Coronavirus FAQs for Residential Life

Coronavirus
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Content Updated: July 31, 2020

RESIDENCE HALL OCCUPANCY AND GUESTS 

Are residence halls operating at standard occupancy?

Yes. Undergraduate residence halls will operate at standard occupancy, though significantly enhanced cleaning and other adjustments in our common life will be necessary to keep one another safe. 

Can I visit a friend living in the residence halls? 

Yes, with restrictions. Non-resident student guests may visit undergraduate students living in the residence halls and in Fischer Graduate Residences, but only in common spaces to start the semester. Non-resident student guests must wear masks, observe physical distancing at all times and in all spaces, and be accompanied by a resident. The total number of people gathered in a common space at any one time cannot exceed the occupancy limits posted for the space, and no guests may stay overnight. 

Can other students be in my residence hall room? 

No. In order to protect student rooms as private spaces where masks and physical distancing are not required, only those students assigned to a residence hall room will be in the space to start the fall semester, and assigned roommates will be considered a “household” for purposes of contact tracing. During these early weeks of the fall semester, students should gather in hall common spaces with other students who are not their assigned roommates.

Can other students be in my undergraduate apartment at Fischer Graduate Residences?

No. In order to protect student rooms as private spaces where masks and physical distancing are not required, only those students assigned to an undergraduate apartment at Fischer will be in the space to start the fall semester, and assigned roommates will be considered a “household” for purposes of contact tracing. During these early weeks of the fall semester, students should gather in hall common spaces with other students who are not their assigned roommates.  

Can anyone other than roommates enter my residence hall room or undergraduate apartment at Fischer Graduate Residences?

Yes, but only in two very rare instances. Exceptions include when two guests per student may be in the student rooms and undergraduate apartments at Fischer to assist during move-in and move-out or when Hall Staff must enter student rooms in the halls or undergraduate apartments at Fischer for reasons of health, safety, or discipline. 

Do I need to wear a mask or practice physical distancing when I am in my room?

No, with two exceptions. Students and Hall Staff will not need to wear masks or practice physical distancing when they are in their assigned rooms, except in two very rare instances when someone not assigned to the room is approved to be present. Exceptions include when two guests per student will be in the student rooms in the halls and undergraduate apartments at Fischer to assist during move-in and move-out or when Hall Staff must enter student rooms in the halls  or undergraduate apartments at Fischer for reasons of health, safety, or discipline.

Is my rector, assistant rector or in-residence able to host guests?

Yes. In keeping with medical guidance for mitigating risk to staff, head staff (rectors and assistant rectors) and in-residence priests/faculty may host guests in their apartments if everyone is masked and physically distanced with an allowance for airflow, though guests may not include undergraduate students.

Can students meet with Hall Staff or in-residence in their apartments/rooms? 

Yes, though only by exception if extraordinary circumstances warrant it, which would be determined by Hall Staff or in-residence. Hall Staff and in-residence should avoid meeting in their apartments/rooms whenever possible; instead, to minimize risk to self and others, they should try to meet individually with students in the Rector or Hall Staff office or in alternative locations, including common space in and out of the hall or outside. University guidelines for masks and physical distancing should be followed accordingly.

Are overnight guests permitted? 

No. Overnight guests are not permitted in any of the undergraduate residence halls or in apartments of undergraduate students living at Fischer Graduate Residences. 

Are there any changes to parietals?

Yes. Similar to the practice utilized on all University breaks, midnight parietals will be in effect in the undergraduate residence halls for at least the first three weeks of the school year. Guests of the opposite sex may visit in all residence hall common spaces only between the hours of 9 AM  and midnight any day of the week, but they are always welcome in designated 24-hours spaces; same-sex guests are always welcome in all hall common spaces. Undergraduate students living at our co-ed Fischer Graduate Residences may visit with guests at the Fischer Community Center during regular hours of operation.

RESIDENCE HALL COMMON SPACE 

Do I need to wear a mask and observe physical distancing when in common spaces in my hall or in Fischer Graduate Residences? 

Yes. Masks and physical distancing are required in all common spaces, including: bathrooms, shower rooms, hallways, laundry rooms, social spaces, study lounges, study rooms, kitchens, food sales, fitness rooms, and chapels. 

How can I practice physical distancing in these common spaces?

Furniture will be marked to indicate physical distancing requirements, and students are asked to respect these markings and other posted signage reflecting occupancy limits and additional guidelines.  Students are asked not to move furniture in common spaces.

Do I need to clean common spaces after each use?

Students should use provided hand sanitizer in common spaces, and should use provided cleaning supplies to sanitize all hard and soft surfaces after use. Additionally, professional University staff are cleaning and sanitizing all high-touch surfaces and common spaces within the residence halls, including bathrooms and shower rooms, on a daily basis.  

How can I safely eat in common spaces?

Eating in common areas should be done judiciously on a limited basis (i.e., remove mask; take a sip of beverage or bite of a snack; put mask back on). Given the size of most residence hall common spaces, consuming carry-out meals in these spaces is discouraged, but not prohibited; whenever possible, carry-out meals should instead be consumed in spaces that minimize risk to self and others, including: outside; indoors in venues larger than residence hall common spaces  (e.g., locations in student centers marked for food and drink consumption); and in student rooms. 

How and when can I safely use the kitchens in my hall? 

Hall kitchens may be used only as an individual (except where occupancy is marked otherwise), always with masks on, observing physical distancing when joined to an adjacent lounge, and by appointment only to allow for frequent cleaning. Appointments will be available seven days per week from 4 PM until midnight. Appointment logs  (managed by a Hall Staff (Rector, AR, RA) or hall employee (e.g., hall clerk, hall steward, etc) should be retained for contact tracing purposes. 

Do I need to clean the kitchen after each use?

Yes. Each person is responsible for cleaning kitchen supplies and areas used during his/her appointment time, and the ability to use common kitchens is contingent on compliance.

Will food sales be available in my hall?

No, food sales will not be used to prepare or sell food; therefore, they will remain closed unless specifically requested for individual use, in which case all guidelines for common kitchen apply. 

How and when can I safely use the fitness room in my hall? 

Fitness rooms may be used only as an individual, always with masks on, and by appointment only to allow for frequent cleaning.Weight lifting that requires a spotter is prohibited, as fitness rooms will be for single use only.  Appointments will be available seven days per week from 4 PM until midnight, and appointment logs managed by a Hall Staff or hall employees should be retained for contact tracing purposes. 

Do I need to clean the fitness equipment after each use?

Yes, each person is responsible for cleaning the equipment and area used during his/her appointment time, and the ability to use fitness rooms is contingent on compliance. 

Is my hall chapel open?

Yes. Chapels will remain open 24/7 for individual prayer as well as for masses that adhere to requirements for masks and physical distancing.

Where will my hall’s Sunday Mass take place?

Sunday hall masses will be celebrated at a standing time in a space that allows for requirements for physical distancing. Based on hall size or the number of people in attendance, some halls will need to use a location outside of the residence halls to allow for compliance with physical distancing requirements. 

RESIDENCE HALL FACILITIES ISSUES 

How will hall bathrooms and shower facilities operate?

Students should use bathrooms and shower rooms only within their sections, and each student should restrict usage to the same 1-3 toilets and showers, which will aid contact tracing.

How can I safely use the shared bathroom sinks?

Students will be encouraged to use the private sinks in their rooms whenever possible, though sinks in the section bathrooms will remain operable to encourage frequent hand washing as well. 

How will I safely dry my hands?

In keeping with medical guidance, the University is either marking as inoperable or disabling or removing all hand dryers from bathrooms; instead, everyone will be expected to use disposable paper towels. 

Do I need to clean the hall bathrooms and shower facility after use?

No. Professional University staff cleaning and sanitizing all high-touch surfaces and common spaces within the residence halls, including hall bathrooms and shower rooms, on a daily basis.  

Will the single-use restrooms in my hall remain open?

Yes, but usage may be restricted at Rector discretion. 

My room has a private bathroom.  How can I safely use it?

Students with private shared bathrooms should be encouraged to keep all toiletries outside of the bathroom and only take them into the bathroom when needed to avoid toiletries (e.g., toothbrush) on shared surfaces. 

How can I safely use the elevators in my hall?

No more than two people should be in a cab at the same time. 

How can we keep physically distant in hallways?

Stay to the right in hallways and stairwells.

How can I safely use water fountains?

Water fountains and no-touch water stations will be active, but only for bottle-filling purposes. Signage should indicate that drinking from water fountains is not permitted. 

How can I safely use the printers in my hall?

High-touch surfaces on hall printers should be cleaned with supplies provided after use. 

My room is air conditioned.  Have these units been serviced?

Yes. all student room HVAC filters have been replaced this summer.

My room is not air conditioned.  How can I stay cool?

Utilities and Maintenance have conducted extensive research in managing potential warm conditions in the halls. Although there are no recommendations for central or common changes to ventilation in these facilities we do believe there are a number of occupant focused recommendations that are practical and effective in nature.  The best approaches during warm weather periods are:

  • Advise students to keep windows open during times of high outdoor temperatures
  • Advise students to keep their internal and corridor room doors open when possible to facilitate air flow
  • Encourage students to bring fans, including window type fans to create cross ventilation
  • Suggest students position secondary fans in each room to be in close proximity to and directed at the occupants to increase the evaporative cooling effect
  • Minimize use the of electronic devices that produce heat
  • Utilize interior lighting only during nighttime hours
  • Close window shades or blinds to reduce solar heat gain during the day
  • Avoid physical activity prior to bedtime
  • Consider taking a lukewarm shower
  • Utilize air-conditioned spaces available for cooling down
  • Stay well-hydrated

As an additional recommendation from Utilities and Maintenance, the EOC or Medical team could evaluate and recommend additional actions to be taken should an extreme heat event occur. 

RESIDENCE HALL COMMUNITY BUILDING

How will Hall Staff return to work and stay safe?

Similar to other units at the University, Hall Staff will be utilizing a teams approach. Hall Staff will be divided into thirds (Head Staff + RAs) to limit interaction among staff members and therefore protect redundancy within a team, and all Hall Staff Meetings will be done remotely by Zoom. If head staff has reason to meet with other head staff or RAs who are not on their team, they should consider meeting remotely if possible; if it is essential to meet in person, they should consider doing so outside and physically distant. Masks are required inside, though they are not required outside if there is sufficient room for physical distancing. 

Will Hall Staff and students be able to gather for individual meetings?

Yes. Meeting in-person is an option but there should also be an option to meet virtually. Hall Staff and in-residence may meet individually with students in the Rector or Hall Staff office, which will be assessed for reasonable modifications to assist compliance with University guidance about physical distancing; alternative locations include common space in and out of the hall or outside. University guidelines for masks and physical distancing should be followed accordingly. The Hall Staff person in-residence person using the Rector or Hall Staff office is responsible for cleaning and sanitizing the space between uses. University guidelines for masks and physical distancing should be followed accordingly. 

Can Hall Staff meet with students in their private living space?

Yes. Hall Staff and in-residence have discretion to meet in head staff (Rector & AR) and in-residence apartments or RA rooms only by exception if extraordinary circumstances warrant it. Masks and physical distancing are required, and Hall Staff will have a supply of surplus masks as needed.

Are group meetings allowed?

Yes. Group meetings are allowed and should be held virtually or outside whenever possible, though meeting in common spaces in the residence halls and in other spaces on campus is permitted. Anyone meeting in person should take attendance to allow for contact tracing. Gatherings in common spaces should not exceed the maximum attendance posted for the space or the max gathering capacity of 250, whichever is smaller. University guidelines for masks and physical distancing should be followed accordingly. 

What are the guidelines for using space outside of the residence halls?

Anyone wishing to reserve space outside of the residence halls must do so through SAO360 (Student Affairs’ event management system), or appropriate contact, and follow all facility requirements including adjusted COVID capacity, room configuration, food restrictions, and cleaning requirements. The University policy for each facility used must be followed, and hand sanitizer should be available at the entrance point for people to use upon entrance. When planning any event, there needs to be consideration for equipment that is shared and how it can be cleaned in between people touching it.

Will residence halls be able host hall programming events this fall?

Yes. Residence halls may host hall programming events, which should be held virtually or outside whenever possible, though meeting in common spaces in the residence halls and in other spaces on campus is permitted. Gatherings in common spaces should not exceed the maximum attendance posted for the space or the max gathering capacity of 250, whichever is smaller. Non-resident guests will be permitted in common spaces but must adhere to guidelines of the space, including wearing masks and observing physical distancing guidelines. University guidelines for masks and physical distancing should be followed accordingly.

Will hall dances be allowed in the fall semester?

No. Unfortunately, in light of the University health and safety policies and procedures, hall dances will be cancelled for the fall semester. Student Activities will be monitoring the evolving understanding of COVID-19 by health and medical experts and will adapt its policies and procedures as appropriate as new information becomes available.

Will there be any retreats this fall?

Yes. The Notre Dame Retreat Program will be the only on-campus retreat in the fall semester. Rectors will work with ARs to ensure they understand all safety regulations that need to be in place to hold retreats, and ARs would be considered University personnel and staff members on site. Campus Ministry will be monitoring the evolving understanding of COVID-19 by health and medical experts and will adapt its policies and procedures as appropriate as new information becomes available.

Can Hall Council meet this fall?

Yes. Residence Hall Council will be able to meet in common spaces as long as they meet capacity guidelines, wear a mask, and can physically distance; no outside guests should be allowed to be present, though options for a student to participate virtually should be made available at all gatherings. Virtual meetings should be considered, perhaps a hybrid of some in-person and other joining remotely. Anyone meeting in person should take attendance to allow for contact tracing.

How will you track who attends residence hall events and programs?

Attendance should be taken at all meetings and events to allow for contact tracing if needed. A card reader or a tablet could be used to track attendance for larger programs. Smaller events can maintain written attendance or if it is the same people each meeting, keep a spreadsheet of attendance; one person should record names and not pass around a sign-in sheet. This request will be limited to contact trace and inform those potentially exposed to COVID-19.

Can residence halls serve refreshments at hall programming this fall?

Yes. Halls may serve refreshments, but only individual, pre-packaged food and individual cans or bottle beverages are permitted; no buffets or shared or open beverage options are allowed. Water filling stations are in operation, and students are encouraged to bring reusable bottles. All utensils must be single use and packaged separately (fork, spoon, knife, napkin). Students are also encouraged to use personal cutlery sets (like a travel set) if possible. Food and drink provided for hall programming should be consumed outside whenever possible. 

Can students consume food in the residence hall common spaces?

Yes. Consumption of food and drink in the common spaces is not prohibited, though it should be done judiciously on a limited basis (i.e., remove mask; take a sip of beverage or bite of a snack; put mask back on). Given the size of most residence hall common spaces, consuming carry-out meals in these spaces is discouraged, but not prohibited; whenever possible, carry-out meals should instead be consumed in spaces that minimize risk to self and others, including: outside; indoors in venues larger than residence hall common spaces  (e.g., locations in student centers marked for food and drink consumption); and in student rooms. Food and drink provided for hall programming should be consumed outside whenever possible.

What will be done to minimize risk regarding equipment used in the residence halls?

When possible, participants should use their own equipment and materials. Users should limit any shared items and request or purchase individual supplies. Equipment must be checked out with Hall Staff or designee. In the instance of programs with shared equipment, equipment should be cleaned between each individual use (e.g., ping pong paddles, etc.). Any clothing that has the potential to be shared or worn by multiple individuals, i.e. uniforms, should be cleaned between each individual use by the sponsoring department. No personal protective equipment can be shared.

Are there any best practices for SWAG or item distribution in the residence halls?

Items should not be passed out, but rather set on a table and picked up off a table. Contact should be limited, and include multiple baskets with a smaller number of items. Food items must be pre-packaged, and participants should bring their own water when able. Money should be collected as little as possible, and physical tickets should not be sold.

Can students and staff travel to local businesses for supplies and materials?

Yes. Travel to and from local businesses to purchase supplies and materials for student group or department purposes is permitted. Limit capacity in vehicles (2 per car, 3 per minivan) remain in effect. Masks are required in vehicles when traveling on University business purposes.

Can student groups travel or attend off-campus events?

No. Travel or off campus events are permitted for student groups.  Student Activities will be monitoring the evolving understanding of COVID-19 by health and medical experts and will adapt its policies and procedures as appropriate as new information becomes available.

Can students travel this fall? 

While personal travel is discouraged, it does not require approval from the University. Students planning to travel should call University Health Services prior to departing campus for advice on safe travel.

Can staff and faculty travel this fall?

During the fall semester, we are asking students, faculty, and staff members to limit any personal travel outside the local area, as a way to reduce the likelihood of importing more virus into our community. At the same time, we are not interested in “policing” this behavior in any way. We ask all of you to use your good judgment regarding personal travel. If you must travel, we urge you to take advantage of the resources provided by the University Wellness Center regarding advice on health and safety practices before, during, and after your planned trip – for your own health as well as our University community.