• Fall 2020 FAQ

Updated September 17, 2020

Prepare your fall move-in plan

Community safety for residents and staff is a top priority.

Living on campus is a core part of the University of Minnesota experience and we are committed to fostering a safe, diverse, and inclusive housing experience for all residents. Things will look different this year. We’ll all share in the responsibility to slow the spread of COVID-19, from wearing masks to respecting physical distancing, limiting large gatherings, and staying in if we don’t feel well. Residential health and safety efforts are rooted in the most current science and based on guidance from federal, state and local health authorities.  

This continues to be a dynamic situation as well as a stressful time for many members of our community. We are all in this together. Be respectful and kind to one another.

This page is regularly updated. Please check back for the most current information. Email is best for specific questions: [email protected]. Visit the Safe Campus website for more information beyond on-campus housing.

Step One: Maroon and Gold Sunrise Plan

The Plan describes the four steps that students living in University residence halls will follow as they return to campus. Move-in marks the beginning of Step One, the approximately 10-day “stay home” period. As soon as a student completes their move-in, they should adhere to the expectations outlined in Step One. Find more information and FAQs on housing.umn.edu/mg-sunrise

Contracts & Assignments

Will my contract or rates change this year?

Move-In Delay 

Per the Board of Regents 8/24 decision, move-in for residence hall students will be delayed by at least two weeks. Prorated credits for housing and dining charges will be issued to all impacted contract holders.

Residence hall students may submit an online request to arrive prior to the new move-in period. Requests will only be considered for the most extenuating circumstances (e.g. international flights, those without a safe alternative, students with in-person instruction prior to the new move-in period). All requests are subject to approval. All existing early arrival approvals are under review and you may need to file a new request.

Contract Period

All updates to the 2020-2021 contract were finalized July 1, 2020. August 14 is the initial deadline for students assigned to residence halls to select either the shortened (ending 11/25) or full (ending 12/23) semester contract period. The full semester contract period is the default.

Log in to review or change your selection.

Your housing and meal plan charges will be visible on your student account the week of August 15. These charges will be on your September 7 billing statement. Students have the option to change their contract period through November 1, though changes after August 14 may impact financial aid disbursement. 

Residential meal plans are required for students assigned to residence halls. Residents with the Full Semester contract period will have the option of having a meal plan from November 29 – December 23, though it is not required during this period. 

Helpful links

Will my medical/dietary accommodations be supported?

The University of Minnesota is committed to providing equitable access for all students. The Disability Resource Center is the campus office that collaborates with students who have disabilities to provide and/or arrange reasonable accommodations.

Housing accommodations

If you have a disability or health condition which requires a specific housing accommodation such as a certain room type, accessible room, single user bathroom, etc., contact the Disability Resource Center at 612-626-1333 no later than June 22, 2020. Specific housing accommodations take time to arrange and space is limited. Requests submitted after June 22, 2020 are not guaranteed. More information can be found at housing.umn.edu/disability-resources.

Dietary needs

Students living in a residence hall are required to have a residential meal plan. M Dining will work with residents individually in regard to special dietary needs. Visit their website for more information on special diets and their staff dietitian. If you have a condition that requires health-related dietary accommodations, please work with your Disability Resource Center Access Consultant in addition to M Dining.

Returning students

If you are a returning student who has already contracted with us for the fall, we will still accommodate your needs. We may be unable to guarantee your original room, roommate(s) and/or building assignment.

Will I have roommates this year?

In order to support physical distancing, some rooms will be assigned fewer occupants. Both single and double rooms will be available in residence halls with no more than two people occupying rooms. Visit housing.umn.edu/move-in to review how to connect with your roommates, what to bring (and what NOT to bring), important dates, and more.

Creating a positive living experience for you and your roommates takes forethought and good communication during the most ideal circumstances, and these skills will be even more important this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Visit Living with Roommates for more.

Changes to Your Space

We’ve taken steps to help roommates share living spaces successfully while mitigating risks associated with COVID-19. All adjustments are based on guidance from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). 

  • Rooms were measured to ensure there is enough space to maintain the recommended 6 feet of physical distance while occupying your room at the same time as your roommate.
  • Beds are placed so you’ll be able to sleep with your head at least 6 feet away from your roommate.
  • Do your part to keep personal spaces clean by keeping a supply of hand sanitizer and other cleaning supplies in your room. 
  • Enhanced cleaning and signage in common areas will help remind community members about safety outside your room

The 2020-2021 Community Behavioral Standards include a policy on maximum occupancy for your room or apartment:

  • If you live in a single, your room’s maximum occupancy is 3. 
  • If you live in a double, your room’s maximum occupancy is 6.
  • If you live in Keeler, Radius, Wilkins, or Yudof, the maximum occupancy for your entire apartment is 10.

You are responsible for making sure you do not have any more than the maximum number of occupants in your room or apartment at any given time. Note: While masks are not required if only you and your roommate are present, masks must be worn by all present if there are guests in your space.

What support will there be for international students?

We recognize there may be travel or other challenges for international students this fall, and we are working to help students address any issues. International Students and Scholar Services (ISSS) can provide additional information to support international students. 

Move-In Delay & Early Arrival Housing

Per the Board of Regents 8/24 decision, move-in for residence hall students will be delayed by at least two weeks. 

Residence hall students may submit an online request to arrive prior to the new move-in period. Requests will only be considered for the most extenuating circumstances (e.g. international flights, those without a safe alternative, students with in-person instruction prior to the new move-in period).

All requests are subject to approval. All existing early arrival approvals are under review and you may need to file a new request.

International Travel

The Centers for Disease Control lifted the 14 day quarantine requirement for international travelers.

If you develop symptoms, even if mild, you should isolate yourself as quickly as possible and call a healthcare provider. Most students will call the Boynton Nurse Line at 612-625-3222.

Can I cancel or defer my contract to spring semester?

If you have determined that you are no longer interested in living on campus this fall, contact us as soon as possible. We are happy to discuss your options to cancel your housing and dining contract or defer your contract to spring semester. For those considering deferring to spring semester, please know you may not receive the same assignment. Refer to the 2020-21-contract to see which terms and provisions may apply to you.

We previously extended the deadline for new first-year students to cancel their housing contract and receive a refund of their $200 guarantee payment until the first day of in-person classes. For cancellations, visit housing.umn.edu/cancel. To defer to spring, email [email protected].

Moving In

When is fall move in?

Move-In Delay 

Per the Board of Regents 8/24 decision, move-in for residence hall students will be delayed by at least two weeks. Prorated credits for housing and dining charges will be issued to all impacted contract holders. Residence hall students may submit an online request to arrive prior to the new move-in period. Requests will only be considered for the most extenuating circumstances (e.g. international flights, those without a safe alternative, students with in-person instruction prior to the new move-in period). All requests are subject to approval.

As apartment contracts began August 15 and move-in is already underway, residents of Keeler, Radius, Wilkins, and Yudof may continue to move in.

Review detailed instructions, expectations, and requirements for residence hall move-in, September 15-20. Students will need to sign up for a date and time during the new residence hall move-in period. Details and instructions will be confirmed by September 4, 2020.

Before You Arrive

Each of us is asked to adhere to the steps to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Due to the infectious nature of COVID-19, we are also preparing for cases occurring in our community. In that spirit, we are asking all students to closely monitor their potential exposure to COVID-19 in the 14 days prior to arrival on campus, including avoiding group gatherings where physical distancing cannot be maintained.

Community safety is a top priority. No matter which building you are moving into, the following applies to all apartment and residence hall residents.

  • We strongly encourage students to talk with their family before coming to campus to make a contingency plan.  
  • Review steps students living on campus will take with a confirmed or possible COVID-19 diagnosis. 
  • Complete the COVID-19 Screening Form before your scheduled arrival (instructions for residence hall students will be sent 9/13). 

Move-In Day

If you or one of your helpers are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, do not come to campus before consulting Boynton Health or another healthcare provider. Your health and the health of your neighbors and building team are our first priority.

  • Continue to practice good health habits such as hand hygiene and maintaining at least six feet of physical distance from others.
  • Face coverings (masks) are required at all times in enclosed or indoor spaces on campus and outside where physical distancing is difficult. 
  • Roommates must coordinate in advance to move in at different times. 
  • There will not be additional move-in volunteers in the buildings.
  • No more than two helpers per student are permitted inside the building.
  • Pack smart and focus on essentials. Consider which items you might purchase after you are settled to streamline your move.
  • Respect posted signs noting occupancy requirements for shared spaces and elevators.

Maroon and Gold Sunrise Plan

Move-in marks the beginning of the approximately 10-day “stay home” period. As soon as a student completes their move-in, they should adhere to the expectations outlined in Step One. Only students assigned to the room are allowed in residential rooms during Step One, so move-in helpers will need to depart immediately after your move-in appointment.

During Step One, students will live and learn almost exclusively within their assigned residence hall. Review the Maroon and Gold Sunrise Plan and our Plan outline and FAQ to learn more about Step One, its expectations, and potential exceptions. Housing staff can help determine if a student’s individual circumstances align with any Step One exceptions.

What if I can't loft/unloft my bed during move-in?

Our staff does not loft or deloft beds prior to move-in, so some beds may already be lofted when you arrive. Students can change their bed configuration if needed (tools are available at the Information Desk) and/or submit a FixIt maintenance request after the move-in period if you need assistance with lofting.

Note: To support community safety, we will not offer the bunked bed configuration (one bed frame stacked on top of another) at this time. 

  • Lofted beds provide 55 inches of space below the bed.
  • Unlofted beds can be adjusted up to 27 inches above the floor to allow for extra storage.
  • Beds in most rooms can be lofted, but there are a few rooms in residence halls that cannot be altered due to space limitations

Visit Lofting & Bed Configuration for details.

Should I bring anything special this year?

This year more than ever, maintaining clean spaces is a shared responsibility. Please do your part to keep your personal spaces and surfaces clean. We recommend keeping a supply of hand sanitizer, antibacterial surface cleaner, and other cleaning supplies. 

You should also plan for at least 5-7 face covering (mask) options, a digital thermometer, and other personal healthcare items. Note: all community members are expected to comply with the State of Minnesota and University's face covering requirements, including outdoor spaces where distancing may be difficult. Note: The University also is working to make two cloth masks available at no cost for each student.

Find other recommended items, bed size information, and more at housing.umn.edu/bring.

Reminder: Check your family's homeowner’s insurance information in advance to see if your personal property is covered. If not, you may want to speak with your insurance provider about purchasing renter’s insurance.

Can I ship items to campus?

Packages are accepted at the residence hall and apartment information desks only if received through U.S. mail or by a bonded delivery service such as UPS, FedEx, etc. 

If a family member or other individual needs to drop something off for a resident, the student must be present to accept the delivery.

  • Apartment residents may receive packages starting August 15. 
  • Packages will not be accepted at residence halls before August 27

Health & Safety

What happens if a resident becomes ill?

Housing & Residential Life works in close partnership with Boynton Health to address cases of COVID-19 that arise in our residential communities. Boynton Health is also one of the approved testing centers for the State of Minnesota. 

We strongly recommend students and families make a contingency plan now in the event they are exposed to or test positive for COVID-19. Review the On-Campus Student Flowchart to see the full process and key terms.

Any student currently living in on-campus housing who is feeling ill or experiencing symptoms of respiratory illness of any kind—with fever and cough—should:

  • remain as isolated as possible in your assigned room to avoid spreading illness to others,
  • seek medical care from Boynton Health at 612-625-3222 during business hours (612-625-7900 for the after-hour Nurse Line) or your personal healthcare provider,
  • complete this form so that Boynton Health may follow up on medical attention, testing, and other resources.

Positive COVID Cases

Boynton will work with Housing & Residential Life if a student receives a positive test result or is confirmed to have been in close contact with someone with a positive COVID case. We will follow isolation and quarantine guidance from the CDC, MN Department of Health, and Boynton Health. We have reserved on-campus isolation and quarantine spaces with private bedrooms and bathrooms.

We will work with you to determine the best housing option and the next steps to support you. The best solution will depend on many factors. For some students, going to their family residence off campus may be the best and safest location for them to isolate themselves and receive any necessary care. For others who may be from out of town or for whom on-campus housing is their safest residence, you may be asked to isolate in your room. The University may also find you a different on-campus or near-campus housing option during your isolation period so you can avoid spreading COVID-19 to others. 

What can I do to be as safe as possible in my building?

All campus health and safety efforts will be based on the most current science as well as guidance from federal, state and local health authorities. Visit the Safe Campus website for details on the campus wide measures to be taken and the requirements being put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19.

In addition to COVID-19, there will likely be members of our community with common colds, influenza, or other illnesses over the course of the semester. Remind yourself and others to slow the spread of coronavirus and other illnesses by practicing good health habits and wearing masks.

  • Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Keep a supply of hand sanitizer (as possible).
  • Cover your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing.
  • Clean all high touch areas in your room or apartment.
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid crowded areas and maintain six feet of distance between yourself and others.
  • Wear a face covering (mask) when inside a campus building and when physical distancing is not possible.
  • Get adequate rest and eat well.
  • Stay home if you are sick. Self-isolate and contact Boynton Health or another healthcare provider for guidance.

If you can, plan to bring a personal thermometer, so you can monitor your health. Everyone’s “normal” temperature is different but if you notice significant changes this may indicate the start of illness. Generally, anything over 100.4F/38C would indicate a fever.

Are face coverings (masks) required in my building?

Effective July 1, all University of Minnesota students, faculty, staff, and visitors are required to use a cloth face covering (mask) at all times when in any enclosed or indoor spaces on campus. 

While there is an exception when you're inside your assigned on-campus residence hall or apartment, face coverings are required in all common spaces (hallways, bathrooms, dining, etc.). Face coverings are also required inside assigned rooms if any guests are in the space (following the guest policy) and if building staff need to enter to fulfill maintenance or other requests.

Additional campus exceptions:

  • When eating or drinking; however, physical distancing must be practiced.
  • When you are alone in a room or where a posted and official University notice indicates masks are not needed.
  • When you are alone in a motor vehicle.
  • If you are unable to wear a face covering while exercising at Rec Well or Athletics facilities.
  • In labs or other places that instead require use of a respirator.
  • If you require accommodations for health or disability reasons. On the Twin Cities campus, the Disability Resource Center can help identify needed accommodations.

The University's full face covering protocol can be found at the Return to Campus website

The University is working to make two cloth masks available at no cost for each student. Check the Safe Campus website for updated information.

As a reminder, it is common in many cultures, including in the U.S., for individuals to choose to wear masks as a way to minimize direct contact with airborne pathogens. The wearing of a mask should not be interpreted as an indication that the wearer is ill.  

How will we practice distancing in my building?

To slow the spread of the COVID-19, it is critical that we all do our part to keep physically apart from each other, or “socially distance.” This means staying at least 6 feet away from others.

We know that you may still want to connect with others living in your building, but remember to maintain appropriate social distancing at all times. Be mindful, respectful, and use good judgement for you and your neighbor’s benefit.

You will also notice posted occupancy numbers for common spaces. These are determined based on official guidance for the safety of all residents. If you develop any cold-like or COVID-19 symptoms, do your best to isolate and avoid using community spaces.

Why isn’t the University testing all students for COVID-19 when they move into on-campus housing?

As a University community, we have a shared commitment to protect one another with daily individual health monitoring, proper handwashing, physical distancing, and wearing face coverings. For students moving into on-campus housing, that shared commitment includes completing the COVID-19 Screening Form. It serves as evidence of the student’s health status prior to moving in. Instructions will be sent to residence hall students on September 13.

At this time, widespread testing of non-symptomatic individuals is not recommended by the Minnesota Department of Health or by the University’s public health team. We have seen other institutions experience rapid COVID-19 spread despite broad-based entry testing for those entering on-campus housing, which illustrates that COVID-19 testing only provides a snapshot of a moment in time. An individual infected with COVID-19 can still have a negative test result due to the timing of the testing process. 

Additionally, a negative test result can create a false sense of security, leading to lapses in true prevention measures that include physical distancing, consistent use of face coverings, and personal hygiene such as frequent hand washing.

How will the dining halls work?

The M Dining team has worked with the Minnesota Department of Health and the University Health and Safety team to implement recommended precautions while continuing to provide students with flexible and convenient meal options. Check the M Dining site for updates and for more information on special diets. Visit Dining & Meal Plans for the latest information on fall plans and rates.

To Go Containers
Students who have a required meal plan as part of their housing contract will be provided a reusable to go box, silverware and beverage container at the start of the school year for flexibility in where meals can be taken. Students will have the option to take their meal outside the facility to eat outside, in your room, lounge, etc. or dine in if seating is available. Seating will be limited in the dining halls to maintain physical distancing. 

Traffic Flow
Dining is redesigning the traffic flow and food stations at all of the dining halls. The goal is to ensure six feet of physical distance between people and to move everyone safely through the lines as quickly as possible.  

  • Students should either wash their hands or use hand sanitizer before entering the dining area. Hand sanitizer will be provided near entrances.
  • As students enter the dining hall, they will show their U Card to the greeter and tap/wave their card on the contactless reader. 
  • Each dining hall will have floor markings to indicate the path students should follow and as a visual guide for physical distancing.
  • To keep the traffic flowing and physical space between people, we ask you to not congregate in the serving area. 
  • When leaving the dining area, student will use marked exits to maintain physical distancing.  

Service Model
As much as possible, food will be served to students directly at the various food stations rather than students serving themselves. Self-serve beverage, condiment, and cereal stations will be monitored by staff to ensure students are wearing a mask, and maintaining six feet of physical distance. Additionally, staff will ensure frequent cleaning of high touch areas. To expedite the speed of service, each service line will be identical, containing two proteins, two starches, two vegetables, a vegetarian entree, a vegan entree, dessert and a selection of pre-packaged salads and sandwiches. 

If a student has food allergies or dietary restrictions, they may contact the M Dining Dietitian, Jenna Brott, at to discuss their situation and options, which may include using Grubhub to order food. 

Face Coverings
Following the University and statewide face covering policy, all students and staff will be required to wear face coverings while in the dining hall. Face coverings must be worn when in the serving area, passing through the dining hall, when entering or exiting the building in which the dining hall is located. They may be removed when eating or drinking; however, physical distancing practices still need to be observed. 

Seating capacity in all dining halls has been significantly reduced to maintain the six feet of physical distancing between chairs. Students should not move this furniture and sitting on the floor is not permitted. Anyone eating in the dining hall should depart as soon as they have finished their meal. Additionally, students need to make sure to take their to go box, silverware and beverage container with them for their next visit where they will exchange it for a clean set. If seats are not available, students should leave the dining room with their food and go to another area in the building or on campus to eat. 

Cleaning & Sanitation
M Dining has increased the frequency of cleaning and sanitation throughout all of the dining facilities. Tables and chairs will be cleaned between guests and wipes will be available for students to clean their area when they are finished. M Dining will close between lunch and dinner in all residence halls for deep cleaning between meal periods. 

Employee Health & Safety
Maintaining the health and safety of our employees is very important. All M Dining team members will be required to follow the employee guidelines outlined by the University, and face masks have been provided and are a required part of staff uniforms. 

How are you cleaning buildings?

We are following guidance from the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and will continue to adjust as new information emerges. Staff are cleaning high traffic points even more frequently than usual, including door handles, handrails, water filling stations, elevators, dining locations, laundry facilities, etc. 

Community bathrooms are cleaned by building custodians on a routine basis with increased frequency. As an additional preventive measure, some sinks will be deactivated to support distancing in community bathrooms. 

We will provide disinfectant cleaner in laundry rooms, community kitchens and computer labs for resident use between professional cleaning and sanitation. Hand sanitizer will also be provided in high traffic areas such as building lobbies as well as in or near single-user restrooms.

This is a shared responsibility. Please do your part to keep your spaces clean and to avoid sharing spaces and/or equipment. Note: Surfaces within private living areas and private bathrooms are cleaned by the residents of those units. 

Find more information about University cleaning procedures, hand sanitizer availability and other guidance by visiting Facilities Management’s site.

Residential Life

How will the Living Learning Community experience be different?

We are exploring how to offer residents opportunities to connect in new ways, including virtually. Gatherings and activities may need to be modified or reduced in size to allow for greater physical distancing and mitigate transmission risk.  

What kind of support will I have in my building?

Each building has a dedicated team of people to support you.

  • Each floor has a Community Advisor, an upper division student motivated to help you shape a healthy and unique college experience. 
  • Fellow U of M students staff Information Desks and Tech Lounges
  • On-site staff includes a Business Operations Supervisor, a Residence Director and Assistant Residence Director (who both live in the building), and a facilities team.

We recognize this time of social isolation and heightened health fears can take a toll. We have staff in each building who are an email, phone call, Google hangout, or Zoom meeting away. Students can also call the U of M Crisis Line at 612-301-4673 anytime or text "UMN" to 61222 on evenings and weekends.

Additional campus resources below:

What policies are in place and where can I learn more?

Our Community Behavioral Standards reflect a respect for the rights and responsibilities needed to foster engaged and inclusive community living experiences. Our staff partners with residents to create a culture where students can communicate with each other about concerns regarding noise and other personal behaviors. This includes respecting the University's new face covering requirements and physical distancing guidelines.

Residents who violate these standards, go through the Housing Student Conduct process and may be sanctioned. This process is designed to be educational rather than punitive and emphasizes the importance of personal responsibility, the value of fairness, and the crucial role of honesty for all members of the University community. 

We encourage all students to know their rights and what is expected of them as residents. Review updated policies on the Community Behavioral Standards web page, including more information on overnight guests (20), posted regulations (23), health and safety (30), and maximum occupancy (31).

    • Xenophobia & Bias

      Disease does not discriminate and racist behavior or stereotyping is not tolerated.

      If you experience harassment or discrimination, reach out to your Community Advisor or your building’s Residence Director. You can also report to the Bias Response and Referral Network.

      Our Community Behavioral Standards reflect a respect for the rights and responsibilities needed to foster engaged and inclusive community living experiences.

    • Parent Information

      Looking for updates? Stay in touch with the latest information from Housing and others by signing up for some of these following parent-focused emails.

      Housing & Residential Life

      M Dining

      Parent & Family Program