FAQs

FAQs

These Frequently Asked Questions and Answers are being continually updated to address new and changing issues and concerns. Please check back often for the latest information.

Updated July 20, 2021

COVID-19 VACCINATIONS

Are students required to be vaccinated before returning to campus for Fall 2021?

(Updated July 20, 2021) Yes, all undergraduate and graduate students who wish to live or learn or conduct research on campus or access campus resources must be fully vaccinated prior to the beginning of the fall semester, on the basis of expected additional state, federal and legal guidance and vaccine availability, and subject to religious and disability accommodations pursuant to state and federal law.  Full vaccination status is reached two weeks after the final dose of the vaccine. We urge students to get their first shot of the vaccine as soon as possible and no later than July 23, 2021. Evidence to date concerning the present and expected approval status and effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines supports the university’s position.

How do I submit proof of COVID-19 vaccination to UMass?

(Updated July 16, 2021) If you received your COVID-19 vaccine in Massachusetts, login to the UMass Patient Portal, click "Immunization," and scroll down to expand the blue "COVID-19 Vaccines" section. If you do not see your immunizations listed there as "Verified," follow the steps below to manually upload your records.

If you were vaccinated outside of Massachusetts, follow the steps below to upload your COVID-19 vaccination data as soon as you receive the first dose, then again after you receive the second dose. Do not wait to complete the series of shots to enter your COVID-19 vaccine information. Questions? Contact the Student Immunization Program office: nsip@uhs.umass.edu or 413-577-5275. Please note that verification can take up to two weeks.

  1. Login to the UMass Patient Portal
  2. Click the “Immunization” tab
  3. Select “COVID-19 Vaccines”
  4. Find your vaccine type, enter the date you received your vaccine and click “Submit”
  5. Click the “Uploads” tab
  6. Under “Documents Available to be Uploaded,” select A - REQUIRED IMMUNIZATIONS FORM
  7. Upload a photo of the vaccine card that you were given by the health care provider who administered the immunization

If you need help accessing the UMass Patient Portal, please review the Patient Portal FAQs.

Are faculty and staff required to be vaccinated before returning to campus for Fall 2021?

(Updated April 23, 2021) Given our goal to have Fall 2021 be as close to pre-pandemic times as possible, there is an operational imperative that faculty and staff who have been performing their duties remotely transition back to on-campus work. Accordingly, all faculty and staff are strongly encouraged and recommended to get vaccinated prior to the beginning of the fall semester. While recognizing the potential value of working remotely for some future operations, for this fall all employees will be considered on-site, and only hybrid or remote if approved by a unit’s vice chancellor.

Are there exemptions to the vaccination requirement?

(Updated June 16, 2021)  Students attending UMass may request an exemption from the COVID-19 vaccination requirement, subject to religious and disability accommodations pursuant to state and federal law. Medical or religious exemption requests should be uploaded to the UMass Patient Portal by July 23, 2021.

To submit a medical or religious exemption request:

  1. Login to the UMass Patient Portal
  2. Click “Forms”
  3. Select the appropriate form (Medical Exemption Request or Religious Exemption Request)
  4. Download and complete the form (must be signed by a parent or guardian if student is under 18)
  5. Click “Upload”
  6. Select “Required Immunizations Form,” upload and submit the completed form

For both religious and medical exemptions:

  • In the event of an identified elevated public health risk, emergency, or outbreak, exempt individuals may be isolated and/or excluded from campus, including but not limited to all classes, activities, travel, and on-campus housing.
  • Twice weekly required testing will be substituted for vaccination in students receiving religious or medical exemption.

I am an international student. What happens if I can’t easily get access to a vaccine where I live, either in the U.S. or abroad? Can I get vaccinated when I get to UMass?

(Updated June 2, 2021)  Assuming the continued availability of vaccines, international students who are unable to access the COVID-19 vaccine prior to arrival in the U.S. should be able to be vaccinated at UMass when they arrive in Massachusetts.  Students are required to participate in the campus asymptomatic testing program until they are considered fully vaccinated.

Which vaccines does UMass Amherst currently accept as approved vaccines?

(Updated June 2, 2021) UMass follows Massachusetts Department of Public Health guidelines on approved vaccines in Massachusetts which allow the current World Health Organization (WHO) approved vaccines: AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Pfizer, Sinopharm, Covishield and Sinovac.  

If I am fully or partially vaccinated with a vaccine that is not WHO-approved, what will I need to do when I arrive at UMass?

(Added May 6, 2021) Current scientific guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health requires you to restart your vaccination schedule in the U.S. at least 28 days after your last dose of the non-approved vaccine. This is a changing situation, and we will update guidance for international students regularly and provide specific instructions as it becomes available.

If I am fully vaccinated with a WHO-approved vaccine do I need to get vaccinated when I arrive at UMass?

(Added May 6, 2021) NoStudents who are fully vaccinated with a WHO-approved vaccine, either in the U.S. or in another country, do not need any additional vaccination when arriving at UMass.

Will I be able to register for classes for Fall 2021 without having yet been vaccinated?

(Added April 23, 2021) Yes, you will be able to register for classes prior to vaccination, but you will have to show proof of vaccination (or receive an exemption) before coming to campus to attend classes or live in a residence hall this fall.

Will there be a fully remote/virtual option for students who are enrolled in the fall but are not vaccinated?

(Added April 23, 2021) No, full-time degree-seeking undergraduate students are expected to enroll in university session courses, taking face-to-face courses in Amherst or on the Mount Ida Campus. For additional information, see the Undergraduate Enrollment Options section of the Fall 2021 FAQs.

Will a cancellation fee be charged for students who opt out of university housing because of vaccine requirements?

(Updated April 26, 2021) If you are unsure of your decision to be vaccinated for fall semester, do not take rash action to cancel housing or withdraw from the university at this time.  Please note, we expect that many – if not most – colleges and universities will have similar requirements for the fall. Students who willingly choose not to be vaccinated and withdraw from the university may submit a waiver of the housing cancellation fee through the billing appeal process. Please note that if subsequent state, federal or legal guidance or vaccine ability limits our ability to require the vaccine, students who have not been vaccinated may be required to meet additional public health expectations (e.g., asymptomatic testing) to maintain a safe campus community.

Will UMass provide quarantine housing for unvaccinated international students upon arrival to the U.S.?

(Added June 11, 2021) You will only need to quarantine if you are not vaccinated before your arrival in the U.S. or if you have received a non-WHO-approved vaccine. In that case, quarantine housing will be available for international undergraduate students who have a UMass housing assignment. Quarantine housing will be available beginning Aug. 18, 2021. Email quarantine@umass.edu to plan for your arrival to campus. If you do not have a UMass housing assignment, limited quarantine housing may be available on a case-by case basis for students in exceptional circumstances.  Please contact the International Programs Office if you fall into this category.

COVID-19 TESTING

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.

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.

What happens if a student tests positive for COVID-19 or has been in contact with someone who tested positive?

(Updated Jan. 26, 2021) All students living on campus are required to have an isolation and quarantine plan.

You will be required to isolate if you test positive for COVID-19.  You will be required to quarantine if you are exposed to someone who has COVID-19.

For students who can travel in a private vehicle and are within driving distance of their primary place of residence, we strongly recommend your plan include you conducting your period of isolation or quarantine in the comfort of your home.

For those students living on‐campus who cannot travel home, the university has set aside dedicated isolation and quarantine space. Meals and needed medications will be delivered to students isolating and quarantining on campus. The Public Health Promotion Center will check in on you regularly to monitor your symptoms.  

All students living off campus are required to have an isolation and quarantine plan. The university will provide support services in your off‐campus location or at your family home. The university has limited isolation and quarantine spaces on campus and may not be able to provide this option to you.  

More information on quarantine and isolation and what happens if you test positive or are exposed to someone who tests positive can be found in this document: Isolation and Quarantine   Planning Guide For Students 2021.

How can I learn more about COVID-19 testing for local community members?

Please visit the Community COVID-19 Testing page for complete information about making an appointment and being tested at the Public Health Promotion Center (PHPC) at the Mullins Center on campus.

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.

How will I learn the results of my COVID-19 test?

(Updated June 16, 2021) When your results are ready, typically 24 to 36 hours after your test, you will receive a notification email from umalab@umass.eduThen, to access your results, log in to the Patient Portal. For security reasons, your email will not include a link to the Patient Portal. It is at umalab.netsmartcloud.com.  Be sure to bookmark or make a note of this address. There is no need to register on the Portal, but you will be asked to change the password during your first visit. 

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.

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.

If I test positive for COVID-19 and have completed my 10-day quarantine, can I resume activities? Do I still have to be tested regularly?

(Added Feb. 5, 2021) If you test positive, you can resume participation in campus activities following the required ten day quarantine. You are then exempt from COVID-19 testing for 90 days. At the end of 90 days, you will again be required to be tested according to the protocols in place.

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.

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.

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.

I forgot my password to access test results. What should I do?

(Added Feb. 22, 2021) If you forgot your password for accessing your test results through the UMass Lab, please do not use the “forgot your password” option, which is run by a third party and is unable to reset your password. To maintain your privacy, we ask that you instead send an email to testing@umass.edu to have your password manually reset. When your request is processed, you will receive a confirmation email. Given the current volume of email, there may be a delay in processing.

 

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.

RETURNING TO CAMPUS

Who should plan to return to campus this fall?

All faculty, staff and students should plan to return to campus in-person this fall. The university intends to offer a full college experience, featuring face-to-face instruction, full residence halls, a complement of student events and activities, and active research facilities.

What is the green checkmark?

(Updated June 28, 2021) Every member of the UMass community has a role to play in maintaining a healthy and safe campus. Toward that end, all individuals will be required to comply with any COVID-19 vaccination requirements adopted and COVID-19 testing frequency requirements. To demonstrate compliance with these requirements, the campus the campus may continue to use the green checkmark via the Campus Health Hub in certain locations on campus.

I’m an international student. Can I return to campus for the fall semester?

All new and continuing international students who are able to travel to the U.S. are strongly urged to attend campus in person. The International Programs Office is monitoring travel restrictions, visa issuance and backlogs, and vaccine requirements across the globe. For international students unable to come to campus to start the semester on Sept. 1, we will pursue technology options in the classrooms for individual student accommodations that may be needed (e.g., Echo360 asynchronous recordings or synchronous laptop/microphone Zoom sessions). We will also explore fully remote options and assist international students with access to courses, but we will not have a fully remote curriculum in place.

What is the Interim Pandemic Policy?

The Interim Pandemic Policy, developed by students and staff and reviewed by the Student Government Association and the Graduate Student Senate, clearly outlines expectations for the spring semester for students living either on or off campus.

Do I need to quarantine when I arrive at UMass for the fall semester?

(Updated June 11, 2021) Current guidance from the CDC and Massachusetts DPH does not require any quarantine if you are fully vaccinated with any of the WHO-approved vaccines (Moderna, Pfizer, Astra-Zeneca, Covishield, Johnson & Johnson, Sinopharm and Sinvovac). This includes international students arriving from outside the U.S. Rather, you are recommended to monitor your symptoms and get tested three to five days after your arrival in the U.S. If you are unvaccinated or vaccinated with a non-WHO-approved vaccine, you will need to quarantine for seven days upon arrival and get tested within three to five days after arrival. You will be able to arrange a test when you arrive at UMass. For international students living on campus, please email quarantine@umass.edu to arrange your quarantine accommodations.

I’m a faculty member/graduate student instructor with health conditions and cannot teach in-person for the fall semester. What should I do?

Faculty and graduate student instructors who have health conditions that do not allow them to teach in person can request accommodations through the accommodation process provided by the Office of Accessible Workplace in the Department of Human Resources (faculty members) or through Disability Services (graduate student instructors).

I’m a staff member with health conditions and cannot work on campus for the fall semester. What should I do?

Staff who cannot work on-site for health reasons should request an ADA accommodation.

Are face coverings required on campus?

(Added July 9, 2021) The campus follows the federal CDC and Massachusetts Department of Public Health guidance for those who have been fully vaccinated, which states that fully vaccinated individuals are no longer required to wear a mask or physically distance on campus, both outdoors and indoors. You are considered fully vaccinated under these conditions: it has been two weeks after your second dose in a two-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine. Fully vaccinated individuals who prefer to continue wearing face coverings are welcome to do so.

Individuals not yet fully vaccinated are expected to wear face coverings in indoor settings and when they can’t socially distance. Consistent with this policy, such individuals may remove their face covering only in a private office when alone.

Face coverings remain mandatory in limited circumstances: for all individuals on public and private transportation systems (including rideshares, livery, taxi, ferries, PVTA and transportation stations); childcare facilities; healthcare facilities such as University Health Services; Center for Counseling and Psychological Health (CCPH); when getting tested at the Public Health Promotion Center at the Mullins Center; and in the UMass Vaccine Clinic in the Campus Center.

Will hand sanitizer stations be available?

(Added July 15, 2021)  Yes, hand sanitizer stations are being placed in the main lobbies of buildings.

Will my office be cleaned before my arrival?

(Added July 15, 2021) Yes, all offices will be cleaned and disinfected during the summer in preparation for staff returning to campus. Going forward, offices will be cleaned once every two weeks.  Please call the Solutions Center at 413-545-6401 when a specific response is required (e.g., to report a spill/ or leak).

What should faculty and staff do to clean any equipment, like chairs and computers, that is being returning to their on-campus workspace?

(Added July 15, 2021)  You should:
1. Unplug electrical equipment.

2. Wipe electrical and non-porous equipment with a cloth dampened with water to remove dust and any surface contamination.

3. Upholstery may be vacuumed.

INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS

I’m an international student. Can I return to campus for the fall semester?

All new and continuing international students who are able to travel to the U.S. are strongly urged to attend campus in person. The International Programs Office is monitoring travel restrictions, visa issuance and backlogs, and vaccine requirements across the globe. For international students unable to come to campus to start the semester on Sept. 1, we will pursue technology options in the classrooms for individual student accommodations that may be needed (e.g., Echo360 asynchronous recordings or synchronous laptop/microphone Zoom sessions). We will also explore fully remote options and assist international students with access to courses, but we will not have a fully remote curriculum in place.

When do international students and summer international students move into fall housing?

(Updated April 23, 2021) International students attending IPO orientation will move into their fall on-campus assignment on Wednesday, Aug. 25. Students not attending orientation will move in based on their class year.

I am an international student and because of visa/travel restrictions, I don’t have the choice to return to the UMass Amherst campus this fall. Can I attend remotely?

(Updated July 9, 2021) The International Programs Office is monitoring travel restrictions, visa issuance and backlogs. After Aug. 1, we will have a better idea of where backlogs are most problematic. For international students unable to come to campus to start the semester on Sept. 1 because of visa issues or travel restrictions, the university will pursue technology options for some classes and individual student accommodations (e.g., Echo360 asynchronous recordings or synchronous laptop/microphone Zoom sessions). However, UMass will not have a fully remote curriculum in place for the fall. If you have not yet done so, please consult with your academic advisor to create an in-person fall semester registration.

If I am not able to get the COVID-19 vaccine in my home country by July 23, will a hold be placed on my account?

(Added July 20, 2021)  There will be no holds placed on accounts of international students who cannot get access to a WHO-approved COVID-19 vaccine before the July 23 deadline. To prevent an account hold, please email testing@umass.edu describing your circumstances.

 

Do I need to quarantine when I arrive at UMass for the fall semester?

(Updated June 11, 2021) Current guidance from the CDC and Massachusetts DPH does not require any quarantine if you are fully vaccinated with any of the WHO-approved vaccines (Moderna, Pfizer, Astra-Zeneca, Covishield, Johnson & Johnson, Sinopharm and Sinvovac). This includes international students arriving from outside the U.S. Rather, you are recommended to monitor your symptoms and get tested three to five days after your arrival in the U.S. If you are unvaccinated or vaccinated with a non-WHO-approved vaccine, you will need to quarantine for seven days upon arrival and get tested within three to five days after arrival. You will be able to arrange a test when you arrive at UMass. For international students living on campus, please email quarantine@umass.edu to arrange your quarantine accommodations.

Will UMass provide quarantine housing for unvaccinated international students upon arrival to the U.S.?

(Added June 11, 2021) You will only need to quarantine if you are not vaccinated before your arrival in the U.S. or if you have received a non-WHO-approved vaccine. In that case, quarantine housing will be available for international undergraduate students who have a UMass housing assignment. Quarantine housing will be available beginning Aug. 18, 2021. Email quarantine@umass.edu to plan for your arrival to campus. If you do not have a UMass housing assignment, limited quarantine housing may be available on a case-by case basis for students in exceptional circumstances.  Please contact the International Programs Office if you fall into this category.

I am an international student. What happens if I can’t easily get access to a vaccine where I live, either in the U.S. or abroad? Can I get vaccinated when I get to UMass?

(Updated June 2, 2021)  Assuming the continued availability of vaccines, international students who are unable to access the COVID-19 vaccine prior to arrival in the U.S. should be able to be vaccinated at UMass when they arrive in Massachusetts.  Students are required to participate in the campus asymptomatic testing program until they are considered fully vaccinated.

Which vaccines does UMass Amherst currently accept as approved vaccines?

(Updated June 2, 2021) UMass follows Massachusetts Department of Public Health guidelines on approved vaccines in Massachusetts which allow the current World Health Organization (WHO) approved vaccines: AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Pfizer, Sinopharm, Covishield and Sinovac.  

If I am fully or partially vaccinated with a vaccine that is not WHO-approved, what will I need to do when I arrive at UMass?

(Added May 6, 2021) Current scientific guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health requires you to restart your vaccination schedule in the U.S. at least 28 days after your last dose of the non-approved vaccine. This is a changing situation, and we will update guidance for international students regularly and provide specific instructions as it becomes available.

TEACHING AND LEARNING

Will classes be taught in-person?

Yes, all classes normally taught in-person will return to that mode of instructional delivery in the fall. The university will continue to monitor public health guidelines with in-person instruction and will continue public health practices (e.g., mask-wearing in classrooms) if recommended./p>

Do I have to attend my in-person classes?

Yes, when courses are offered in-person, students are expected to attend those courses in person. The university’s “University Policy on Class Absence” explains what absences need to be accommodated by an instructor. To help instructors meet such accommodations, Echo360 technology (for recording and asynchronous playback by students) and hybrid technology (for synchronous instruction to remote students) are available in numerous classrooms.

What if I have to travel to an off-campus location for a field trip or field work?

Courses that require field trips and field work will take place while following public health guidelines for travel and the location where the field trip/work takes place. Public health guidance will be followed with approval processes put in place in advance if needed.

What is the Academic Calendar for 2021-22?

Fall 2021 classes begin Sept. 1, 2021. Holidays on Labor Day (Sept. 6), Oct. 11, and Veterans Day (Nov. 11) holidays will all be observed, as will Thanksgiving Recess (Nov. 24-28). This schedule allows for a 26-day Winter Session, which provides many advantages to faculty willing to teach during the Winter Session and more course opportunities for students. The other campuses in the Five College Consortium are also planning to start the fall semester on or around Sept. 1, which would assist students who participate in the Five College exchange.

Will academic advising be in-person?

Yes, all academic advising will be in-person, as with normal pre-pandemic operations. We look forward to welcoming our important staff members back to campus to perform these critical student support services.

Will student support services be available?

Yes, all student support services (Learning Resource Center, Registrar’s Office, International Programs Office, Bursar’s Office, Financial Aid, Career Services, etc.) will be available in-person, as with normal pre-pandemic operations. We look forward to welcoming our important staff members back to campus to perform these critical student support services.

What precautions are being taken to make classrooms safe?

(Updated June 7, 2021) Public health protocols for classrooms, labs and studios are being reviewed during the summer. Classroom scheduling will return to pre-pandemic levels in for student density and class density, assuming that public health guidelines allow. Custodial service levels will return to pre-pandemic levels.

What if the state reinstates restrictions on in-person classes once the semester has started?

If restrictions are placed on in-person instruction, for example, limited classroom capacity, we plan to use remote and/or hybrid instruction for the duration of such a restriction. Instructors have significant experience with the necessary technologies and pedagogies, and thus such a switch – while highly undesirable – could be implemented.

Will the Mount Ida Campus have in-person instruction and activities?

Instruction and activities at the Mount Ida Campus will follow the Amherst campus guidelines. In-person instruction will take place at the Mount Ida Campus with public health guidelines followed.

Will the Springfield Center have in-person instruction and activities?

Instruction and activities at the Springfield Center will follow the Amherst campus guidelines. In-person instruction will take place at the Springfield Center with public health guidelines followed.

UNDERGRADUATE STUDENT ENROLLMENT OPTIONS

Can I study remotely this fall as a full-time UMass student?

Full-time degree-seeking undergraduate students are expected to enroll in university session courses, taking face-to-face courses in Amherst or on the Mount Ida Campus. If you are interested in enrolling in only online courses, you can withdraw from the university and become a non-degree student through UMass’s University Without Walls. Only a fraction of university session courses are offered online, therefore students cannot opt to take a full course load remotely.

How do I withdraw from UMass for one or more semesters?

If you are a continuing undergraduate student and want to withdraw for the fall 2021 semester, use the End of Term Withdrawal process. The Re-Enrollment deadline for spring 2022 is Oct. 15, 2021.

I am a new student and have submitted my UMass enrollment deposit. Can I defer my admission?

(Added April 23, 2021) UMass Amherst rarely approves requests to defer admission decisions for students who are unable to attend during the term indicated on their offer letter. Undergraduate Admissions will consider a deferment request for students with specific, significant circumstances. For more information, including how to make a request, view the university’s deferral policy.

I am a senior. Can I complete my degree via UWW or another institution?

(Added April 27, 2021) Seniors with at least 87 credits completed can finish their requirements through UWW or at another institution. Academic advisors can assist with planning for Senior Year in Absentia. Prior approval is required.

How do I enroll in courses via University Without Walls (UWW)?

Course enrollment can be done through the UWW website. UWW courses are charged on a per-course basis.

Can I get financial aid for UWW courses?

(Updated April 23, 2021) Undergraduate students who take courses through UWW will be considered a non-degree student unless they are accepted into a UWW program. Non-degree students are not eligible for federal aid, but they can apply for private alternative loans and scholarships to help offset their costs. For reference, view this list of private lenders.

Can I take courses at another institution and return to UMass in Spring 2022?

If you choose to take all your coursework through another university and hope to transfer-in courses for credit, you will need to get course approval for transfer credit and withdraw from UMass for one or more semesters. The re-enrollment deadline for Spring 2022 is Oct. 15, 2021.

I am an international student and because of visa/travel restrictions, I don’t have the choice to return to the UMass Amherst campus this fall. Can I attend remotely?

(Updated July 9, 2021) The International Programs Office is monitoring travel restrictions, visa issuance and backlogs. After Aug. 1, we will have a better idea of where backlogs are most problematic. For international students unable to come to campus to start the semester on Sept. 1 because of visa issues or travel restrictions, the university will pursue technology options for some classes and individual student accommodations (e.g., Echo360 asynchronous recordings or synchronous laptop/microphone Zoom sessions). However, UMass will not have a fully remote curriculum in place for the fall. If you have not yet done so, please consult with your academic advisor to create an in-person fall semester registration.

Are study abroad options available for Fall 2021?

(Added April 27, 2021) The International Programs Office (IPO) will continue to offer a limited range of safe study-abroad, international internship, and exchange opportunities in Fall 2021. If you have not already been placed in a program, you should contact the Education Abroad office as soon as possible.

GRADUATE STUDENT ENROLLMENT OPTIONS

I moved away from campus during the pandemic. Can I continue to study remotely this fall as a full-time UMass graduate student?

(Added May 11, 2021) Full-time degree-seeking graduate students are expected to enroll in the coursework mandated by their program. Most courses will return to being in-person in the fall. Accommodations for remote access are limited.

I have completed the coursework for my graduate degree. Do I have to return to campus?

(Added May 11, 2021) Graduate students who are on Continuous Enrollment, taking independent studies, or thesis and dissertation credits may not need to be on campus. Consult with your advisor to be sure to arrange regular mentoring. Be sure you are clear about milestones you need to meet and any other requirements of your program.

I don’t have any courses I need to take on campus, but I have a TA/TO/RA assistantship. Can I teach/work remotely?

(Added May 11, 2021) Graduate student instructors must provide their courses in person unless otherwise notified by their supervisor. Exceptions/accommodations must be requested according to GEO contract rules via Disability Services. Students with research assistantships or training grants as well as postdocs need to follow the guidance of the principal investigator of their grants.

I am an international student and because of visa/travel restrictions, I don’t have the choice to return to the UMass Amherst campus this fall. Can I attend remotely?

(Updated July 9, 2021) The International Programs Office is monitoring travel restrictions, visa issuance and backlogs. After Aug. 1, we will have a better idea of where backlogs are most problematic. For international students unable to come to campus to start the semester on Sept. 1 because of visa issues or travel restrictions, the university will pursue technology options for some classes and individual student accommodations (e.g., Echo360 asynchronous recordings or synchronous laptop/microphone Zoom sessions). However, UMass will not have a fully remote curriculum in place for the fall. If you have not yet done so, please consult with your academic advisor to create an in-person fall semester registration.

As a graduate student, how do I take a leave of absence from UMass for one or more semesters?

(Added May 11, 2021) Continuing graduate students may request a leave of absence from their program of study by petitioning their graduate program director who, in turn, provides justification for the request to the Graduate School. When a leave of absence is approved, a student’s statute of limitations is extended accordingly. Graduate students on a leave of absence must maintain continuous enrollment by registering for the continuous enrollment course and paying the program fee every semester during their leave.

I am a new graduate student admitted for fall 2021. May I defer admission to a future semester?

(Added May 11, 2021) If you are unable to attend in person in the fall, please contact your academic program to discuss deferral options; some programs may have online courses available so that you can start in the fall semester.

STUDENT AFFAIRS AND CAMPUS LIFE

What is the Interim Pandemic Policy?

The Interim Pandemic Policy, developed by students and staff and reviewed by the Student Government Association and the Graduate Student Senate, clearly outlines expectations for the spring semester for students living either on or off campus.

Will the New Student Orientation and Transitions Program be in-person?

New Student Orientation and Transitions Program will be offered as follows:

  • New Students Orientation will be remote.
  • Fall New Students Orientation will be in-person.
  • Meet your community meetings for first-year students will run from early June through July 16.
  • here will be some family programming in June and July 6-16.
  • Welcome programming and department and program open house events will start Aug. 28 and run through the following weekend.
  • New Student Convocation is Aug. 31.

When can I move into my residence hall?

(Updated April 23, 2021) On-campus move-in is Aug. 27-29, 2021. Students will select a move-in reservation in August to determine the specific time of their move-in.

First-year students move in on Friday, Aug. 27.

Sophomores and transfer students move in on Saturday, Aug. 28.

Juniors and seniors move in on Sunday, Aug. 29.

When do international students and summer international students move into fall housing?

(Updated April 23, 2021) International students attending IPO orientation will move into their fall on-campus assignment on Wednesday, Aug. 25. Students not attending orientation will move in based on their class year.

Will Residential Academic Programs (RAPs) be offered in the fall?

RAP programs affiliated with a specific course and a designated residence hall will be offered for Fall 2021. As the university continues to follow health and safety protocols, RAP courses may be located in classrooms.  

What will life in the residence halls be like?

Residence Education staff plan to provide a close-to-normal residential experience focused on developing strong and inclusive communities, student learning, well-being, student engagement and student support. Residence hall staff will engage with students in floor meetings, roommate agreement processes, bulletin boards and newsletters, and a range of events and programs designed for community engagement and learning. In first-year residential communities, undergraduate peer mentors will provide academic, well-being and transition support through events and open office hours. 

Students will have the opportunity to participate in the Residence Hall Association by joining their residence hall’s House Council. House Councils plan events and initiatives for their residential communities.

Will residence hall staff be available to support students?

Residence hall staff are available and on-call at all times to respond to student concerns and to support student needs.

Will there be any events for students this fall?

Multiple smaller events will be offered to allow flexibility for any public health and safety COVID-19 guidance. Events planned for Opening Week through Sept. 30 include: 

  • BBQ & Fun Games on the Lawn of the Student Union
  • Student Organization Expo & Leadership Week
  • Student Union Open Houses

Will cultural and identity centers be open for the fall semester?

Cultural and identity centers will be open for the fall semester. Open house and welcome events for the centers, as well as other programs and departments, will be held during the first two weeks of September.

Will Disability Support Services be open for the fall semester?

Yes, Disability Support Services will be open for the fall semester.

Will the Dean of Students Office be open for the fall semester?

Yes, the Dean of Students will be open for the fall semester.

Will the Recreation Center be open?

Campus Recreation is open now and will be open for Fall 2021. Campus Recreation is prepared to expand services, hours, and operations in accordance with evolving public health guidance from the university and state officials.

Will the Center for Counseling and Psychological Health (CCPH) be open?

CCPH will continue offering all services this fall, including 24/7 crisis services; same-day first appointments; Let's Talk; groups; workshops and community conversations; psychiatry services; and outreach. CCPH’s psychological assessment program will resume when safety regulations and COVID guidelines allow. The majority of services will continue to be delivered remotely to remain compliant with COVID guidelines and safety regulations. CCPH is determining what criteria may warrant in-person assessment and will offer it accordingly with proper safety precautions in place.

What resources will be available to students living off-campus in the fall?

Off-campus students will have access to university support services and resources. Additionally, the Off-Campus Student Center lounge will reopen as an in-person resource.

Will the Center for Early Education and Care (CEEC) be open for Fall 2021?

The CEEC will open for the fall semester on Monday, Aug. 30, 2021, with enrollment in all classrooms consisting of a blend of children from staff, faculty, and student-parent families.

Current plans for the fall include operating two Toddler and two Preschool classrooms for a total of 45 children. Enrollment capacity is limited by Department of Early Education and Care licensing restrictions, and staff vacancies and voluntary furloughs. CEEC has partially expanded capacity for this fall and is working on staffing solutions to be able to further expand enrollment capacity.

Will a cancellation fee be charged for students who opt out of university housing because of vaccine requirements?

(Updated April 26, 2021) If you are unsure of your decision to be vaccinated for fall semester, do not take rash action to cancel housing or withdraw from the university at this time.  Please note, we expect that many – if not most – colleges and universities will have similar requirements for the fall. Students who willingly choose not to be vaccinated and withdraw from the university may submit a waiver of the housing cancellation fee through the billing appeal process. Please note that if subsequent state, federal or legal guidance or vaccine ability limits our ability to require the vaccine, students who have not been vaccinated may be required to meet additional public health expectations (e.g., asymptomatic testing) to maintain a safe campus community.

RESEARCH AND LIBRARIES

What will research and libraries activities look like for Fall 2021?

(Updated May 18, 2021) With a goal for in-person research and library activities to return as close as possible to pre-COVID-19 activities, schedules, and densities of personnel in facilities, a gradual transition is in place. A Research & Libraries Operating Plan (RLOP) and participation in the campus asymptomatic testing program are required along with any relevant guidelines for undergraduate and summer research. These requirements will be modified as the public health situation permits.

What if there are changes in the public health situation during this transition?

During this transition, the Vice Chancellor for Research and Engagement (VCRE) in consultation with the Research & Libraries Working Group will provide updates, including any modified requirements, bi-weekly or more frequently if necessary, and with as much advance notice of changes as possible.

Will some workspaces be more restrictive?

Some UMass facilities, including performance venues, farms or field stations, or individual research groups, may need to adopt more restrictive health and safety measures according to their in-person activities and participants’ risk levels. Following the best practices developed over the last year, those plans should be discussed with all the participants and across spatially proximate lab groups, such as those using the same shared facilities.

Are some buildings on campus still remaining locked all day?

(Added July 15, 2021) Most campus buildings have reverted to pre-pandemic unlock patterns to support the expansion of on-campus operations.  Building occupants who have questions can contact the Facilities Solutions Center, open 24 hours a day ,at 413-545-6401, or work with their building coordinator or facilities customer service representative. 

CAMPUS OPERATIONS

Will the dining commons and campus retail cafes be open?

Dining commons and retail cafes will be normal dine-in, including china service. Outside seating for grab-and-go will be provided. Food trucks/mobile kitchens will be used in strategic locations around campus as needed. Students can monitor dining commons volume using the UMass Dining App and web cameras.  

What do students need to access dining locations?

Students will be asked to present the campus green checkmark upon entry to dining locations.

Will the UMass Store be open this fall?

The UMass Store will resume normal in-store operations and will continue with online ordering in the fall.

Will Conference Services be hosting events this fall?

Conference Services plans to host events in the fall following recommended public health guidance.

Will Hotel UMass be open this fall?

Hotel UMass will resume normal operations in the fall with up to 100% occupancy.

Will events and performances be held on campus this fall?

Events at the Mullins Center, the Fine Arts Center and other performance venues will return to normal activity following recommended public health protocols and guidelines.  

Are some buildings on campus still remaining locked all day?

(Added July 15, 2021) Most campus buildings have reverted to pre-pandemic unlock patterns to support the expansion of on-campus operations.  Building occupants who have questions can contact the Facilities Solutions Center, open 24 hours a day ,at 413-545-6401, or work with their building coordinator or facilities customer service representative. 

Are face coverings required on campus?

(Added July 9, 2021) The campus follows the federal CDC and Massachusetts Department of Public Health guidance for those who have been fully vaccinated, which states that fully vaccinated individuals are no longer required to wear a mask or physically distance on campus, both outdoors and indoors. You are considered fully vaccinated under these conditions: it has been two weeks after your second dose in a two-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine. Fully vaccinated individuals who prefer to continue wearing face coverings are welcome to do so.

Individuals not yet fully vaccinated are expected to wear face coverings in indoor settings and when they can’t socially distance. Consistent with this policy, such individuals may remove their face covering only in a private office when alone.

Face coverings remain mandatory in limited circumstances: for all individuals on public and private transportation systems (including rideshares, livery, taxi, ferries, PVTA and transportation stations); childcare facilities; healthcare facilities such as University Health Services; Center for Counseling and Psychological Health (CCPH); when getting tested at the Public Health Promotion Center at the Mullins Center; and in the UMass Vaccine Clinic in the Campus Center.

How will custodial services staff clean and disinfect campus spaces?

(Added July 15, 2021) According to CDC recommendations, when no people with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 are known to have been in a space, cleaning once a day is enough to sufficiently remove viruses that may be on surfaces and help maintain a healthy facility. Disinfecting will continue to be done in restrooms, showers, and locker rooms as is standard procedure.

Cleaning works by using soap, or detergent, and water to physically remove germs from surfaces. This process does not necessarily kill germs, but by removing them, it lowers their numbers and the risk of spreading infection. 

Disinfecting uses chemicals to kill germs on surfaces or objects after these surfaces have been cleaned.  No disinfection will be done outside of spaces listed above unless staff are responding to an EHS request to disinfect in response to a COVID-19 case. 

 

For more information, you can view the CDC page on Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility.

Will cleaning supply kits be distributed during the fall semester?

(Added July 15, 2021) No, the cleaning supply kits will not be distributed during fall semester following the CDC recommendation to focus on cleaning not disinfecting.

How often will my office be cleaned?

(Added July 15, 2021)  Offices are cleaned every other week. Cleaning includes vacuuming, dusting , dry and wet mopping (if tile floor) and cleaning doors handles and plates. Please contact the Solutions Center at 413-545-6401 for spills and/or if you need a rapid response.

How is Physical Plant Pest Control checking buildings for pests?

(Added July 15, 2021) Pest Control staff are coordinating with Custodial Services as academic buildings are cleaned. Pest Control has two shifts with staff available from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. You may call the Solutions Center at 413-545-6401 to request additional services if you notice an ongoing pest issue.

How is trash removed trash from my workspace?

(Added July 15, 2021)  All academic buildings have established central pick-up points. Occupants take their trash to this central location, from which custodial staff remove it. Maps identifying these locations are available on the Physical Plant Custodial webpage

Will hand sanitizer stations be available?

(Added July 15, 2021)  Yes, hand sanitizer stations are being placed in the main lobbies of buildings.

Who should I call with requests or concerns about custodial services?

(Added July 15, 2021) The Solutions Center is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year at 413-545-6401. You may also contact your Customer Service Representative.

ATHLETICS

Will fans be allowed to attend UMass Athletic home competitions?

Athletics will adhere to state guidelines to determine if fans can attend home games for fall sports. Minutemen Football will host six games, including Boston College at the Sept. 11 home opener and UConn on Oct. 9. Pre-game activities for fans and students will be assessed and developed over the summer.