COVID-19 Residential Life Response

For the latest information on UMBC’s response to COVID-19, including campus wide updates and additional student support resources, please visit covid19.umbc.edu.

Safety, health, and well-being are top priorities in our on-campus residence communities and these priorities guide our decision making for fall semester. This includes educating students regarding campus expectations for social distancing, personal protective equipment (face coverings, sanitizer, etc.), and practices to support student health. Disinfectant as well as additional hand sanitizing stations will be readily available throughout the residential communities. Additionally, quarantine and isolation protocols are being developed to keep students and communities safe, in line with CDC and health professional guidelines.

Below are a list of Frequently asked questions about Residential Life’s response to COVID-19.

Are there plans to increase cleaning in public areas within the residence halls?

Yes, staff will increase the cleaning frequency of community restrooms, laundry rooms and high touch point areas such as elevator buttons, water fountains, and door handles. Additionally, spray bottles with disinfectant and paper towels will be available for student use in common areas to assist with overall sanitation.

What actions can students take to help keep themselves and their fellow community members safe and healthy this fall?

  • If you are sick, stay home and do not go to class or work.
  • Wear a face covering at all times indoors and outdoors when other people are nearby.
  • Keep appropriate distance between you and others.
  • Wash your hands frequently or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Wipe down shared surfaces in your bathroom and shared living spaces.

How many students live in the residence halls?

Traditionally 4,000 students live on campus in a combination of triple, double, and single suites and apartments in Residential Life and Walker Avenue Apartments. Due to the great care and responsibility our students have shown, efficient testing processes, and the downward trend in COVID positivity rates, Residential 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.

How will residence hall rooms be set up?

All rooms will remain set up as normal. For instance, a traditional shared bedroom will still have multiple sets of furniture even though only one resident will be assigned to the space. For images of room layouts, please visit reslife.umbc.edu/communities/.

Are the apartments reduced as well?

Effective Fall 2021, all apartments will be at full capacity.

What is the University doing to prepare in the event someone tests positive for COVID-19?

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. University experts, health professionals, faculty, and staff are working through extensive plans. The University will maintain a number of quarantine and isolation residential spaces available should an on-campus resident need to temporarily relocate during a quarantine or isolation period. Food delivery and academic accommodations are also being planned. We urge every student to have a plan for what they will do if they are exposed or become ill with COVID-19.

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 (sds.umbc.edu) 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 Agreement2020-2021 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.
  • 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?

Residential 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 OCSS@umbc.edu and staff will reach out to you directly.

Please note: Information about testing may change throughout the semester. Be sure to read all communications from Residential Life and from UMBC and check this page for the latest information.

What group are residential students in?

  • As a residential student, you are in Group A.

When do I need to test?

  • You will need to take two tests a week with three days between each test throughout the entire semester, including spring break.
    • West Hill, Terrace, and Walker Avenue Apartment residents should test on Mondays and Thursdays.
    • Harbor, Erickson and Patapsco Halls residents should test on Tuesdays and Fridays.
  • Please try to test before noon; this will allow you to receive your results within 24 hours and let us more effectively reach out to individuals with positive results.
  • Please note: If you’ve had a positive test result in the last 90 days, you may be exempt from testing. If you have not already reported your positive result* to the University, you must report here on or before Sunday at 5 p.m. If you have not had a positive test result in the last 90 days, you are required to test.  *Only report a test that occurred within 90 days if it was your first positive test.

What are the instructions for testing?

  • Test kits will be available 24/7.
  • Pick up your test kit(s) from your residence hall front desk, Walker Avenue Management Office, or the Apartment Community Center.
  • You may pick up two test kits at a time, but you should return each as soon as you open it and take the test. Do not perform multiple tests on the same day.
  • This will be a non-observed, self-administered test with a nasal swab.
  • If you have not already done so, you will need to download, install, and register the MG Scanner app; you can view instructions here. If you have already registered the app, you will simply need to scan a new specimen tube to submit your test.
  • Watch this instructional video.
  • Please try to test before noon; this will allow you to receive your results within 24 hours and let us more effectively reach out to individuals with positive results.
  • Return your test to the designated bin in True Grit’s Outtakes vestibule (during scheduled dining hours), the Walker Avenue Management Office, the Apartment Community Center, or the bin outside University Health Services.
  • Your results will be posted to your COVID Compliance Card in your myUMBC profile. It may take up to 72 hours for your results to be posted.
  • In addition to testing, you must continue to complete your symptom tracking seven days a week.

What happens if I can’t test on my scheduled days? What if I miss testing on my scheduled day?

  • Test on the next possible day within the same week.

I have questions about the testing app.

  • For support with the app, go here.
  • If you need technical assistance with downloading the app, call 410-455-3838 or visit rt.umbc.edu to enter a help request.

I have general questions about testing.

I have clinical questions about performing the test.

What will housing occupancy and capacity look like for the Fall?

Based the great care and responsibility our students have shown, efficient testing processes, and the downward trend in COVID positivity rates, Residential 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 will 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. For more information please visit Residential Life’s Response to COVID-19.

Can I request to live by myself?

Students should expect to share a bathroom/common spaces with up to three other students.

We will offer a select number of converted double bedrooms in the Potomac Hall community at a proposed increased room rate. This will allow students to have their own room and share a bathroom with no more than 1 other person. Students may indicate a preference for converted singles at the time of their housing offer. Spaces will be limited and will not be guaranteed.

Standard single bedrooms are available in all of our apartments and in select Harbor, Patapsco, and Susquehanna spaces for upperclass students and those with approved an approved medical accommodation.

Can I apply for fall housing?

Yes, students interested in living on campus this for the 2021-2022 academic year should complete the Housing Interest Application at umbc.edu/go/housing  For more information about the housing application process please visit reslife.umbc.edu/apply.

Is 2021-2022 housing guaranteed?

Students who complete the Interest Application by their priority deadline are guaranteed a housing offer.

Those who miss their priority deadline are welcome to apply and will be added to the housing wait list. Wait list offers are made throughout the summer and into the start of the Spring semester, as space permits. Students will remain on the wait list until we are able to make them an offer, which could be as early as May or as late as January (Spring semester).

Who is eligible to live on-campus this year?

Full-time undergraduate and graduate students are welcome to apply for housing. In the event that demand for housing is greater than capacity, we have identified factors that prioritize student academic success.

Can I apply for Walker Avenue Apartments?

Students interested in living at Walker Avenue Apartments  should indicate interest on their spring housing application. If you meet the criteria and Walker Avenue Apartments has the ability to house you, you may be referred to their staff.

Can I request to a roommate?

Students interested in requesting a roommate will receive instructions about requesting a roommate with their Housing Offer Letter.

Will we be assigned or do we get to select my room?

Currents students who participate in Housing Selection are able to pick their room for the 2021-2022 academic year. Newly admitted students and those who missed their priority deadline will be assigned by the Residential Life staff. Our team will refer to application preferences when assigning for the year.

When will I receive my fall housing assignment?

Students will receive their spring housing assignments in mid July.

When does the Fall semester begin?

The academic semester is scheduled to begin on August 31, 2021, with move-in tentatively beginning on August 28, 2021 for new students and August 30, 2021 for returning students. However, these dates are subject to change based on the recommendations of the University System of Maryland and UMBC leadership. For more information about Move-In please visit reslife.umbc.edu/move-in.

What are the housing rates?

Room and board rates can be found at https://reslife.umbc.edu/apply/housing-rates/

Can we stay on campus during breaks?

Students assigned to 9-month communities will be permitted to remain on campus during break periods. Students assigned to 8-month communities should plan to leave campus during Thanksgiving, Winter and Spring breaks.

Will there be a shortened fall semester?

At this time, UMBC anticipates housing, dining, and classes to continue in-person for the entire Fall semester.

If I do not live on campus in the fall, can I apply for spring?

Yes, students who are unsure about housing plans for the fall are welcome to submit an application for Spring 2022 housing. Spring housing applications will be available in October.  Please visit reslife.umbc.edu/apply for more information.

How do I submit a housing request for a medical/personal issue?

Students seeking an accommodation due to medical need should (1) indicate potential needs on the housing application and (2) work with Student Disability Services. While it’s helpful for our staff to know that you might have a need on your housing application, housing placement decisions are made based on the recommendations from Student Disability Services.

I’m autoimmune compromised, how can I ensure I will not share a space with more than 1 other student?

Students with an approved accommodation for a single occupancy room may choose to be assigned by the Residential Life staff, rather than participating in Housing Selection. Students with documented disabilities that would like to request a housing accommodation based on a disability/disabling condition will need to register with the Office of Student Disability Services (SDS) through Accommodate (via the online SDS Registration Form) and provide documentation of their disability and limitations that would require a modification to housing. Valerie Valentine at Student Disability Services: valerie@umbc.edu or 410-455-8496 is the recommended contact for students seeking housing accommodations.

Do I need to be vaccinated?

The University System of Maryland has announced that it will require COVID-19 vaccination for all students, faculty, and staff who will be on a Maryland campus in Fall 2021. We know that our community has many questions about exceptions, submitting vaccination status, and more. For more information please visit https://covid19.umbc.edu/vaccine/.