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Resident Expectations and Experience

Frequently asked questions about the residential expectations and experience during COVID-19.

What is the new criteria for being considered for on-campus housing?

  • In the event that demand of housing is greater than capacity, we have identified factors for issuing housing offers that prioritize student academic success. Residential Life, in collaboration with Academic Affairs, has established new criteria for prioritizing on-campus housing offers for the fall semester:
    • Students registered in at least one (1) in-person or hybrid class or a predetermined University affiliation or sponsorship by a university department that requires access to University facilities in order to fulfill academic commitments.
      • This includes but is not limited to research facilities, labs, and athletic training facilities.
    • Participation in first-year academic cohort programs, including but not limited to scholars programs and Living Learning Communities (LLCs).
    • Students’ distance from campus based on permanent address (students with addresses greater than 30 miles from campus will be given stronger consideration) and international students.
    • Students with an approved medical housing accommodation through Student Disability Services ( that requires them to live on campus.
    • Students identified as having exceptional need for housing.
    • Please note that on-campus employment and student club and organization affiliation are not priority factors at this time.
  • All student housing needs are not identified by these categories; therefore, UMBC staff will work to review individual requests for on-campus housing through the Fall Housing Wait List Application. Our priority in these decisions will be based on student need for safe and secure housing or for whom on- campus housing is necessary to fulfill their academic requirements.

What are the new resident expectations?

  • Students will be responsible for abiding by the policies and expectations outlined in the UMBC Retriever Community Agreement, 2020-2021 Student Code of Conduct and Addendum and the UMBC Residential Rights and Responsibilities Guide.
  • Students who meet the priority criteria will be required to complete a new housing license.
  • In order to maintain social distancing, move-in will take place over a series of several days. More information will be shared with students in mid-July when assignment information is communicated.
  • The term of the license will be for part of the fall semester only (through November 25, 2020).
  • All students are expected to completely vacate and remove their personal items by the end of the abbreviated fall housing term. Residential Life will work with students requiring a move-out exemption due to hardship. In the event that a staggered move-out is required, Residential Life will provide students with additional information.
  • Residents will be expected to abide by University expectations for social distancing, face covering, etc. Violations of the Retriever Community Agreement or the University’s COVID-19 emergency health and safety rules, policies, and expectations will be taken seriously and may result in removal of the student from on-campus housing.
  • Some common spaces in residence halls will be closed or adapted to maintain student safety.
  • Residents will not be permitted to have guests from outside their building/community.
  • Residents will share a bathroom with at least one other student.
  • Residential Life and UMBC staff will clean and sanitize common areas (laundry rooms, lounges, front desks, etc.).
  • Residents are responsible for cleaning and disinfecting their bedroom, bathroom, living room/kitchen (if applicable).
  • Residents who test positive for COVID-19 will be required to relocate and self-isolate; further expectations and protocol information will be shared with the campus community soon. Residents who require quarantine will be provided appropriate housing with additional expectations and protocols.
  • Residents are highly encouraged to limit travel, and should quarantine in their room if they do.
  • Residents assigned to halls and suites will be required to choose from the following meal plan options: The Ultimate, The Flexible 14, The Terrific 12, the Block 225. More detailed information on meal plans is coming soon.
  • Due to limited housing, returning residents who pre-selected a room may be reassigned.

Will I be expected to complete educational training related to COVID-19?

Yes. The University will provide online training for all students, faculty, and staff.

Will I be expected to wear a face covering on campus?

Yes, students are expected to wear a face covering when social distancing cannot be achieved. Students are welcome to remove their face covering in their private residence only when they are alone.

Will I have a roommate?

For the 2020-2021 academic year students will not share bedrooms as is usually the case in our traditional residence halls. However, you may share a bathroom, common area, and/or kitchen with at least one other person, depending upon the building you’re in.

Effective Fall 2021Residential Life plans to re-open our residential communities at increased occupancy for the 2021-22 academic year.

As a result, most Residential Life bedrooms will return to standard capacity for the 2021-2022 academic year:

  • Standard single bedrooms will house 1 student.
  • Standard double (2-person) bedrooms will house 2 students.
  • Standard Triple and Quad bedrooms will be converted to double occupancy bedrooms, and billed at the double room rate.
  • Students may share a bathroom with up to 3 other students.

Residential Life plans to convert a limited number of double occupancy bedrooms (Potomac Hall’s South Wing) to single occupancy bedrooms, at an increased room rate. This will allow students to have their own room and share a bathroom with no more than 1 other person.

Will lounges and common areas be available for students to use?

Some common spaces will be closed or adapted to maintain student safety. Signage and instructions about use will be placed in each area to denote maximum capacity.

Will there be opportunities for students to get to know others in their residence hall and community?

Of course! While the ways that we engage may look different, there will still be plenty of opportunities to meet others that live next door, down the hall, or elsewhere on campus.

How will students meet new people, learn, and engage with each other?

Residential Life and Campus Life staff are busy planning for the return of students to campus. While most events will occur online, there will be some events that occur
in person that meet health and safety guidelines.

Will staff be available on campus to assist in the fall?

Each resident will have a Resident Assistant (RA) to assist with any questions or concerns that may arise. In addition, Community Directors, who are full-time professional staff who live in our communities, are able to assist residents. Contact information for each Community Director can be found on each community webpage.

Will services and operations in the residence halls be different this fall?

Our goal is to ensure that residents have access to the same level of service that they would typically; however, COVID-19 guidance will change some of the ways that we provide that same service. We are working closely with campus partners to determine new practices and procedures that ensure the health of students and staff.

How can Off-Campus Student Services (OCSS) assist students who are planning to live off campus?

OCSS offers one-on-one appointments with readily available staff to provide support to any UMBC student (graduate, undergraduate) living off-campus. In order to schedule this meeting, please contact and staff will reach out to you directly.

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