• Spring 2021 FAQ

Updated Jan. 4, 2021

This page is regularly updated. Check back for the most current information, email specific questions to [email protected], and visit the Safe Campus website for more University information.

Be well. Be prepared.

The fall semester was unlike any other, but students, staff, and faculty alike stepped up to take vital prevention measures seriously and slow the spread of COVID-19. We welcome new and returning residents to join our continued commitment to the health and safety of everyone on campus. Your diligence will be an essential part of getting one another through the coming semester, to vaccine distribution, and eventually back to a more familiar form of campus life.

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

Before returning to campus

Community safety remains a top priority. Physical distancing, face coverings, handwashing, testing, and other healthy behaviors are pivotal to reducing the spread of COVID-19 and ensuring a successful return to campus. 

  • Lay low before you go: Ten days before returning to campus, limit interactions with others to reduce chances of COVID-19 exposure.
  • Get tested: Those concerned about a possible COVID-19 exposure before returning to campus should be tested. Additional testing guidance will be coming in early January.
  • Isolate: Students who test positive prior to returning to campus should isolate at home for at least 10 days after they no longer have symptoms.

Maroon and Gold Sunrise Plan 2.0

Similar to the fall semester, students in residence halls will follow a phased approach to accessing campus and the surrounding community. While the “Steps” in Maroon and Gold Sunrise Plan do not apply to University apartments, these students are expected to adhere to all health and safety precautions and steps noted above—lay low, get tested, and isolate—to slow the spread of COVID-19. 

Spring Step One: Stay Home
Upon move-in, residence hall students will live and learn almost exclusively within their building but may attend in-person classes and visit on-campus locations. Residents may not visit other residence halls, area businesses, or off-campus residences. Doors are monitored after 10 pm. 

Find more information and FAQs on housing.umn.edu/mg-sunrise.


Spring move-in is tentatively scheduled for January 7 for new apartment students, January 15 for new residence hall students, and January 16-18 for returning residence hall students.

All residence hall students will be required to schedule a move-in appointment, which allows us to work together to keep our community safe from the start. New residents will have 60-minute blocks to move in and be permitted 1-2 helpers during their appointment. Returning residents will have 30-minute windows for being dropped off and to move back in. Carts will be available to check out from the Information Desk. Look for detailed instructions via email in early January. 

Students are encouraged to schedule an on-campus COVID-19 test within 24 hours of their confirmed move-in time through MTest at RecWell through the patient portal at Boynton Health

Illustration of a variety of people wearing face coverings

Slow the spread

Remember, those who contract COVID-19 are infectious beginning 48 hours before they develop symptoms—and some people never develop symptoms. DO NOT wait until you receive a positive test result to inform the University of your symptoms or exposure to an individual with COVID-19. Remain as isolated as possible in your assigned room to avoid spreading illness until you receive your test results and further direction from health professionals.

Quickly moving into isolation or quarantine housing is essential for reducing the spread of COVID-19 in our campus community, and University staff are here to support you. Current residents who are feeling ill or experiencing symptoms of respiratory illness of any kind—with fever and cough—should:

Learn more about the On-Campus Student process and testing options from Boynton/MTest.

Health & Safety

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.

When should I get tested?

This is a dangerous phase of this pandemic, and testing for COVID-19 is a key part of controlling the spread. Many people are spreading the virus before they know they have it, and even small groups have risk. Get tested and keep doing your part to slow the spread and protect your campus and home communities. 

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:

Remember that community spread is most likely to happen in gatherings of all sizes, and 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. Protect yourself and others by washing hands, masking, and staying six feet apart.

Review the On-Campus Student Flowchart to see the full process and key terms.

Testing Options

We encourage all residents to get a COVID-19 test to know their COVID status and prevent the spread of the virus. Remember, those who contract COVID-19 are infectious beginning 48 hours before they develop symptoms—and some people never develop symptoms.

MTest through Boynton Health

MN Department of Health Community Testing

What happens if a resident tests positive for COVID-19?

Housing & Residential Life works in close partnership with Boynton Health to address cases of COVID-19 that arise in our residential communities. Boynton staff work with HRL if a student receives a positive test result or is confirmed to have been in close contact with someone with a positive COVID case. On-campus residents have access to isolation and quarantine spaces, which HRL manages following guidance from the CDC, MN Department of Health, and Boynton Health. 

Quarantine guidelines

14-day Quarantine
  • If you have a roommate and your roommate tests positive, you must quarantine for 14 days.
  • If you are exposed to a positive case outside of your household (i.e., an individual with whom you do not live with), this is the safest option for reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
10-day Quarantine

As Housing & Residential Life can quickly isolate and quarantine roommates, this option will be considered only when a student:

  • takes a COVID-19 test 7 to 10 days after exposure and receives a negative test result;
  • has no symptoms; and
  • complies with Boynton Health Quarantine and Isolation Support Team instructions.

7-day Quarantine


As it may be difficult to stay away from others, and due to how students live and interact inside residence halls, Boynton Health and Housing & Residential Life will not be providing a 7-day quarantine option. This is in accordance with Minnesota Department of Health guidelines.


Isolation guidelines

On-campus housing residents who have tested positive will receive guidance from Boynton Health and Housing & Residential Life on isolation housing.

Students will be released from isolation by medical professionals when they have recovered and are no longer displaying symptoms.

Learn more about the On-Campus Student process and testing options from Boynton/MTest.

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.

Face Coverings (Masks)

Are face coverings required in my building?

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.

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

Are face coverings required if I have guests in my room?

The University’s face covering protocol requires use of face coverings at all times when in any enclosed or indoor space on University campuses and properties. While the protocol includes an exception for roommates inside their assigned room, face coverings are required for everyone in the room when guests are present to slow the spread of COVID-19. 

Additionally, maximum occupancy rules, including those outlined in the Maroon and Gold Sunrise Plan, should always be followed within residential spaces. 

Are face coverings required if I am in my room (alone or with my roommate) and the door is open?

You do not need to wear a face covering as long as you are not closer than 6ft from the open door.  If someone comes to your doorway to speak with you, you should put on a face covering. 

What are the requirements if I am in a lounge?

If you are alone in a community room with a closed door (e.g. small study room) you do not need to wear a face covering. You should have a face covering with you to wear if someone comes to the door.

You should wear a face covering if you are in a lounge with no door or an open door where anyone could walk into at any point to protect yourself and others.

Eating in community spaces

You may remove your face covering to eat or drink. The face covering should be removed only for the amount of time it takes to take a bite of food or drink of beverage and then immediately put back on again.  

Do I need to wear a face covering in a community bathroom?

You should wear a face covering while in a community bathroom unless you are actively showering, brushing your teeth, or washing your face. 

Time without a face covering should be minimized as much as possible and physical distancing should be followed whenever possible.

Do I need to wear a face covering if I am only out of my room briefly?

Yes, you need to wear a face covering any time you leave your room, regardless of how long you are out of your room or if anyone else is present (e.g., quickly walking across the hall or going to the water fountain).

Residential Life

How will I connect with other students?

We are proud to offer our residents a safe and stable environment to live while pursuing their academic goals. However, it is critical that we all do our part to slow the spread of COVID-19 by staying at least 6 feet away from others. This means the opportunity to make connections with other students may take more time than it would in a typical year.

That said, limiting in-person contact does not mean you need to be emotionally isolated. We encourage students to set up lots of calls and virtual hangouts with friends and family to stay connected to your support network. Additionally, HRL building teams and campus resources remain available to provide individual student support for mental health and wellbeing.

In your building

Your Community Advisor and other Housing staff are an email, phone call, Google hangout, or Zoom meeting away. All activities provided by Housing & Residential Life will be virtual. This spring, residents will be able to use our Groups program to create small activities and meet other residents with similar interests. 

Residents also have access to use community spaces in their assigned building (e.g. lounges, tech labs, laundry, etc.) at any time, respecting posted occupancy and other requirements. 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.

Campus resources

Visit the following websites for additional U of M resources and to find opportunities to get involved with the Golden Gopher community:

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).

Maroon and Gold Sunrise Plan

Plan expectations such as restrictions regarding guests supersede Housing & Residential Life’s community policies. Your housing contract requires you to abide by all University policies, rules, or regulations, including those outlined in the Maroon and Gold Sunrise Plan (section 23). 

We expect students to follow the Plan as the best way to keep themselves and others safe and healthy, with the understanding that disciplinary action may be taken when expectations are not met.

Contracts & Dining

Will my contract or rates change?

Housing Contracts

All updates to the 2020-2021 contract were finalized July 1, 2020. Spring housing and meal plan charges will be visible on your student account after January 7.  

Helpful links

How will dining centers work?

The M Dining team works 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. One of those important measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 is for students to only visit their assigned dining center.

Meal plan changes for new residents will not be accepted after Friday, January 29, 2021. 

Safety Requirements

Dining will be grab-and-go only for at least the first two weeks of the spring semester, and students will use a University-provided reusable To-Go container to take meals from your assigned dining center (with access to single-use, compostable containers as needed). Students must use the OpenTable reservation system, which improves physical distancing, manages room occupancy, and decreases wait times.

When visiting your dining center, please ensure you are adhering to the following required safety guidelines. Also, consider adjusting your schedule to avoid peak dinner hours from 5:30 - 7:30 pm and order allergen-friendly meals online through GrubHub

During Grab-and-Go

  • All meals will be Grab and Go at this time
  • Students must use the OpenTable reservation system, and arrive within 10 minutes of their reserved time.
  • Follow all signage and stay at least six feet from others
  • Wear a face covering at all times.
  • Use clean to-go containers when revisiting the food stations. Dirty containers may be exchanged for a clean one at the dining entrance.

During Seated Meals

  • Follow all signage, decals noting where you may sit, and stay at least six feet from others, with the exception of dining with your roommate.
  • Do not move tables and chairs.
  • Wear a face covering and only remove it to eat or drink. Be sure to put your face covering on after you are done eating and as you exit the area.
  • Use clean to-go containers when revisiting the food stations. Dirty containers may be exchanged for a clean one at the dining entrance.
  • Limit your dining time at tables to 30 minutes. Exit as soon as you are done with your meal to free up space for other diners.
  • Do not wait for seating. If no seats are available, you will need to exit the dining center with your meal. 
  • Sit at a table with a green “clean” disk and flip the disk to “dirty” as you are leaving; this will signal to our staff that the table is ready for to be cleaned and sanitized

Your support for the guidelines above will ensure that we can remain open and fully support your dining needs. Please remember that dining managers are on-site during food service times and can immediately address any of your concerns. Check the M Dining site for updates and for more information on special diets

Will I have roommates this year?

Building occupancy was changed for the 2020-21 academic year in order to support community safety. 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.

Can I cancel my contract?

If you have determined that you are no longer interested in living on campus this spring, contact us as soon as possible. We are happy to discuss your options to cancel your housing and dining contract.

Visit housing.umn.edu/cancel for instructions and more information. Remember to refer to the 2020-21-contract to see which terms and provisions may apply to your contract type.

    • 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 & Family Info

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

      Housing & Residential Life

      M Dining

      Parent & Family Program