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COVID-19 FAQ

Updated 10/21/20

At UMN Morris this fall, safety is our top priority. University of Minnesota leaders have developed a flexible framework to resume in-person instruction – with options for robust remote learning – and re-open residence halls, dining facilities, and other campus services, in a manner consistent with public health guidelines. 

  • The Fall 2020 semester includes adjusted capacities and multi-modal instruction in which courses can be delivered in-person, remotely or through other alternative formats.
  • The academic calendar has been adjusted to conclude all in-person instruction by the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Fall term starts August 19 at UMN Morris.
  • The Stop the Spread of COVID-19 initiative is our shared commitment to protect one another with daily individual health monitoring, proper handwashing, physical distancing, and wearing masks.
  • Enhanced cleaning and sanitizing practices throughout all University facilities will be implemented.
  • The University will be ready to pivot to alternative learning formats if the pandemic and state or local public health guidelines require it.

Sunrise plan information for employees

COVID-19 Health Protocols for Students

What are the expectations, resources, and contact information for students?

Click here for COVID-19 health protocols for Morris students.

Where can I get a thermometer to check my temperature?

If you do not have a thermometer, Health Service does have some available. Fill out this form to have one mailed to you in your campus PO Box OR ask for one at your next appointment in Health Service.  

COVID-19 Exposure and Illness

What if a student is sick or has been exposed to COVID-19?

Here are steps for students to take with a confirmed or possible COVID-19 diagnosis

Here are instructions for faculty and staff concerning what to do if a student is sick or has been exposed to COVID-19 in a classroom, advising, or other learning or student life setting.

Academic Calendar

When will the fall 2020 semester take place?

UMN Morris classes will begin a week earlier than originally planned.

Fall Semester 2020 (70 class days)

  • August 15-18 Sat.-Tues. New Student Orientation
  • August 17 Monday Faculty return
  • August 19 Wednesday Classes begin
  • September 7 Monday Labor Day holiday
  • October 6 Tuesday First half semester Classes end
  • October 7 Wednesday Second half semester Classes begin
  • November 25 Wednesday Last day of instruction / Students depart for remote finals and break
  • November 26-27 Thurs.-Fri. Thanksgiving Holiday and floating holiday
  • November 28-30 Sat.-Mon. Study days
  • December 1-4 Tue.-Fri. Final examinations (online or remote)

Are there any other changes to the academic calendar?

UMN Morris will not have a fall break this year. Campus community members preferred a condensed schedule rather than the option of more night and Saturday classes. 

Spring semester remains for now as scheduled with classes beginning on January 19, 2021.

Fall 2020 Courses

Will classes be in person or remote learning?

Instruction this fall will be delivered by one of these four modes:

  1. Online Class (fully online with no set meeting pattern): Instructors provide materials and assignments that students access online at any time or within a given time frame (such as one week), rather than instructors and students meeting together as a class on a regular schedule. Exams are also all online.
  2. Remote-Instruction Class (fully online with set meeting patterns): Students and instructors must be online at the same time, at scheduled days and times. 100% of instruction is online with no in-person meetings. Exams are also all online.
  3. Blended Class (both in person and online or remote): Students can expect a combination of delivery methods: in person, online, or remote. 
  4. In-Person Class (in-person): Students and instructors meet in person for class at regularly scheduled days and times.

In-person instruction will conform with physical distancing based on recommendations from public health guidance. Classes may also be offered as online or hybrid allowing students to fill out their schedules with in-person or distanced instruction, or a combination.

Students will have choices as they review course offerings. Some students may choose courses which are all offered in person on campus. Others may choose courses which are offered fully through on-line/remote modalities. And some may choose a combination of courses and hybrid options. The University of Minnesota Morris is committed to helping students to advance in their degree programs, and we will provide a clear process for helping you take the courses you need.

How will I know how a specific class will be taught?

The course schedule has been updated to reflect the anticipated fall delivery mode of each class, and Schedule Builder provides the easiest way to see that information, in “view details” or in your weekly schedule view. Please note that one of the headings in Schedule Builder currently refers to “independent study, online/distance learning, and unscheduled classes,” and “unscheduled” here simply means a confirmed class has no assigned meeting time (this is the “Online Class” mode noted above). 

The delivery mode information is also in the course registration system in MyU, although  the correct information may not be obvious immediately. See the class attributes heading for each class to determine the delivery method of that course. 

You also can expect to get an email from each of your instructors providing more detail about the delivery method of each of your courses. If you do not receive an email from your instructor by July 24, please email ummvcaa@morris.umn.edu.

Will my class schedule for Fall 2020 be changed?

As we learn more about classroom capacity with physical distancing, course meeting times may be changed and the delivery method may change. We will notify students before the start of the fall semester with enough time to allow them to adjust their schedules if needed.

If classes are held via remote instruction again, will they be Pass/NoPass?

When students register, they will see, as usual, if the course is offered A-F, S-N, or with the student option to choose between those two grading systems. In accordance with University policy, we do not anticipate changes to the grading system that would take place after registration.

What if I can’t attend UMN Morris in person this fall? Can I still take all of my classes?

The University of Minnesota Morris is committed to helping students advance in their degree programs, and we will provide a clear process for helping you take the courses you need. 

What about registration for Fall 2020?

Once the updated modes of course delivery are determined for fall, students will be notified and will have the opportunity to adjust their schedules, if needed. Incoming students will continue to participate in the registration process as planned.

Why do instructors get to make the decision about the delivery format of their course?

At their June meeting, the Board of Regents approved a framework for resuming in-person instruction this fall in ways that are consistent with public health guidance and provide flexibility for students, staff, and faculty.

A key component of this is faculty and instructor flexibility in deciding the preferred modality of their course, subject to capacity constraints on classrooms in accord with physical distancing guidance. Instructors are best positioned to understand the learning objectives of their courses and whether and how they might be best achieved via different modalities. This approach is consistent with the faculty's express authority over the curriculum.

I want to be able to take my classes at a distance. What are my options?

We will be offering education in four modalities; in-person, blended (hybrid), remote (distanced synchronous), and online (distanced asynchronous). Not every class will be offered in every modality, but UMN Morris is committed to finding ways for all students to continue to make progress toward their degree this fall. Students can review the modality of the courses that they're currently enrolled in and have the opportunity to drop/add. We encourage students to contact the course instructor for information on potential flexibility in the scheduled delivery mode and to their advisor (or success coach, for first-year students) if they need assistance in revising their schedule to meet their needs.

I want to be able to take my classes in person. When will we know what courses will be offered in this format?

We will be offering education in four modalities; in-person, blended (hybrid), remote (distanced synchronous) and online (distanced asynchronous). Not every class will be offered in every modality, but UMN Morris is committed to finding ways for all students to continue to make progress toward their degree this fall. Students can review the modality of the courses that they're currently enrolled in and have the opportunity to drop/add. We encourage students to contact the course instructor for information on potential flexibility in the scheduled delivery mode and to their advisor (or success coach, for first-year students) if they need assistance in revising their schedule to meet their needs.

What are my options if I have reviewed my updated fall schedule and a course for which I have registered no longer fits my schedule or meets my health requirements?

First, check Schedule Builder for alternative courses. If you don’t find what you need:

  1. Contact the course instructor. There may be alternative ways for you to participate in the class (e.g., by Zoom during in-person regular course meetings). The instructor may also be able to suggest another class that the discipline has agreed on as a substitution because of the pandemic.
  2. If the course instructor has no other options, you should contact your success coach (first-year students) or advisor. Or you may contact the Office of Academic Success. Success coaches and advisors can help you determine other options, including:
    1. Other UMN Morris classes (advisors may need to contact a discipline coordinator to ask about any pandemic-related exceptions to major requirements that the discipline might have agreed upon)
    2. Multi-I classes (online options at other UMN campuses)
    3. Transfer classes from outside the UMN System (again, online options)

New Students

When will orientation take place for new students?

New Student Orientation will begin on Saturday, August 15, and continue through Tuesday, August 18.

Orientation components will be offered through in person, online, and hybrid options to meet students' varied needs and reflect current public health guidance.

How will these changes affect new first-year students and transfer students?

Student move-in to campus residence halls will be extended to provide for physical distancing. Orientation programs will be offered in varied formats to meet student needs.

Health & Safety

How will physical distancing in classes be managed?

Physical spaces will be adjusted to meet distancing recommendations, including by having furniture reconfigured as necessary or spacing marked.

What if the pandemic dissipates over the summer only to return in the fall?

We will adjust as necessary and in keeping with University, Minnesota Department of Health, and CDC guidance.

Testing and Tracing

Will UMN Morris offer COVID-19 virus testing?

UMN Morris is working with Stevens Community Medical Center (SCMC)  to provide COVID-19 testing for students who are showing symptoms or have been in close contact (fewer than 6’) for 15 minutes or longer with someone diagnosed with COVID-19. Faculty and staff should seek medical resources from their regular healthcare providers.

How is the University handling positive cases?

If a member of the University community tests positive for COVID-19, they will be instructed by public health officials to isolate themselves for 10 days after symptoms first appear. For those who have been notified of their exposure to COVID-19, they may be instructed to remain in quarantine for at least 14 days or until directed otherwise by health care or public health professionals.

While it may be concerning to learn of confirmed positive COVID-19 cases on campus, it is up to everyone to respect their privacy and HIPAA regulations. Students, faculty, or staff members – or others – who may have been exposed to a confirmed positive case (in close proximity for 15 minutes or more) will be notified by health care or public health officials. Names of those positive or exposed will be not released, per HIPAA and FERPA rules.

What if my professor or someone in my in-person class tests positive for COVID-19?

The University’s Safe Campus site instructs anyone with symptoms to contact their health care provider immediately. Students should contact Health Services with concerns about significant exposure. If someone tests positive with COVID-19, the Minnesota Department of Health will contact the patient with additional information. We are developing plans in the event that one or more individuals become sick, which will include options like moving courses to remote learning environments.

How will the university track positive COVID-19 cases and exposure?

We will work with the Minnesota Department of Health, which will conduct COVID-19 tracing and necessary investigations related to a positive COVID case.

Our campus continues to practice health and safety guidelines outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), including working with local health care systems to provide access to COVID-19 testing for our campus community. This testing is part of the state’s response to the pandemic. MDH collects and compiles statewide testing data. 

It is impossible for the University to comprehensively and accurately collect or track aggregate testing data on our campus for a variety of reasons; MDH is the best resource for requesting COVID-19 testing data.

A dashboard showing the number of University of Minnesota Morris students utilizing campus quarantine and isolation spaces is available.

Residential Life & Housing

Are residence halls open for fall 2020?

University Housing will be available this fall.

Living on campus is a core part of the University of Minnesota Morris experience, and we are committed to fostering a safe, diverse, and inclusive housing experience for all students this academic year. That said, things will look different. Each of us has a responsibility to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19, from staying home if we don’t feel well to limiting large gatherings and respecting physical distancing guidelines.

This continues to be a dynamic, rapidly evolving 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. The Office of Residential Life is working closely with University leadership and partners across campus and across the system and in the surrounding community to manage COVID-19 response and preparations. Visit the Safe Campus website for the latest information.

 

Community safety for residents and staff is a top priority.

Residential health and safety efforts are rooted in the most current science and based on guidance from federal, state, and local health authorities. Measures will include a combination of the use of physical distancing, hand washing hygiene, limited density in indoor spaces, appropriate face coverings when distancing is challenging, and other support resources. 

Below are several frequently asked questions. University leadership is working through these and other important questions. We will share information as it becomes available by updating this page and direct email as necessary. If you have a specific concern, contact us at housing2@morris.umn.edu

Who can live on campus this fall?

We have planned for multiple scenarios and contingencies with recommendations from the Minnesota Department of Health and CDC. Whether you are a new or returning student, you are guaranteed on-campus housing when you complete your housing contract by July 1. To complete the process, fill out your online housing application. You may still apply for housing after July 1 but options may be more limited.

Applying for housing is low-risk, and we are here to support you.

Students may cancel their housing application with no penalty by August 14.

We intend to keep returning students as close to their original assignment requests as possible. In some cases, we may be unable to guarantee your original room, roommate(s), and/or building assignment. We will notify you if we need to make changes to your original room, roommate and/or building assignment.

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 that requires a specific housing accommodation, such as a certain room type, accessible room, single user bathroom, etc., contact the Disability Resource Center at 320-589-6178.

Dietary needs: If you are a student living in a residence hall, you are required to have a meal plan. Dining Services will work with you individually in regard to your special dietary needs. Visit morris.sodexomyway.com for more information on special diets. If you have a condition that requires health-related dietary accommodations, please work with the Disability Resource Center in addition to Dining Services.

Returning students: If you are a returning student with a housing contract who may need medical accommodations, we will still work with you to accommodate your needs. Please contact the Disability Resource Center. We may be unable to guarantee your original room, roommate(s) and/or building assignment.

What happens to my housing contract if I can’t move into campus housing?

Housing contracts will be cancelled without penalty for students who are unable to move into campus housing due to COVID-19 related concerns.

What is being done to prepare on-campus housing for fall semester residents?

The Office of Residential Life and Facilities Management have been working to thoroughly clean all housing over the summer and will be implementing safety measures for the arrival of students following guidelines from public health officials. We are following guidance from the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and will continue to adjust as new information emerges.

We are cleaning high-traffic points (door handles, handrails, water filling stations, elevators, dining locations, laundry facilities, etc.) even more frequently than usual.

 

This is a shared responsibility. Please do your part to keep your spaces clean and to avoid sharing spaces and/or equipment.

When will I learn more about my housing assignment?

 

The Office of Residential Life began assigning rooms in May for students with completed housing contracts. If you have already completed the housing application, you can log into the housing application portal using your University username and password to see if your room has been assigned. The Office of Residential Life will mail your room assignments and other important information for Fall 2020 to you at your home address in July. If you have any questions about your housing assignment, please email us at housing2@morris.umn.edu. 

Will I have roommates this year?

 

In order to support physical distancing, some rooms will be assigned fewer occupants. No more than two people will occupy rooms in residence halls.

Will international students be able to access campus housing this fall?

 

We recognize there may be travel or other challenges for international students this fall, and we are working to help students address any issues. We will share more information as it is available. The International Students Program (ISP) can provide additional information to support international students. You can contact ISP online or by phone at 320-589-6094.

When will students be able to move in?

 

The official move-in day will be Saturday August 15. We are planning to assign time slots for you to move in throughout the day to support physical distancing. More information about move-in times will be shared in the coming weeks. 

Some of you may need to move in early for athletics or academic programs, and we are working with coaches and program coordinators on these early move-ins. Please check with your coach or program coordinators about early move-in dates. 

Can I tour the building and see my room before I move in?

Unfortunately, we are unable to support in-person tours this summer. Additional information about individual halls is available online. 

What should I bring and what items are not permitted?

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 and antibacterial surface cleaner (as you are able).

The University is working to make two cloth masks available to each of you at no cost. You may want to bring additional masks if available.

Each student room comes equipped with the following: 

  • -twin-size bed frames
  • -mattresses measuring 36" x 80" (twin long)
  • -drapes
  • -desk
  • -desk chairs
  • -dresser
  • -closet or wardrobe

Other items students may want to consider bringing include: 

  • -surge protectors
  • -shower caddy shower shoes
  • -a television
  • a futon
  • a bike

Items that students should not bring to campus include: 

  • -candles or any item with an open flame
  • -halogen lights
  • -pets (not permitted for health and safety reasons) 

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.

Will face coverings (masks) be required in my building?

Effective July 1 and continuing until rescinded, all University of Minnesota students, faculty, staff, and visitors (including contractors, service providers, vendors, and suppliers) are required to use a face covering at all times when in any enclosed or indoor space on University campuses and properties with the following exceptions:

  • -When eating or drinking; however, physical distancing must be practiced.
  • -In your assigned on-campus apartment or residence hall room.
  • -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 the Cougar Sports Center or Regional Fitness Center.
  • In labs or other places that instead require use of a respirator.
  • -If you require accommodations for health or disability reasons. On the Morris campus, the Disability Resource Center and Human Resources can help identify needed accommodations.

In addition to wearing a mask or other face covering in applicable situations, it is vital that we all continue other basic, but critically important, prevention measures. These include frequently washing our hands with soap and water, minimizing how often we touch our faces, monitoring our health and, above all else, staying home if we feel sick. These simple actions are some of the best tools we have to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on our campus and in our community. 

 

Please also report concerns so that we can address them.

How will we practice distancing in my building?

To slow the spread of 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 six feet away from individuals with whom you do not share a room or apartment.

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 and use good judgement for you and your neighbor’s benefit. If you have any cold-like or COVID-19 symptoms, do not use the community spaces.

 

Please also report concerns so that we can address them.

What happens if a resident becomes ill?

The Office of Residential Life works in close partnership with Health Services to address cases of COVID-19 that may arise in our residential communities.

 

If you feel ill or are experiencing symptoms of respiratory illness of any kind — with fever and cough — the Minnesota Department of Health recommends you remain as isolated as possible in your room to prevent spreading it to others.

 

Our residents should contact Health Services at 320-589-6070. Staff may follow up with you to be sure you are receiving the support, medical attention, and resources needed.

 

If someone tests positive with COVID-19, the Minnesota Department of Health will contact the patient with additional information.

We will also have isolation and quarantine space set aside to support our residents should the need arise.

What support will be available to students?

We recognize this time of social isolation and heightened health fears can take a toll. Community Advisors on each floor and other dedicated building staff in each building are an email, phone call, Google hangout, or Zoom meeting away.

 

Students can contact Student Counseling at 320-589-6060 for additional support. 

Xenophobia and Bias

Disease does not discriminate, and racist behavior or stereotyping is not tolerated on our campus.

 

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. We encourage all students to know their rights and what is expected of them as residents. Learn more about policies, regulations, and more.

Residence Halls and Dining

How will campus housing work this year? Will students have roommates?

Living on campus is a core part of the University of Minnesota Morris experience, and we are committed to fostering a safe, diverse, and inclusive housing experience.  At the same time,

residential life will look a little different this year.

In order to support physical distancing, some rooms will be assigned fewer occupants. No more than two people will occupy a room in the residence halls. Students may elect to have roommates, or to occupy a single room. However, no triples will be allowed.

Students living in residence halls have been assigned time slots for move-in to support maintaining physical distancing. The official move-in days will be Friday and Saturday, August 14 and 15.

What about cleaning?

The Office of Residential Life and Facilities Management have been working to thoroughly clean all housing over the summer and will be implementing safety measures for the arrival of students following guidelines from Minnesota Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

We will continue cleaning high-traffic points (door handles, handrails, water filling stations, elevators, dining locations, laundry facilities, etc.) even more frequently than usual.

How will safety be handled in the dining hall?

The Dining Hall has been rearranged to ensure physical distancing between tables. Seating will be reduced.

Our dining staff will be serving more foods directly to students rather than having self-serve options for the  salad bar, desserts, or beverages. We have enhanced food preparation, serving, and cleaning protocols to meet and exceed current public health guidelines. Grab and Go containers will be free this fall for those who would like to take out their meals.  

Students will be required to wear masks while moving through the dining hall (getting food, travelling to restrooms, returning trays). Masks will not be required while eating seated at tables.

Beginning Saturday, November 21, all dining will be Grab N Go.

What can I do to help suppress the spread of COVID-19 in my residence hall?

Measures that you can take include a combination of the use of physical distancing (staying at least six feet away from individuals with whom you do not share a room or apartment), practicing hand washing hygiene, ensuring limited density in indoor spaces, and wearing appropriate face coverings.

Be mindful and use good judgement for you and your neighbors’ benefit. If you have any cold-like or COVID-19 symptoms, do not use the community spaces. Each of us has a responsibility to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. We are all in this together. Be respectful and kind to one another.

What will happen if I become sick or believe I have been exposed to COVID-19?

The Office of Residential Life will work in close partnership with Health Services to address cases of COVID-19 that may arise in our residential communities.

If you feel ill or are experiencing symptoms of respiratory illness of any kind — with fever and cough — the Minnesota Department of Health recommends you remain as isolated as possible in your room to prevent spreading it to others. You should contact Health Services at 320-589-6070. Staff will follow up with you to be sure you are receiving the support, medical attention, and resources needed.

SCMC will provide tests for COVID-19 as deemed necessary by a medical provider. If a positive result is obtained, the Minnesota Department of Health will be notified. MDH will contact the patient with additional information.

UMN Morris has isolation and quarantine space set aside to support our residents should the need arise. Before any housing decisions are made, please seek medical care and COVID-19 testing from Stevens Community Medical Center or a trusted medical professional. UMN Morris will work with you to determine the best housing option for any necessary quarantine or isolation period. 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 other students 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. UMN Morris 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.

Studying Abroad

What is the status of planned study abroad programming?

Individual study abroad and exchanges for fall and spring are a case-by-case basis and dependent on the partner or host institution. We are working closely with students who wish to participate in these programs to make sure that they have the most accurate information.

When will I be able to register for future study abroad?

Faculty-led study abroad for the spring and summer of 2021 are currently going forward as planned. Registration for these programs will open during the fall semester based on guidance from the GPS Alliance office. 

Campus Events, Facilities, and Athletics

How will UMN Morris safely host gatherings, clubs and events on campus? Will there still be events?

The University of Minnesota is following MDH guidelines for all gatherings on campus. Where possible, on campus events and activities will also be offered with a remote option. 

In line with the MDH guidance, occupancy capacities for campus performance spaces have been adjusted and attendance limits will be managed through advanced ticketing (even for free events).

Will places like the library and Regional Fitness Center be open?

These places will be open in the fall to students, faculty, staff, and visitors in a modified way. Units are currently developing individualized plans in compliance with Minnesota Department of Health guidelines. Services for those students who are enrolled but not in residence will be provided to ensure that all students are able to access services. To find out about the status of a specific unit, please check their webpage or contact them directly.

Will there be fall athletics?

The University of Minnesota Morris has postponed all Cougar Athletics fall competitions, following the announcement from the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC). The health and safety of Cougar student‐athletes, coaches, program staff, officials, and the greater Morris community continues to be paramount in making these difficult decisions.       

Competitions in winter season UMAC and Cougar sports, including men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s indoor track and field, and women’s swimming and diving have been postponed until January 1, 2021. All decisions regarding Cougar athletics in the upcoming academic year will continue to be driven by available guidance from local and state health officials and the NCAA SSI, and are subject to change.

Masks and other Protocols

Where can I find the face covering protocol?

For questions about face coverings, please visit the Face Covering Information page