Fall 2020 Housing

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

We’ve compiled this information to help answer questions about on-campus housing for fall 2020. If you do not find your question answered below, please feel free to contact us at reslife@umd.edu or call (301) 314-2100. We are here to help.

Health and Safety

Our campus community’s safety, health, and well-being remain our top priority, and all decisions are made with this as our guiding principle. We will all need to work together this coming semester to support the overall health and well-being of our residence hall and campus community.

Our staff will increase the cleaning frequency of community restrooms and high touch point areas such as elevator buttons, water fountains, and door handles. We are reducing residence hall occupancy and preparing for on-campus quarantine and isolation spaces. Floor lounges and common area spaces will be closed or used as student rooms to support physical distancing and to limit large in-person gatherings.

An educational campaign based on CDC guidance and University policies and expectations will address expectations of residents with regard to practices that support the overall health and well-being of our residence hall and campus community. These expectations include frequent hand washing, face covering requirements, keeping appropriate distance between you and others, limiting people in elevators and common areas, and increased training regarding COVID-19.

There are four actions that every member of our campus community must take to keep ourselves and each other safe and healthy:
  1. If you are sick, stay home and do not go to class or work.
  2. Wear a face covering at all times indoors and outdoors when other people are nearby.
  3. Keep appropriate distance between you and others.
  4. Wash your hands frequently or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

The University 's plan has five components to safely reopen and operate the campus, with early identification of infectious cases as the key to limit outbreaks. The plan includes daily self-monitoring and reporting of temperature and any onset symptoms, population surveillance testing to ascertain the baseline infection rate on campus, contact tracing, environmental monitoring and behavioral changes.

Our goal is for all students, faculty, and staff to stay safe and well on campus this fall. For their part, students should follow good personal hygiene practices, make healthy choices, and follow the campus’s guidelines regarding hand washing, physical distancing, limiting large group gatherings, etc.

Public health experts tell us that it is likely that we will have cases of COVID-19 on campus this fall. We urge every student to have a plan for what they will do if they are exposed or become ill with COVID-19.

Any student who is ill should stay home, not go to class, consult their personal medical provider, and notify the University Health Center. Should a student test positive for COVID-19 or experience symptoms indicative of likely infection, our staff will coordinate with staff from the University Health Center and the local Health Department to provide support and take appropriate measures which may include the student self-isolating on campus or at home during the period of their illness.

Whenever possible, we urge students to rest and recuperate at home but we recognize that going home won't be an option for everyone. The University will maintain a number of quarantine and isolation spaces available should an on-campus resident need to temporarily relocate during a quarantine or isolation period.

For additional campus information, visit the Campus Guidance page.

Community restrooms and high touch point areas such as elevator buttons, water fountains, and door handles will be cleaned at an increased frequency following applicable CDC guidelines related to cleaning and disinfection.

Occupancy, Housing Agreements & Room Assignments

During a typical fall semester, approximately 8,900 residents live on campus in apartments, suites, semi-suites, and traditional style residence halls. For Fall 2020, the Department of Resident Life will open with a reduced residence hall capacity. This reduction is based on limiting capacity in triples and quad rooms to double capacity for fall to facilitate physical distancing between residents and holding spaces for possible quarantine and isolation purposes.

In alignment with our On-Campus Housing Strategic Plan, students in their first and second year have the highest priority for on-campus housing and have been confirmed for the fall. Additionally, we will accommodate a small number of seniors, in particular those in their final semester who won’t be able to find a short-term lease off-campus as they complete their studies.

We considered all possible options for the fall and regret that some students will not receive their selected housing assignment. In order to reduce capacity on campus, we had to cancel some on-campus housing agreements. The On-Campus Housing and Dining Agreement terms and conditions delineates a cancellation policy whereby the University retains the right and discretion to release a student from the Agreement due to residence hall space limitations or other reasons. Resident Life strives to avoid exercising this policy, however, given the extraordinary circumstances and response to COVID-19 it has been necessary to do so at this time. Students who had Housing Agreements and can no longer be accommodated in residence halls for the fall have been notified via email directly. It is our desire to re-contract with students when it is deemed safe to return to full occupancy. We understand the uncertainty students are facing and appreciate continued patience and understanding. Our Off-Campus Housing Services office is available to provide resources and assistance for students who wish to explore alternative housing options.

Our staff had hoped to welcome back all residents in the fall and we’re sorry to deliver this news, however, public health guidance informed our decision to reduce residence hall occupancy for the health and safety of our campus community. For students who wish to explore alternative housing options, our Off-Campus Housing Services office is available to provide resources and assistance. You can also access the Off-Campus Housing Database to explore housing options in the area. In particular, there are several private apartment complexes that serve University of Maryland students conveniently located near campus, which offer the opportunity to rent by the bedroom.

The UMD Off-Campus Housing Services team has arranged for a virtual Off-Campus Living Fair on June 30, 2020 from 2:00 p.m.- 4:00 p.m. The virtual fair is designed to help you explore off-campus housing options and engage with local area landlords and property managers. Additional details about the fair will be available at the Off-Campus Living Fair website by June 16.

For students whom we cannot accommodate in the residence halls in the fall, we don't yet know if we will be able to revert to our full occupancy and offer housing for Spring 2021. If we can increase residence hall occupancy for Spring, students with cancelled Housing Agreements will be among the first students to be offered on-campus housing. We will announce plans for the spring semester later this fall.

We have had to make room assignment changes for some students in order to reduce the occupancy of our triple and quad rooms and to prepare for possible quarantine and isolation housing. Students whose room assignment will be changing have been notified directly via email.

Students who cancel their 2020-2021 housing agreement by July 20 and are interested in returning to the residence halls for the 2021-2022 academic year will retain their commitment group status as if they lived on campus this year.

For new students, assignments will be made based on the submission date of the On-Campus Housing and Dining Agreement and will take into account living-learning program requirements. Assignments Considerations will still be taken into account and matched to the best extent possible.

For returning students who selected rooms during Spring Room Selection and who have been confirmed for housing, your specific room assignment will be maintained to the greatest extent possible. In some cases, a change of assignment for a returning resident was necessary in locations where we needed to reduce our capacity either for physical distancing or quarantine and isolation housing purposes. Students who have been impacted by a required room reassignment have been notified via email and we are working directly with those students to find a new assignment as close as possible to the original selection location. Additional information regarding this re-assignment process will be forthcoming via email to any impacted student.

Students will live in double-occupancy or single-occupancy rooms. Spaces in all triple and quad rooms will be reduced to double capacity for the fall. Many students will live with another student in the same bedroom. Students who share a bedroom will be expected to work cooperatively and follow established safety practices to protect each other’s health and safety.

Every effort will be made to accommodate roommate requests however we cannot guarantee all requests as there may be space limitations. Information will be sent to students regarding the Roommate Finder process and submitting roommate requests once we have finalized the details for this fall’s process.

In rooms such as bunked double, triple, and quad rooms where we have temporarily reduced our room capacity, residence hall staff will leave residence hall rooms set up for full occupancy in anticipation of all residents returning to on-campus housing when deemed safe to do so. Staff will arrange the furniture to allow for physical distance between roommates and to ensure the heating and air conditioning units have enough space to function optimally.

Most floor lounges and common area spaces will likely be closed or used as student rooms to support physical distancing and to limit large in-person gatherings.

If you have a unique circumstance, request, or assignment consideration related to a medical, health or personal issue, please complete the Assignments Consideration Form. Once completed the form can be uploaded by logging into the student’s Resident Life Profile or scan and send via email to drl-hsg-assignments@umd.edu.

Students may cancel their On-Campus Housing and Dining Agreement by July 20 without financial penalty if you notify us with your request to cancel by Monday, July 20, 2020, at 5:00 p.m. by sending an email to reslife@umd.edu that includes your name, UID and reason for canceling. If you have questions that might help you evaluate your options or make a decision, please feel free to contact our staff at (301) 314-2100 or reslife@umd.edu.

Resident Expectations

Yes, students will be required to participate in online training and awareness related to COVID-19 before the start of the fall semester as a way to prepare for how to be an informed, engaged campus community member as we continue to live with the impact of coronavirus in our community. This training will likely culminate in students taking a pledge to act in a manner that helps to keep themselves and others around them safe and healthy.

Yes, all campus community members will need to wear a face covering when on campus, including within the residence halls whenever outside your room. We all need to work together this coming semester to support the overall health and well-being of our residence hall and campus community and public health guidance states the use of face coverings helps to reduce the spread of the virus.

Research has shown that wearing a face covering protects you and protects others. We found this PSA from the Czech Republic to be quite informative.

Community Development, Staff Assistance & Services

Providing opportunities for students to get to know each other and build community is one of our highest priorities. We are using the summer to create plans for opportunities for students to interact, meet new friends, and engage with one another while remaining consistent with public health recommendations and physical distancing requirements.

Engagement with peers is an important part of the college residential experience. Those connections and engagements are likely to look a little different this fall - done in smaller groups where physical distancing is more easily accomplished and through the use of technology. Our staff are developing plans for opportunities for students to interact, meet new friends, and engage with one another while remaining consistent with public health recommendations and physical distancing requirements. 

Residents will have opportunities to participate in community and campus events, and in leadership opportunities in the residence halls and across campus. Students who have been invited to participate in one of our campus’s Living-Learning Programs will also have opportunities to meet and engage with fellow program participants in class and within the residence halls.

As with all things this coming fall, engaging in these activities may look different than in the past with smaller in-person gatherings, virtual connection activities, and being mindful of personal space and physical distancing; yet students will have many opportunities to learn, connect, engage and grow together.

As always, Resident Life staff will be available to provide support, guidance, and assistance to students.Every resident will have an assigned Resident Assistant who will help them navigate both the rights and the responsibilities that come along with living in a residence hall community. We will also continue to operate residence hall Service Desks where students receive mail and packages and also where students can contact our staff if they have questions or concerns. Additionally, Residential Facilities staff will continue to provide housekeeping and maintenance services to all residence halls.

Interactions between students and our staff will be guided by public health recommendations related to physical distancing so students should expect that some contact with our staff may be in person, in a physically distanced way, and some contact and connection will be done virtually.

Campus life will look different this fall and our team will adjust operations and services so they can be provided safely, efficiently, and in ways that align with current and evolving public health guidelines for physical distancing and for group gathering limitations.

For example, cleaning of "high-touch" surfaces will be increased and the focus of our housekeeping and maintenance staff will be on maintaining a clean and healthy environment following applicable CDC guidelines related to cleaning and disinfection and ASHRAE guidelines for the maintenance of ventilation systems.

Residents will also continue to always have access to a Resident Life staff member, including after-hours in the event of emergencies. Residence hall service desk hours may be reduced and “contactless” services such as spare key loan and package pick-up will be employed. Places where students typically gather within the residence halls such as lobbies, kitchens, and even stairwells and elevators will look different and may include directional signage, use limitations, and physical distancing reminders. Practices and policies related to visitors in the residence halls may also need to be modified and adapted in support of the residence hall community’s health and well-being.

Residence Hall Opening and Move-In

Staff from across the University are working hard to prepare for the gradual, phased return to campus. Staff in Resident Life and Residential Facilities are busy preparing the residence halls for the fall semester and are working to adapt residence hall move-in plans to allow for physical distancing during the move-in process. We will keep students updated and informed via email and updates to our website if schedule adjustments are necessary.

New, incoming students with confirmed residence hall room assignments traditionally have move-in scheduled over the course of two days in advance of returning residents. Currently, Fall move-in is scheduled for August 27-30 however this is subject to change. We are working on move-in options that take into consideration physical distancing guidelines. Once finalized, students’ exact move-in date and time will be posted in the student's housing profile. We expect to finalize move-in dates, times and appointments by late July.

We will begin the fall semester with classes starting on August 31, 2020 as scheduled.