directed to the Graduate School’s student service center, and international graduate students should contact the International Programs Office with questions related to visas, travel and employment.

What is the “UMass Agreement”?

(Updated July 21, 2020) As adults and good citizens, we believe our students will rise to the occasion as we educate them about the risks of COVID-19 in our setting. All students returning to campus will be required to sign the “UMass Amherst Community Agreement: A Personal Commitment to Protect the Health and Safety of Our Community." Students must sign the agreement by July 31.

This social contract emphasizes each student’s commitment to actively protect the health and safety of every member of our campus and local communities. The Code of Student Conduct allows for adjudication of alleged violations, and students can be removed from campus and will continue their education remotely until their case is completed.

Can I take time off?

(Updated Aug. 18, 2020)

To maintain active status at the university, students are required to be enrolled in at least one course.

New undergraduate (first-year and transfer) students who choose to withdraw from the university prior to the first day of classes will need to re-enroll to enter during a future semester. To cancel fall course enrollments and withdraw from the university, new undergraduate students should email Fall2020Withdrawal@registrar.umass.edu with their SPIRE ID number and state their intention to withdraw.

The Application for Re-enrollment is due Oct. 15, 2020 to re-enter in Spring 2021 and March 15, 2021 to return in Fall 2021.  The Re-enrollment Fee of $60 will be waived for on-time applications received from undergraduate students who were admitted for Fall 2020.

Continuing undergraduate students (students who entered before Fall 2020) can withdraw from the university by completing the End of Term Withdrawal section in Spire now, and by submitting an Application for Re-enrollment by Oct. 15, 2020 if they wish to enroll in Spring 2021, or March 15, 2021 for Fall 2021. Advising about course selection for continuing undergraduate students will begin in October for the Spring 2021 semester. Academic advisors and Financial Aid staff can assist students as they consider plans for timely degree completion. Continuing students who withdrew from the university between July 1, 2020 and Aug. 24, 2020 will be eligible for a fee waiver if they re-enroll prior to March 15, 2021.

Will students from out of state need to self-quarantine?

(Updated Sept. 8, 2020) The Commonwealth of Massachusetts requires travelers arriving to Massachusetts to self-quarantine for 14 days. Travelers from Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming.are exempt from these restrictions as are individuals who produce a negative COVID-19 test result that has been administered up to 72 hours prior to their arrival in Massachusetts.  

All travelers must also complete the Massachusetts Travel Form prior to arrival.

If I cancel my Fall 2020 assignment will there be a cancellation fee?

Current Students can cancel their Fall 2020 assignment for NO FEE through July 12 at 11:59 p.m.  After this time, we will return to the normal cancellation fee schedule:

  • Students who contact our office to cancel between July 13 and July 31 at 5:00 p.m. will be subject to the $400 Cancellation Fee Schedule
  • Students who cancel from July 31 at 5 p.m. through opening week will be subject to the $500 Cancellation fee schedule.

New Students: After July 7 at noon, new students can cancel their assignment with no fee until July 30 at 5 p.m. by emailing living@umass.edu and requesting a cancellation of their preferences.  Students who contact Residential Life to cancel after July 30 at 5 p.m. will be subject to the $200 New Student Cancellation Fee. 

How will the UMass Agreement be enforced?

(Added July 22, 2020) The UMass Agreement relies on each member of the campus community doing their part to protect the health and wellbeing of themselves and others. University staff will provide guidance, education, and reminders of the expectations outlined in the Agreement; students are empowered to serve as active bystanders, helping others to remember their responsibility to the community. The Agreement is meant to provide expectations for safe and appropriate behavior in line with state, local, and university guidelines; behaviors that elevate to public health risk will be addressed through the conduct process.

Can I leave campus?

(Added July 22, 2020) Students living on campus are free to travel off campus. As stated in the Agreement, the expectation is that students limit their travel to trips tending to necessary university business, work, shopping, meal pick-up, health care, outdoor activities, or other personal business. Travel outside of the Amherst area may require you to quarantine upon return to campus.

Why do I need to get a flu vaccine?

(Added July 22, 2020) Because many of the symptoms for the flu overlap with those related to COVID-19, we are asking that all students agree to a flu vaccine when they become available this fall. By preventing the development of flu-related symptoms, you can avoid quarantine.

How long does the UMass Agreement last?

(Added July 22, 2020) This Agreement is part of our fall 2020 reopening plan. All students planning to be on campus either to live or to access physical resources in the fall semester must sign this document. We expect state and local guidance to evolve as the year continues. If it is necessary to have the same or similar Agreement in place beyond fall 2020, the document will be updated and students will be prompted to sign again.

Will the cost of testing be covered by the university?

(Added July 22, 2020) Surveillance testing will not be charged to students; the university assumes the cost of all surveillance testing. Symptomatic testing and testing for individuals in close contact to someone who has tested positive is covered by insurance.

What happens if I don’t sign the UMass Agreement?

(Added July 22, 2020) Students who decline to sign the Agreement ,or don’t take any action by July 31, 2020, acknowledge that their decision could prevent them from living on campus, enrolling in or attending face-to-face classes, and accessing dining facilities and other on-campus events, programs, and services.

Can I still come to campus if I am a first-year international undergraduate or graduate student?

Yes, new international students may still come to campus if visa and travel conditions allow. Please contact your IPO advisor with any questions. 

All of my courses are remote, but I am involved in research in a lab on campus. Will I be able to live on campus and do my research project as planned?

Yes, if you are included in an approved Research & Libraries Operating Plan (RLOP). Typically, your advisor would include you in the plan for their laboratory. Here’s more information on the requirement.

All of my courses are remote, but I am involved in research in a lab on campus. I also live off campus. Can I come to campus and do my research project as planned?

Yes, if you are included in an approved Research & Libraries Operating Plan (RLOP). 

I am not doing an honors thesis or independent study research in a research lab, but I am working there as an employee. How does that affect my situation?

Anyone in campus research laboratories or other research facilities must be included in a Research & Libraries Operating Plan (RLOP). If a faculty member includes you in an approved RLOP as an employee, and you are designated by your supervisor to Human Resources as an essential on campus employee, then you can come to campus to work in the lab.

Who is allowed to live on campus for fall 2020?

Students who previously held an assignment and are enrolled for in-person classes for fall are invited to live on campus. Students with extenuating circumstances who submit the Permission to Live on Campus Request and are approved may also live on campus this fall.

Will previously charged fall housing cancellation fees be waived?

Yes, all housing cancellation fees for fall 2020 will be waived. 

I have been storing my belongings with Dorm Room Movers since March. Is the university going to compensate these additional storage fees incurred?

The university will not be reimbursing students for storage fees.

How will room selection work for the spring?

More information on this process will be provided at a later time.

What will be the cost of living on campus?

All spaces for fall will be billed the standard shared room rate. Students selecting into break housing (North B ONLY) will be billed an additional break housing fee. Students should not select break housing unless they have no other option for winter break housing.

What does the transition to remote learning mean for my RAP?

If you are in a RAP and enrolled in the affiliated RAP course, you can remain in the RAP course regardless of where you are living. 

Is the UMass Amherst Community Agreement still in effect?

Yes, the UMass Amherst Community Agreement is still in effect. Adhering to public health guidance is one of the best ways to remain healthy.

Is there still a restriction on guests in the residence halls?

To deter the spread of COVID-19, no guests are allowed in residence halls 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.

Will there be residential staff to support students who are living on campus?

Yes, residential life staff will be on campus to support the residential population. Most interactions with staff will be conducted remotely.

Will there be Residence Hall Security?

Residence Hall Security will remain in place through our card access and desk monitoring systems.

Will there be micro-communities as outlined in the opening report?

Micro-communities – known as My C.R.U. (My Campus Remote Unit) – will now be created online (My Campus Remote Unit) for all new students. These online groups will be led by Residence Education staff trained to help support students, connect them to campus resources, and facilitate engagement with one another.

What does CRU stand for?

My Campus Remote Units, or My CRUs, are micro-communities created online for all new students. These online groups will be led by Residence Education staff trained to help support students, connect them to campus resources, and facilitate engagement with one another.

Will students receive the same amount of support they would have if they were living in the residence halls?

Peer leaders and university staff will still provide a high level of support to students through continuous engagement, individual interactions, and opportunities to connect with one another through their My C.R.U. groups. More information will be forthcoming about how students will participate.

How will students make connections with other students and engage with one another?

Students will have engagement opportunities through virtual activities, their My C.R.U. groups, and through connection with their student leaders.

Will there be activities available throughout the semester?

Yes, students will have opportunities to take part in campus activities through My C.R.U., Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) and other campus departments and groups. For more information, students should follow the Virtual Student Life calendar.

Will I still have to pay the Student Activities Trust Fund fee (SATF) if there are no in person events?

Yes, the SATF fee is still in effect. SATF is managed and allocated by the Student Government Association (SGA). SGA advocates for and represents the voice of all undergraduate students while working to add value to the overall student experience. The university is committed to providing a rich and engaging experience for all students, whether they are living on campus or accessing programs and services remotely from across the country and around the globe.

For fall 2020, all events will be virtual to provide a variety of activities and engagement opportunities that meet and exceed current public safety standards. All programs and services are being adapted to meet the needs of students and provide a rich student engagement experience.

Will RSOs be active at UMass this fall?

Yes, RSOs will remain active during remote instruction. Events, meetings and trainings will all take place virtually.

Will RSOs be able to meet on campus?

No, all student organizations will use virtual mediums to conduct meetings.

Will Student Businesses open?

Student Businesses will not be active for in-person services and goods. The Student Businesses will explore possibilities to move to a virtual format.

Will fraternities and sororities be active?

Yes, fraternities and sororities will be virtually active. Recruitment activities will be remote as outlined by the national organization and the university.

Will the cultural centers, Stonewall Center, Center for Women and Community, CMASS, and other programs and supports from Advocacy, Inclusion, and Support be available?

Yes, all these programs and services will be available in virtual formats.

How will students learn about academic resources?

Students will learn about academic resources in their courses, through their My C.R.U. groups, and through the 40 Days of UMass website.

Will Campus Recreation be open?

(Updated Aug. 7, 2020) As in spring 2020, Campus Recreation will continue to offer expanded remote programs such as virtual workouts, workouts of the day, yoga, and online gaming competitions. Join some of your favorite campus recreation instructors to stay moving and stay fit. Visit www.umass.edu/campusrec/VirtualCampusRec for more information.

How will I connect with other students?

Residential Life staff will facilitate virtual C.R.U (Campus Remote Units). Within small groups, students will have a structure for checking in with each other weekly, sharing how you are doing, taking a wellbeing assessment, setting a plan for wellbeing, and checking in with your CRU weekly on maintaining these activities.

Will mental health services be available?

The Center for Counseling and Psychological Health (CCPH) has set up an infrastructure that allows remote access to all CCPH services (groups, workshops, psychiatry and individual therapy). For more information about regular services and special programs available to support your mental health, visit: www.umass.edu/counseling/

Are Disability Services available?

Students can book fall accommodations appointments with their Consumer Manager via their Zoom invitation Monday-Friday from 1 to 4 p.m. beginning Monday, August 3. Please check your UMass email for all correspondence from our office. You can reach our staff via email directly, if needed. We continue to provide all services remotely to keep the campus community healthy and safe. Visit www.umass.edu/disability/

What is happening with Family Weekend?

Family Weekend will run virtually from Oct 16-18. More information will be available at a later date at familyweekend@umass.edu.

Will financial aid be adjusted if I choose to live at home?

Students electing to live at home or with a parent or guardian will have a reduced cost of attendance and will potentially see a reduction in need-based aid. The reason for the reduction is that a student’s financial aid award is based on the projected yearly cost of attendance, which includes approximately $14,000 for the standard double room and meal plan. Students living at home or with a parent or guardian will incur these expenses at a lower amount and will have a lower overall cost of attendance. 

In most cases, the maximum reduction in fall 2020 university-funded need based aid due to residing at home is $1,500 for the fall semester. Students receiving both merit-based and need-based awards could see a greater reduction in grant aid due to the reduced cost of attendance. Total aid may not exceed the cost of attendance. In these cases, loan and work-study would be reduced prior to grant reduction.

Students’ merit-based awards will not be adjusted in fall 2020 based on where a student resides. Notice of merit-based awards were detailed in students' acceptance letters from the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. These awards include the Flagship Award and Dean’s Scholarship for in-state students and the Chancellor’s Award for nonresidents. No other merit scholarships, either awarded by the university or from non-university sources, will be affected. 

Additional information about Financial Aid Services can be found at www.umass.edu/umfa/.

Will I see adjustments in any other fees?

Generally, no. Tuition and fee are the same regardless of modality.

Can I get a refund if I already purchased my student parking permit for the fall and no longer need it?

Yes. Return your permit to UMass Parking Services, 51 Forestry Way, Amherst MA 01003. Parking Services will issue you a full refund for that permit until October 1, 2020. All refunds will be issued through the Bursar's Office and applied to any unpaid balance. Any remaining credit will be available through the student's Excess Express account.

Will meal plans change for the fall 2020?

To provide additional dining access, 25 YCMP swipes will be added to all residential meal plans this fall. If the YCMP swipes are not used, they will expire at the end of the fall semester.

If students are taking classes remotely and living off campus, will they still be able to come to campus and use a meal plan to eat?

(Updated Aug. 24, 2020) Only students who are enrolled in essential face-to-face classes, including laboratory, studio and capstone courses, which have been designated in SPIRE, will be able to purchase a meal plan for use in residential locations, Dining Commons, and retail locations including the Blue Wall, Harvest Market and BabyBerk food trucks.

Off-campus students facing food insecurity or certain other situations may apply to be considered for an off-campus meal plan exception. 

 

What dining locations are open this fall?

(Updated Aug. 7, 2020) More information about dining locations that will be open this fall will be available soon

Will pricing be adjusted since dining options are modified due to COVID-19?

(Updated Aug. 7, 2020) Meal plan pricing will not be reduced due to COVID-19.

If a residential student is exposed to COVID-19 and has to quarantine, how will they get meals?

Students isolated or quarantined due to COVID-19 will receive prepared meals delivered to their housing location. Additionally, if a student has an allergy and is quarantined or isolated, dining services will provide meals that are in line with medical needs or dietary preferences.

If a student becomes ill with COVID-19, will a refund be provided for any unused meal plan?

We will accommodate refunds similar to a medical withdrawal as needed.

I still have a housing and/or meal plan charge on my account. When will these be removed?

(Updated Aug. 7, 2020) The Bursar’s Office is working with the Residential Life Office to update student accounts. Housing and meal plan charges for students with no face-to-face classes will be automatically canceled before the start of the semester.

I canceled housing and will be studying remotely. Do I have to cancel the meal plan or will it automatically be credited?

Your meal plan will be cancelled with your housing cancellation.  Your tuition account should reflect both changes before the start of the semester.

Will PVTA buses be running?

PVTA buses will run on a reduced schedule with health and social distancing guidelines in effect.

Does the updated plan apply to remote-only students on the Mount Ida Campus?

No. Due to the unique conditions on the Mount Ida Campus – including its small student population and testing capacity – remote-only students who have already applied for and received a housing assignment on the Mount Ida Campus will still be provided housing for fall 2020. However, due to the uncertainty of the moment, we ask that you remain flexible and monitor your email for any updates, as fall planning for the Mount Ida Campus will continue to adjust to updated public health data and state and local guidance.

Will off-campus students have access to University Health Services?

Yes, both on and off campus students who have medical needs, including symptomatic testing, can get services at UHS.

Will students living in the Amherst area be able to access campus?

Students registered for essential face-to-face classes will be able to access UMass Dining and campus facilities required for academic coursework. Students living off-campus and not enrolled in face-to-face courses will not need to access campus as all programming will be remote. All students, however, will have access to University Health Services.

Will the UMass Amherst Community Agreement still apply to students living off campus?

Students who were planning to live in the Amherst area this fall are strongly urged, unless they have face-to-face instruction, to remain home and engage in their studies from there. Any students remaining in the Amherst area must abide by the UMass Amherst Community Agreement as well as the Code of Student Conduct.

What support can the university provide to students who have signed off-campus leases for fall?

Leases are private agreements between tenants and landlords. Students can explore options with property managers and may consult the Student Legal Services Office for guidance.

I already started my payment plan for the fall 2020 semester but now will not be living on campus. How do I edit my payment plan or receive a refund?

(Added Aug. 7, 2010) Any student who has already enrolled in a payment plan can adjust that plan through QuikPAY.  Changes made before August 10 will be adjusted in the first installment. Changes made after August 10 will be reflected in the remaining four installments.

The Office of the Bursar is also reaching out to all students  who are enrolled in a payment plan with information.

Will off-campus students be able to access the Recreation Center?

(Updated Aug. 10, 2020) At this time, it is expected that the Recreation Center will be closed to everyone, including students living on and off campus.

What is the difference between asymptomatic and symptomatic testing?

Asymptomatic testing is conducted upon return to campus and then throughout the semester, as a way to identify COVID-19 in people who are not showing any symptoms of the disease. This service is conducted at the Mullins Center and is provided free of charge for those students, faculty or staff designated as eligible for the program.

Symptomatic testing is conducted when a campus community member has any symptoms, even mild ones, of COVID-19. This testing is conducted at University Health Services and your insurance will be billed for this testing. All on- or off-campus students, faculty or staff, regardless if they come to campus, are eligible for this testing.

Who is part of the UMass Amherst asymptomatic testing program?

(Updated Sept. 10, 2020)

 For Students

  • Students who reside on campus are required to be tested twice a week. In addition, off-campus students coming to campus for face-to-face classes, research labs or work are also required to be tested twice a week.
  • Undergraduate students who live in the Amherst area and are not coming to campus for classes are strongly encouraged to get tested twice a week.  We ask that you take us up on this offer for free testing.
  • Graduate students who live in the Amherst area and are not coming to campus for classes are strongly encouraged to get tested weekly. These students also have the option to be tested twice a week.

Please note that the Amherst area is defined as Amherst, Hadley, Sunderland, Belchertown, Pelham, Shutesbury and Leverett.

 

For Faculty and Staff

  • Faculty who are teaching or conducting research on campus are required to be tested weekly.
  • Clinical faculty who are working in healthcare facilities or University Health Services staff who are providing in-person healthcare are required to be tested twice weekly.
  • Staff who regularly work on campus are required to be tested weekly.

 

What are the eligibility restrictions for asymptomatic testing?

Faculty and staff who work primarily remotely are not eligible for asymptomatic testing. However, they can receive symptomatic testing at University Health Services. Also, family members of faculty, staff or students are not eligible for asymptomatic testing.

Who is conducting the asymptomatic testing?

Asymptomatic test collection operations at the Mullins Center are being conducted through a joint effort of the College of Nursing students and faculty, Environmental Health and Safety, and University Health Services. The test samples are then sent to the Broad Institute in Cambridge, which conducts the analysis.

What type of asymptomatic test is being used?

SARS-CoV-2 Real-time Reverse Transcriptase (RT)-PCR Diagnostic Assay is a real-time RT-PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test intended for the detection of the SARS-CoV-2 in nasal swabs collected from individuals who may have contracted the virus.

When is the Mullins Center testing site open for asymptomatic testing?

(Updated Sept. 10, 2020) The Public Health Promotion Center (PHPC) at the Mullins Center is open or asymptomatic testing. Testing takes place from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

This testing site is only for students living on or off campus in the Amherst area and for faculty and staff working on campus.

How can I schedule an asymptomatic test?

(Updated Sept. 10, 2020) Visit the Campus Health Hub and select “Book an Appointment” (NOTE: If you receive a message that says: Currently you are not registered as part of the program”, click the link that says Please Fill Out This Form, then fill out the form. You may now book your appointment.) Click “Walk-In at Mullins Center or Drive Up at Mullins Center." Choose the date and click next and Select an appointment.

If you are getting tested routinely, we recommend you schedule for the same day/time each week. If you are getting tested twice a week, we want you to be on a Monday/Thursday or Tuesday/Friday schedule.

Is drive-through testing available?

(Updated Sept. 10, 2020) Yes, drive-through testing is available during certain days of the week. Visit the Campus Health Hub for the days and times drive-through testing is open.

The testing is done in the back parking lot of the Mullins Center, which is accessible from Massachusetts Avenue to Mullins Way (passing the Central Heating Plant). You will stay in your car, provide your ID and demographic information to the staff, and then be provided a labeled kit and observed swabbing your nose. You will exit the same way that you arrived.

Testing is only for asymptomatic (people not experiencing symptoms of COVID-19) testing of UMass Amherst students living on and off campus in the Amherst area, and for faculty and staff working on campus.

Are COVID-19 test results confidential?

Yes, your results are completely confidential. We will share our testing data with the Broad Institute in Cambridge, which is supplying the test kits and completing the results. Through the state’s Maven system, the UMass Amherst Department of Public Health will have access to these results as required by Massachusetts state law. The UMass Amherst Public Health department will conduct case investigations and contact tracing per state guidelines.

Do I need to self-isolate or quarantine while waiting for my COVID-19 test results?

In some cases, yes, but in general no.

Yes: If you have just come to campus from any of the states that Massachusetts has deemed as at higher risk, AND you have not been tested prior to arriving on campus., then you need to quarantine until you are tested twice. See travel details and information. If you are being tested at University Health Services because you have any symptoms, even mild ones, then you need to isolate in your room until you get your results.


No: If you are part of the university’s routine asymptomatic testing program and are getting tested once or twice a week, then you do not need to quarantine while you await your test results.

Why is UMass Amherst requiring the PCR test and not accepting the rapid response antigen test?

Research demonstrates that the PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test is more reliable than the rapid response antigen test.

Do students have to have their UMass ID to get a COVID-19 test?

Yes.

What do I need to bring with me when I’m getting tested for COVID-19? Can I bring a parent/guardian/friend for support?

You should bring your student or employee ID. You cannot bring a friend or family member with you, but if you have a student or co-worker who also needs testing you can schedule your tests for the same time slot and go together.

How long will my COVID-19 asymptomatic testing appointment take?

The registration and testing process should take under five minutes.

How do minors give consent to be tested for COVID-19?

All students who are under 18 must complete this form in order to get tested. Please fill it out, have your parent or guardian sign it, and bring it with you when you come for testing.

Can I get a COVID-19 test on my own before I come to campus?

You are encouraged to get one PCR test within 72 hours before arriving to campus. If you are from one of the higher risk states this will allow you to go directly to your residence and then get your second test two to three days later.

I plan to get tested for COVID-19 off campus. What happens if I get my test conducted in the 72-hour window before my arrival, but I have not yet received my result?

You will need to be quarantined on campus until we receive those results and the results of your on-campus testing.

I need to reschedule my COVID-19 test. How do I do that?

If you missed your scheduled test, simply go to the UMass Health Hub app and schedule another one for the next available slot. If you are a student getting tested twice a week, we recommend you stay on a Monday/Thursday or Tuesday/Friday schedule.

If I have already tested positive for COVID-19 prior to move-in, do I still need to be tested?

If you have tested positive for COVID-19 within 90 days of coming to campus, please bring a copy of the results. You will not require testing until it has been 90 days since your last positive test.

Who do I contact if I have a question about asymptomatic COVID-19 testing?

Students, faculty and staff can email testing@umass.edu with questions related to asymptomatic testing at the Mullins Center. Please be aware this email is not for private health information, but for logistical or technical help with the testing process.

How are the UMass Amherst Libraries operating this fall?

(Added Sept. 17, 2020) The Libraries’ facilities will remain closed through the fall term, and continue to provide our services remotely, supporting the UMass community through online services and access to resources, including our extensive collections of electronic databases, e-journals, e-books and specialized digitized materials.  

Interlibrary Loan and the Library Express service (direct mailing of select materials to U.S. addresses), can facilitate access to materials not available online, and UMass faculty, students, and staff can pick up library materials at the Du Bois or Science Libraries through contactless pickupPrinting by appointment is available for on-campus students at the Science and Engineering Library. 

For questions related to specific research needs and library services, our librarians and staff specialists are available by email, and through our chat service to assist you. Special Collections & University Archives are available to the UMass community by appointment. For updates on our collections and services, please visit www.library.umass.edu.

 

What is the policy for taking classes Pass-Fail in Fall 2020?

(Added Aug. 13, 2020) The Faculty Senate Rules Committee has agreed to a partial expansion of the rules regarding undergraduate student choice of Pass-Fail grading during the Fall 2020 semester. Students may take up to three classes on a Pass-Fail basis. Please see this announcement for more information.

Do I have to be tested for COVID-19 twice weekly if my only in-person course is an internship that is not on campus?

(Added Aug. 14, 2020) Yes, you will need to be tested twice a week to keep you and your internship site safe. If this is a problem because of issues such as distance, childcare or transportation, please email testing@umass.edu and we will work with you on a modified testing schedule.

What if I only have a class once a week? Do I still need to be tested for COVID-19 twice a week?

(Updated Aug. 18, 2020) Yes, you will need to be tested twice a week, but if this is a logistical problem for you because of issues like distance, childcare or transportation, please email testing@umass.edu and we will work with you on a modified testing schedule.

 

What improvements have been made for remote learning in the fall?

(Added Aug. 14, 2020) The move to remote instruction in the spring was an abrupt change for students and faculty. For the fall, UMass established University Quality Standards and recommended best practices for all fully online courses. The Center for Teaching and Learning; Instructional Design, Engagement and Support; Information Technology, and the Libraries worked extensively with faculty over the summer to redesign their courses. Instruction now features opportunities for students to interact with their peers and with the faculty member synchronously and asynchronously; faculty will be holding weekly synchronous office hours; critical course content is provided asynchronously for students who are unable to attend synchronously; and faculty are flexibly designing assessments and exams to meet the needs of students who may experience disruption in their learning. You can learn more at www.umass.edu/online/quality.

Are Federal Work-Study jobs available in Fall 2020?

(Added Aug. 14, 2020) Yes, students with Federal Work-Study who are interested in pursuing university work for the academic year will be allowed to work remotely, as long as the job tasks can be performed remotely, and there is documented supervision. If you have been hired for the fall semester and are a first-time university employee, find the hiring documents at .umass.edu/humres/hire-package-undergraduate-student-employees .

Students with Federal Work-Study awards will earn money only if they are employed with the university, based on the hours worked and paid via direct deposit paycheck on a bi-weekly basis. The only way to access funds from a Federal Work-Study award is through earnings for hours worked.

What should I do if believe I may have been exposed to COVID-19 or am experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19?

(Added Aug. 18, 2020) If you have a new symptom of COVID-19, text SYMPTOM to 413-944-8562. You’ll receive a link to self-schedule an appointment for COVID-19 testing on the UHS Patient Portal. Log in or create an account, click the APPTS, tab, and follow instructions to schedule your appointment. When it’s time for your appointment, go to the UHS Respiratory Clinic. For more information, visit umass.edu/uhs/covid-19-testing

I have not yet purchased my textbooks and am living off campus, how will my textbooks get delivered?

(Added Aug. 18, 2020) The UMass bookstore, eCampus, will ship textbooks to students living off campus. eCampus can be accessed through students’ SPIRE class schedule. We encourage students to purchase textbooks as soon as possible. For help, please contact eCampus Customer Service directly at bookstore@ecampus.com or 859-209-6958.  

What safety measures are in place at the Public Health Promotion Center at the Mullins Center?

  • Face coverings are required and compliance is monitored.
  • The ventilation in the Mullins Center has been changed to supply 100 percent outside air, which is then 100 percent exhausted, with no air recirculation. 
  • Heating, air conditioning and ventilation (HVAC) system air filtration is rated by Minimum Efficiency Reporting Values, known as MERV ratings. The Mullins Center has upgraded filters to MERV13, as recommended for COVID-19 by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers.
  • The Mullins Center is cleaned each night using an electrostatic precipitator.
  • Enhanced cleaning takes place throughout the day in the Mullins Center, including high-touch areas.  
  • Multiple hand sanitizing stations are set up across the Mullins Center. Individuals are instructed to use hand sanitizer prior to coming into the Mullins Center and then after they perform their test. 
  • Touchless UCard reader gathers individual contact information. 
  • Plexiglass is installed in the Registration Area and in the Testing Area. 
  • Staff are tested twice a week.

Do I have to pay for testing?

(Added Aug. 28, 2020) There is no charge to students, faculty or staff who are required to get asymptomatic COVID-19 tests at the Mullins Center's Public Health Promotion Center (PHPC).

Symptomatic testing for COVID-19 conducted through University Health Services can be billed to your insurance.

Can individuals be asked if they are compliant with the UMass asymptomatic testing program?

(Added Sept. 11, 2020) No. Neither supervisors nor faculty can ask staff or students if these individuals have been tested, nor can they ask to see any results. This information is private medical information. Trained staff from the Public Health Promotion Center are identifying individuals who are non-compliant with the asymptomatic testing program and are reaching out as appropriate.

 

Is on-campus break housing available for the six-week Winter Term?

(Added Sept. 21, 2020) Yes, Residential Life will be able to provide a limited number of students the opportunity to live in North Apartments B during the winter term. Available bed spaces will be first-come, first-served using Online Room Selection. All students will be assigned to a private room and share the apartment with up to three other students. Each North Apartment area also includes two bathrooms and a kitchen with oven and stovetop.

Who is allowed to live on campus during Winter Term 2020?

(Added Sept. 21, 2020) Students already living on campus for Fall 2020 have the ability to request housing using the process outlined above. 

How do I secure break housing for Winter Term?

(Added Sept. 21, 2020) Students will use Online Room Selection to secure a space in North Apartments B for Winter Term.  Students will be able to search for and select from available spaces using the timeline below:

Appointment Request: Nov. 2-8

Appointments Post: Nov. 10 by 3 p.m.

Room Selection: Nov.11-13 at 4 p.m.

What Residential Life resources will be available on campus during Winter Term?

  • Crabtree Residential Service Desk will remain open during the Winter Term. Updated service hours will be shared with students remaining on campus during the winter break.
  • Residence Education staff, including resident assistants and residence directors, will continue to be on campus to support residential students during the Winter Term. Most interactions between students and Residence Education staff will be conducted remotely.
  • Facilities staff will continue to follow all campus cleaning protocols throughout the break period.
  • Residence Hall Security will remain in place through our card access and desk monitoring systems