Fall 2020 Housing Information - update 3

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Welcome to #woolife!

Living on campus is an important part of the college experience. Living on campus allows students to engage in a living and learning environment that enhances academic progress, expands involvement opportunities, fosters personal growth, and cultivates healthy interpersonal relationships and lifelong friendships. Because of this, inviting students back into our residence halls this fall has been a priority for the University, the Division of Student Affairs, and the Office of Residence Life.

As the fall semester approaches, we eagerly await your arrival. We are working to make your life on campus as rewarding and inspiring as ever, and putting in place new safety precautions to support the community’s well-being. We ask for your flexibility as we approach the fall semester. Conditions may fluctuate, including federal, state, and city regulations, and we may need to alter our plans.

We understand that you may have questions about our plans. Aspects of planning are still under development or being finalized. Please reach out with questions you may have to reslife@worcester.edu.

New this year - Move In Days

The new safety precautions begin, appropriately, with Move-In. Each resident will be assigned a week between August 3 - August 21st to move their belongings into their fall room assignment. To allow all students and staff to maintain a safe physical distance, all resident students will select a specific Move-In date and time using the MyHousing Portal.

Move-In will be an opportunity for all residents, who are able, to move their belongings into their space early in August to avoid larger groups on the typical move in days later in August. Residence Life will bring you to your space, unlock your door and you will have 1-2 hours to unpack and get settled, as much as possible. After you move into your room, you will go home until your official Check In Day - August 31st for our First Year residents and September 1st for our returning residents.

The Move-In process will extend over 18 days, August 3–21. Students may not return to campus without a scheduled appointment for Move-In. Residence Life will prepare for each Move-In day, based on the number of students who have been scheduled to come to campus and move into their rooms that day. Students should be prepared to select an alternative date and time, should their first choice not be available.

Please watch your email for further updates and details on Move-In dates and times, which we will send as early as next week.

Room Assignments are on the way!

All fall 2020 room assignments will be sent out on Tuesday, July 14th. Please check your worcester.edu email for information on your fall room assignment, roommate as well as the Move In Week information.

Quarantine vs Isolation - What's the Difference?

First, a quick lesson about the language of quarantine and isolation. Quarantine housing is used when a person has potentially been exposed to an illness and needs to separate from other people in order to see if they develop symptoms and become sick. Isolation housing is used when someone has symptoms or is confirmed to have an illness.

If a student needs to go into quarantine, and they reside in Chandler Village, Sheehan Hall or Wasylean Hall, Health Services will work with Residence Life to arrange for the entire household to stay in their apartment or suite until the period of quarantine is over. If a student needs to go into quarantine, and they reside in Dowden Hall, Health Services will work with Residence Life to arrange for the household (roommates) to move to a quarantine space in Chandler Village until the period of quarantine is over.

If a student needs to go into isolation, Health Services will work with Residence Life to arrange for the student to move to a private room or semi-private room with another student who is also in isolation. These apartments are in Chandler Village and separate from all other residents of that space.

Residence Life has set aside housing that will serve as quarantine and isolation accommodations for residential students. When a resident student is temporarily assigned to quarantine or isolation, the resident will receive a detailed plan from Health Services about the steps they need to take to prepare for their stay in temporary accommodations, including a “what to bring” list, information about self-care during the quarantine or isolation period, and contact information for assistance during the quarantine or isolation period.

While in quarantine or isolation, students will have full access to wireless internet in their accommodations, so they are able to attend classes remotely and participate in virtual student activities. WSU Dining Services will provide regular delivery of prepared meals for reheating, fresh fruit, produce, and dairy products. All quarantine and isolation spaces will contain a small kitchen with a microwave and refrigerator. Please note: WSU Dining Services will reach out to students at the start of their stay in quarantine or isolation to inquire about food allergies and/or special diet requirements.

Health Services personnel will remotely monitor the progress of the student and will determine when the quarantine or isolation period has concluded, and the student may return to their academic year room assignment.

Additional guidance on who must quarantine, including temporary residence assignments and protocols, will be provided to students who are going into quarantine or isolation housing.

Testing and Contact Tracing

The testing protocols and approach to contact tracing remain a work in progress. The University will be testing residential students on a minium of a weekly basis.

Plans for testing the student population are nearly complete, and will be included in a future version of #wooweekly. Additionally, the University is weighing the option of ‘surveillance testing’ of its residential student population–balancing its reported efficacy at identifying and preventing an expanded community spread of the virus on campus against the considerable cost of such testing.

Tied to any testing will be a process known as contact tracing–a public health process used to quickly track close contacts with an infected individual in order to identify other individuals with the virus and break the path of contagion. Together with other tactics contact tracing is considered a key method to reduce the infection rate for COVID-19.

The University’s Health Services is already a part of the network for contact tracing of communicable diseases, and has been active with Worcester’s Public Health Department with regard to prospective tracing involving our campus community since the outbreak emerged in March. The University plans to expand its contact tracing capacity in conjunction with Worcester’s Public Health Department.

It's Up To Us

Because Worcester State University cannot guarantee zero cases, nor prevent all community infections, we must expect that every member of the University community will be committed to creating a culture of safety and accountability to maintain a healthy campus. Everyone who comes to campus for classes and work must understand and acknowledge this reality. Every member of the Worcester State community must also acknowledge that they have a responsibility to themselves and their fellow Lancers to do their part to be safe, honor restrictions, follow appropriate public health guidelines, including those from the Centers for Disease Control, Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and the Worcester city Department of Health, and comply with all written University guidance posted or otherwise communicated to the campus community.

So that we may create a culture of safety and accountability throughout the Worcester State University community, every member of our community is expected to adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Participate in training exercises to learn the required safety practices and navigate the new normal on campus;
  • Receive the flu vaccination in the fall, subject to medical guidance from a personal health care provider;
  • Self-monitor for and report all COVID-19 symptoms using the University-designated reporting method (Worcester State expects to select a self-reporting app later this summer);
  • Practice essential personal safety practices, including wearing appropriate face coverings, and practicing enhanced personal hygiene such as frequent hand washing and sanitizer use, abiding by safe social distancing practices, and following all safety instructions and signage;
  • Ensure that all personal belongings and all living, studying, and working spaces are kept clean; and
  • Participate in testing and contact tracing under prescribed protocols designated by the University and public health officials.

Dining on Campus

Chartwells, has developed a COVID-19 specific and customized plan called Path to Open based on CDC, local and state guidelines. Plans include:

  • Reduced or eliminated guest seating capacity based on social distancing guidelines in all locations. The POD will be reduced from 620 to 208 seats for in-person dining;
  • Installation of plexiglass at all dining locations;
  • Signage indicating customer pathways and floor queuing decals, as needed;
  • Online/remote ordering to allow customers to place a to-go order ahead of time;
  • Option for grab-and-go items at food service locations;
  • Establishment, with Residence Life, of household dining times;
  • Delivery process for residential students in isolation or quarantine;
  • Contactless catering and check in process

Face Coverings

The University is committed to promoting a safe campus environment for students, faculty, and staff in accordance with current state and local public safety guidelines. Face coverings (see definition below) must be worn at all times: in any shared spaces, in WSU student residences, in all University buildings, on the WSU Shuttle, and on public transportation, as well as on the street and in public spaces. Wearing a face covering does not replace the need to maintain physical distancing and observing safety protocols in shared spaces.

Students should plan to provide their own cloth face coverings, whether made at home or purchased. Students are advised to avoid touching their eyes, nose, or mouth when removing their face coverings, and wash their hands immediately before and after removal. Face coverings should be changed daily and stored in a clean paper bag when not in use. Disposable face coverings should be discarded daily.

The term face covering is used to include any cloth face covering that meets the following criteria:

• Fits snugly but comfortably against the sides of the face and covers the nose, mouth, and chin

• Fastens securely with ties or ear loops

• Includes multiple layers of fabric

• Allows for breathing without restriction

• Can be laundered without damage or change to shape

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Meal Plan Changes

If you wish to change your meal plan for the upcoming academic year, please do so by Friday, July 10, 2020.

Steps to change your meal plan.

1. Log into your myhousing account

2. Click on Dining and then on select/ change meal plan

3. Make sure the term is 20/FA and click submit

4. Choose the meal plan you want to have and then click submit

Fall 2020 PLans changed?

If you are a current student and are no longer interested in living on campus for the 2020-2021 academic year, please go to worcester.edu/myhousing, look under APPLICATIONS and complete the fall 2020 Status Change Form. Please choose buy-out as the reason. If you cancel by July 27, 2020, the cancellation fee will be waived.

If you are a new student, please email reslife@worcester.edu to withdraw from housing.

If you have any questions please email reslife@worcester.edu.

WSU Safe Return To Campus Website

A Plan for Resuming In-Person Instruction & Activities