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Planning for Fall 2020

The UMass Dartmouth Pandemic Emergency Response Team (PERT) has released the Fall 2020 Re-Opening Plan to guide the campus community to a safe and succesful semester. Please visit our Planning for Fall 2020 website to review all planning information.

Fall 2020 Re-opening plan banner

Fall 2020 Student Frequently Asked Questions

After the July 15 Student Town Hall, UMass Dartmouth collected the most frequently asked questions from students and answered them below.

Watch the July 15 Student Town Hall

Have more questions? Please send them to corona.virus@umassd.edu.

What if I am feeling sick or have flu-like symptoms? 

Immediately isolate yourself and contact Health Service through the patient portal or by calling 508.999.8982.

Are face coverings mandatory? 

Yes, face coverings are required across campus.

How will safety measures be enforced? 

No matter what is happening in the world, we are always a connected community and thus there is a shared responsibility to maintain the health and safety of everyone on campus. We all must do our best to keep each other and ourselves safe. All students, faculty, and staff are required to sign the UMassD Shared Responsibility Compact that confirms each member of our community’s commitment to all UMass Dartmouth required safety practices.

How will testing be used on campus? 

All UMass Dartmouth residential students and commuter students and faculty that visit campus regularly will be tested weekly. All staff who have student-facing positions will also be tested weekly (e.g. the Bursar’s Office, Health Services, and Dining Services). The University anticipate it will conduct as many as 4,500 tests on campus every week. An on-campus team is currently developing the final testing logistics, including identifying student-facing positions, testing locations, and availability. Please note that test results will be available to the individual, healthcare providers in Health Services, and reported directly to the Department of Public Health. All these systems and procedures are fully HIPAA/FERPA compliant.

What if someone on campus tests positive for COVID-19? 

The individual will be placed in isolation (at home or on-campus), the local board of health will be contacted, contact tracing will occur and any individuals identified as a close contact will be notified to quarantine (at home or on campus) and undergo testing.

How will isolation and quarantine work on campus? 

Isolation is for individuals who have tested positive or show symptoms of COVID-19 and are awaiting test results. Quarantine is for an individual who is a close contact of a positive COVID-19 individual, awaiting test results, or in quarantine due to travel and being monitored for the development of symptoms. The periods of isolation and quarantine are defined by the Department of Public Health. A residential student would be asked to isolate/quarantine at home if possible and if not possible would be assigned to an isolation/quarantine room on campus. The student would be asked to bring any items needed during the isolation/quarantine period with them to Health Services since they would not be able to return to their assigned housing unit. Students isolated/quarantined on campus would be provided with meals and additional support.

Is there an amount of positive COVID-19 cases on campus or in the Commonwealth that would cause us to close?

All positive cases are reported to the Department of Public Health. The Department of Public Health would consult with the state epidemiologist to determine when or if the closure of the campus is necessary. As we saw in the spring, widespread community transmission throughout the Commonwealth forced the Governor to enact a stay at home advisory.

I am at a high-risk, what are my options? 

Guidance from the CDC and the Department of Public Health clearly states that an individual at high risk should limit contact with others and consider remote learning options from home. It would be recommended that you discuss your high-risk condition with your healthcare provider to make this decision.

Will the University use contact tracing? 

Yes, Health Services will collaborate with the local board of health to interview the individual who has tested positive for COVID-19 to identify individuals who have been close contacts (close, direct contact for greater than 15 minutes). Close contacts will be contacted, quarantined, and referred for testing.

How will the University clean common areas?

There will be increased and enhanced cleaning in all campus buildings, and especially high traffic areas. Our Facilities team will use a specific protocol if an individual who has been on campus reports being sick or tests positive for COVID-19.

How will safety protocols and policies be communicated?

The University will utilize all available forms of communication, including, but not limited to email, social media, and physical signage to reinforce safety policies and protocols.  

UMass Dartmouth will offer a combination of face-to-face, blended, and remote learning courses this fall. Students will have the option to take a combination of these modalities.

  • Face-to-face: students and faculty meet for all scheduled classes in the classroom/lab/studio.
  • Blended: part of the coursework is completed asynchronously remotely, and another part is completed in a face-to-face setting.
  • Remote learning: the entire course is conducted using teleconferencing software and other technologies. Classes may be conducted synchronously (where instructor and students meet virtually at set times) or asynchronously (course designed to be delivered virtually and instructor and students connect through online tools when needed or scheduled meetings). 

When will we know what courses are remote and which are face-to-face?

All decisions regarding the modalities of courses are in COIN.

Is each class offered remotely, blended, and face-to-face?

The University is trying to offer as many options as possible for students either that want an on-campus learning experience or want to learn remotely from their homes. Unfortunately, not every course will be available in each modality. Please contact your academic advisor to discuss your best options for each course after they have been finalized.

Do I have to re-register for courses if they are in a different modality?

No. When you log into your COIN account, you will see the modality in which your currently enrolled classes are being offered. If you need to make any changes to your schedule, you should contact your academic advisor.

Are modalities indicated in COIN?

Yes. Each course will be marked according to its modality in COIN, but blended modality has many different forms. Students may want to contact faculty to identify what form of blended instruction is being planned for the course.

Will labs and studio classes be offered remotely?

Your department chairperson will send a communication on how labs and studios will be handled. Some are being offered using virtual tools and remote lab kits, but others will be offered face-to-face in a laboratory setting.

Can a blended course be done 100% online?

The form of blended classes will be decided by the individual instructor. You should contact your instructor for more details. All blended courses will have a face-to-face instructional component, but many can be completed by using recorded lectures or live streaming.

Can international students take all courses online?

Yes, if you were enrolled full-time in the spring 2020 semester and are returning to continue your studies full-time in fall 2020 semester, then due to the recent reversal of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement regulations, you may take all courses online. Please note, this guidance does not apply to new, incoming international students. Fore more information, please reach out to International Student and Scholar Center via email intl_office@umassd.edu.                     

As a returning international student, may I remain outside of the U.S. or return to campus? 

As a returning international student you may do either. Your underlying F-1 status does not change and remains valid as long as you are enrolled full-time or approved for a reduced course load.

Will I be bumped from a class due to class size restrictions?

No. Any student that needs a course to make progress in their program will get a seat in that class.

Can I defer a semester?

Any deferral could have academic implications and could delay your graduation date. Please discuss this issue with your academic advisor.

Will the tuition price be the same for all modalities?

Yes. Regardless of the mode of delivery, these classes will be charged the current day rate tuition as approved by the Board of Trustees.

Are internships allowed?

Yes, but internship opportunities will be limited due to COVID-19 related restrictions.

Are we going all remote learning after Thanksgiving?

Yes. Beginning on November 30, 2020, all instructional activities, including final exams, will be offered remotely to minimize the risk of any potential outbreak caused by students and faculty returning from travel. 

Am I allowed to have roommates? 

While we are planning for that possibility, we are awaiting final guidance from local, state, and federal public health officials. At this time, we have asked students to indicate if they wish to be housed as a “household” or “family” unit in the event we can proceed. The request must be mutual for all students involved in the process.

How will room charges work for single occupancy rooms?

If you live in a single, you will be charged the normal rate for a single. If you live in a double by yourself, you will be charged the normal rate for a single bed in a double.

Do I have to quarantine if I come from out of state?

Starting on August 1, anyone arriving or returning to Massachusetts must quarantine for 14 days unless they:

  • are coming from a lower-risk state, which currently includes Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, or Vermont, or
  • can produce, on request, proof of negative viral RT-PCR SARSCoV2 test result from a test administered on a sample within 72 hours before arrival in Massachusetts, or
  • meet the exemption criteria.

Additionally, travelers must fill out the Massachusetts Travel Form. This simple form will help contact tracing efforts in the event you or a close contact contracts COVID-19.

The University will have dedicated spaces in residence halls available for residential students to self-quarantine. The earliest available self-quarantine date available on campus for travel purposes will be Sunday, August 16. The nightly charge for housing before students’ formally designated arrival date is $31/day and will be billed to the student’s account. If you need to arrive early to self-quarantine, please contact Housing & Residential Education at 508.999.8140 or housing@umassd.edu.

Do I have to move out for Thanksgiving break?

All residence halls will be open after Thanksgiving, but the University encourages students to remain at home after break since the semester will finish remotely and there is an expected increase risk of virus spread at this time. 

Students choosing not to return after Thanksgiving will be asked to complete a proper checkout, including key return. All personal property may remain, but students will be encouraged to take electronics and higher value items with them. There will be no room and board reimbursement for students that checkout before Thanksgiving. 

Students choosing to return after Thanksgiving will complete a proper check out at the end of their fall semester final exams. Please note that students returning from areas other than New England, New York, and New Jersey must self-quarantine for 14 days if the current guidance from the Governor remains in place. 

Residence halls formally close for the fall semester at 5 pm on Tuesday, December 17, 2020.  

Will student apartments be impacted?

Reduced occupancy in Woodland apartments and Cedar Dell townhouses is a possibility unless a “household” or “family” arrangement is available and selected by all assigned occupants.

Am I allowed to have guests?

There will be no guests allowed, including other students not assigned to that specific room, suite, apartment, or townhouse for the first two weeks of the semester. At that time, the COVID-19 guest restriction will be reviewed in the context of existing conditions on campus and the best guidance from local, state, and federal public health officials.

If I am remote this fall, how do I move back to campus for spring?

On or around December 1, the Housing Office will reach out to all students – both residential and commuter – to assess spring housing and dining intentions.

How will shared bathrooms work?

Dependent on the guidance received, resident students may be assigned a specific bathroom including designated toilet and shower use, which would facilitate contact tracing in the event of a reported case of COVID-19. 

How many people can help me move in?

Only one person will be allowed to enter the residence hall with the student for assistance on move-in day. The student and that one person will need to register in advance. Facial coverings, social distancing, frequent hand washing, and disinfecting high touch surfaces will be required during move-in. Moving bins will be available and elevator use will be limited.

Do I have to register for a time to move in?

Yes, move-in dates and times will be made available to promote a socially distant and contactless check-in/move-in process. Students must sign up for a 1-2-hour move-in window in advance based on students’ classification and room assignments. Move-in dates include:

  • New, incoming first-year students: August 28, 29 or 30
  • New, incoming transfer or graduate students: August 30 or 31
  • Returning students: August 31 or September 1 

Should I pack lightly?

Yes, students and families should pack lightly as move-in times will be short to promote social distancing. If able, students can move-in more belongings further into the semester during less congested time slots.

Do I have to quarantine if I come from out of state?

Starting on August 1, anyone arriving or returning to Massachusetts must quarantine for 14 days unless they:

  • are coming from a lower-risk state, which currently includes Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, or Vermont, or
  • can produce, on request, proof of negative viral RT-PCR SARSCoV2 test result from a test administered on a sample within 72 hours before arrival in Massachusetts, or
  • meet the exemption criteria.

Additionally, travelers must fill out the Massachusetts Travel Form. This simple form will help contact tracing efforts in the event you or a close contact contracts COVID-19.

The University will have dedicated spaces in residence halls available for residential students to self-quarantine. The earliest available self-quarantine date available on campus for travel purposes will be Sunday, August 16. The nightly charge for housing before students’ formally designated arrival date is $31/day and will be billed to the student’s account. If you need to arrive early to self-quarantine, please contact Housing & Residential Education at 508.999.8140 or housing@umassd.edu.

Are there spaces for commuters to hang out when on campus?

Seating in common areas will be reduced to comply with social distancing requirements. The Library will be open for use with new social distancing requirements as well.

How will dining commons work?

Students will have several options for socially distanced dining options on campus. The University will open two dining halls with reduced occupancy seating - including the Grove and the Marketplace. Students will have the option to select grab and go items or place advanced online orders for pick up. 

Can student-athletes move in early?

No.

Will there intercollegiate sports during the fall semester?

On July 16, the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference suspended the fall 2020 football season for UMass Dartmouth. On July 28, the Little East Conference announced it would not hold sporting competitions or championships for the fall 2020 semester. The University will also not sponsor any non-conference competition.

Unfortunately, this means all Corsair fall and winter athletic programs will be suspended through December 31, 2020.

How can I access CARES Act funding?

Applications for students eligible for CARES ACT funding will be available for UMass Dartmouth students on August 10, 2020. Please visit our CARES ACT website for more info on applying.

Will I be able to use my merit scholarship if I am enrolling in remote courses?

Yes. For the fall 2020 semester, merit awards will be honored whether courses are delivered remotely or face-to-face.

How is my student bill processed?

Your student account includes charges (such as tuition and fees, on-campus housing and dining plans) and credits (such as scholarships, loans, and family payments). You will receive a monthly email notification on your account balance and payment for the balance due. Payment is due 30 days after charges are assessed. Please visit our billing information FAQ website for more information.

Can I still work on campus?

Yes, there will be opportunities to work on campus during the fall semester.

Can student clubs and intramural sports still meet?

Student clubs will be able to meet if all health and safety protocols and policies are followed. The University will decide on intramural sports before August 1, 2020.

Will the gym and fitness center be open?

The gym and fitness center will be open in a limited capacity due to the need for social distancing. For more information, please visit the Fitness Center website

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