#wooweekly

Fall 2020 Housing Information

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Welcome to #woolife!

Residence Life is eager to welcome our residents back to campus as safely as possible. The goal of Worcester State’s Safe Return to Campus plan is to protect the health of the campus–and the broader–community, while enabling students to progress toward their educational goals. This plan is a work in progress that may be subject to change as conditions evolve and we receive further guidance from federal and state health officials.


This year’s Residence Life experience comes with new responsibilities and commitments concerning everything from scheduled tests for COVID-19 to regular bathroom cleaning. We are going to need to rely heavily on each other and remember that compliance is the key to a safe and fulfilling residential experience. We will continually have to remind ourselves that we are all in this together and the more vigiliant we stay in regards to these set guidelines, the sooner we will be able to return to a more traditional on-campus experience.


Living on a residential campus has always presented students with opportunities to experience new things. This fall, the list of new experiences includes many things that would have been hard to imagine just a few months ago. You can look forward to classes that are taught both in person and remotely at the same time, and programs with your RA through grab 'n go and virtual options and a modified dining experience. All these changes are being implemented to reduce risk for everyone—students, staff, and faculty. These changes will start with students’ immediate living group, or household.

Planning “Households”

Residence Life is working to create small communities, or “households,” that are a key component of our planning for living on campus.


A household may consist of just one student in a single, two students in a double room, and suitemates, or it may include others on one floor who share a common bathroom.


Whatever the household’s makeup, students living in these defined spaces will be asked to live together in new ways. They must exercise careful control of how shared spaces are used and maintained, and everything from bathroom use to household cleaning to shared elevator use must be scheduled and coordinated. Students on floors with common bathrooms will be given daily schedules for bathroom use that will limit the number of students in a common bathroom at one time. Common bathrooms will receive frequent cleaning of high-touch surfaces by our Facilities staff, and each bathroom in apartments and suites will be provided with a starter kit of disinfecting products for students to wipe down surfaces before and after use.

Residence Hall Room Assignments

Residence hall bed counts have been carefully reviewed and adjustments have been made to reduce density. Some returning students may be impacted by the adjustment to the density of on-campus housing. In July, Residence Life will directly contact students whose room assignments have been impacted by the density reductions to identify a new room assignment prior to their arrival on campus.


Students living in apartments and suites with in-unit bathrooms typically arrange bathroom schedules to manage individual use, and this fall will be no different. Upon arrival, apartment and suite “households” will be asked to support each other and develop bathroom use and cleaning schedules.

Shared Common Spaces

To comply with physical distancing guidelines, all shared common spaces on campus will have reduced density. Gatherings in lounges and other informal spaces will be limited to no more than 10 people, and some even smaller. Signs will be posted in each space and it will be expected that students maintain physical distancing at all times and wear a face covering over the nose, mouth, and chin. Students must also wear face coverings In all suite and apartment common areas, where it is not possible to maintain six feet of physical distance from others.

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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VIsitors

Residence Hall visiting rules have been restructured: In all campus residences, access to rooms and living spaces is limited to on campus residents only, at all times. Overnight guests are not permitted. This plan is a work in progress that may be subject to change as conditions evolve and we receive further guidance from federal and state health officials.

Student Well-Being

WSU’s primary focus is the well-being of our students. The University has many resources to assist students during this crisis, including tips to combat overwhelming feelings. The staff of Worcester State University’s Counseling Center understands the emotional pressure that many of our students experience.


Students can contact a counselor at WSU Counseling Services by calling 508-929-8072 or visiting their website at https://www.worcester.edu/Counseling-Services/. In an immediate crisis situation, students off campus should call 911. On campus students should contact University Police at 508-929-8911. In the wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, Counseling will be working with students remotely through confidential telethealth.

Fall 2020 PLans changed?

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

WSU Safe Return To Campus Website

A Plan for Resuming In-Person Instruction & Activities