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Fall 2020

Updated 9/23/20

Welcome to fall semester 2020 at UMN Morris! Whether you’re arriving on campus to live, study, teach or work, you’ll notice the many actions and initiatives we have put in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19 on and around our campus. Together, we can help to keep our campus community safe and healthy.

Core COVID-19 Mitigation Requirements for Students, Faculty, and Staff

UMN Face Coverings Protocol

All University of Minnesota faculty, staff, students, and visitors are required to use a face covering to cover both the nose and mouth at all times when in any enclosed or indoor space on University campuses and properties. Limited exceptions are noted.

Safe Distancing and Other Commitments

We are required to maintain physical distancing of 6 feet or more from others indoors and outdoors on campus. When physical distancing of 6’ outdoors cannot be maintained, a face covering is required. 

Comply with UMN Morris Campus Event Guidelines

Informal gatherings on and off campus are limited to no more than 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors per the MN Department of Health. Structured events have different guidelines. Face coverings and physical distancing are required.

If you have symptoms or test positive for COVID-19

All University of Minnesota faculty, staff, and students are required to stay home if we are sick. Students: contact the UMN Morris Health Service or your medical provider regarding symptoms and follow these steps. Adhere to Health Service, Public Health, and care providers health guidance including quarantine and isolation.

Student Reporting Concerns

The health and safety of our students and community at-large is paramount. We want to assure students that neither the Student Behavior Committee or the Office of Residential Life will pursue student conduct code sanctions against a student for violating campus COVID-19 mitigation requirements when that violation is discovered as a result of:

  • the student disclosing to the University or a public health official (as part of a public health case investigation or contact tracing) their COVID-19 positive status or their activities that may have led to exposure to themselves or others; or
  • the student reporting sexual misconduct or participating in a sexual misconduct investigation.

The Plan

The University of Minnesota began carefully planning and preparing for the Fall 2020 semester months ago. 

Our Fall 2020 site includes information that is helpful for students, faculty, staff, and visitors to campus. We’ve outlined what you can expect when you return to campus and steps to take to help protect yourself and others, what to do if you are showing symptoms or have been exposed to COVID-19 as well as our testing and contact tracing protocols. 

In addition to what you’ll find on this website, when you return to campus, you will see abundant and clear signage about how we’re cleaning and sanitizing, about our requirements for physical distancing and wearing face coverings, and how you can do your part in our community’s work to push back against this virus. 

In all aspects of our plan for fall semester, we are following the latest and best guidance from the Minnesota Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Your health and safety will always be our priority. We continue to monitor public health data on a daily basis and regularly review our pandemic response and plans for the future. Flexibility and adaptability have been critical since the first days of this pandemic and we will quickly adapt our operations and procedures based on how the pandemic evolves, globally and here in Minnesota.

Have a question we didn't answer on this site? Email UMN Morris at

Review and download the University's plan for fall 2020

Morris Student Information

Academic Instruction

  • The Fall 2020 semester began August 19 and includes adjusted capacities and multi-modal instruction in which courses can be delivered in person, remotely, or through other alternative formats.
  • Campus academic calendars are adjusted to conclude all in-person instruction by the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.
  • Tuition and fees will remain the same, regardless of the method of instruction. 
  • Each department is developing plans for in-person instruction, which include signage, reduced classroom density, and spaced furniture placement—all to maintain physical distancing. 
  • Regular housekeeping practices are being enhanced by University facilities management teams, including frequent cleaning and sanitization of high-touch areas such as door handles, handrails, water filling stations, elevators, dining locations, laundry facilities, etc. 
  • Be prepared to wear a face covering inside University buildings and outdoors where maintaining physical distancing of six feet is difficult. All incoming students received two cloth face masks during Orientation. All other students received two cloth face masks through their campus post office box.
  • Learn more about MTest, the University’s plans for COVID-19 testing and contact tracing and the role we all play in keeping one another safe and healthy.
  • The Disability Resource Center remains available to identify reasonable accommodations.
  • The option to participate in in-person instruction while practicing physical distancing and other health habits, is an individual decision. The University is implementing support and resources to ensure flexibility for remote or in-person instruction.
  • If you are unable to participate in your coursework due to illness, contact your instructor immediately via email or phone. If verification is requested, please see the Makeup Work for Legitimate Absences Policy.
  • Learn more about Fall 2020 using the links below:

Campus Experience

  • Campus services, such as academic advising, career services, etc., will be available in a modified way on the Morris campus.
  • Student groups can register and conduct events as long as they meet University and physical distancing guidelines. Please read our Event and Activity Guidelines for additional information.
  • Though some social activities are restricted, there are opportunities to find community while physical distancing. Student Activities is a good place to start. Check out their list of resources
  • As of now, large in-person events will not be held during Fall semester. Homecoming activities will be offered virtually. 
  • The Regional Fitness Center (RFC) is open. See information about their health and safety precautions.
  • Spaces on campus will be available to you to study and attend remote, online, or blended classes.
  • Resources are available to assist with your technology and internet needs.

Campus Dining

  • Face coverings are required when you are in dining facilities, except while eating and drinking. Regardless, physical distancing must be observed.
  • 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, traveling to restrooms, returning trays). Masks will not be required while eating seated at tables.

On-Campus Housing

  • University housing is available this fall.
  • The Office of Residential Life is working closely with University leadership and partners across campus and across the system, public health agencies (MDH and CDC)  and in the surrounding community to manage COVID-19 response and preparations.
  • 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. 
  • We are cleaning high-traffic points (door handles, handrails, water filling stations, elevators, dining locations, laundry facilities, etc.) even more frequently than usual.
  • 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 your 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.
  • 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.
  • 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. Follow these Student Health Protocols.
  • Students should contact Health Service 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, public health officials will contact the patient with additional information. We also have isolation and quarantine space set aside to support our residents should the need arise.
  • This is a shared responsibility. Please do your part to keep your spaces clean and to avoid sharing spaces and/or equipment. If you have a specific concern, contact us at

Morris Faculty & Staff Information

Employee Relations

  • The “Stay Safe MN" campaign encourages all Minnesotans to stay home as much as possible, wear cloth face coverings (masks), and adhere to physical distancing and other safety precautions. For the University, only employees who have been approved to return individually under the Sunrise Plan or through a comparable department-level plan will work on campus until further notice. The University is asking all employees who can work from home to continue doing so until December 31, 2020.
  • Employees should take note of the expectations for returning to worksites that include: 
    • Take your temperature in the morning and when you return home from work. Log those results and report any fever to your supervisor.
    • Report any exposure to COVID-19-positive individuals, respiratory symptoms, sore throat, or dry cough to your supervisor.
    • If the employee indicates any of these conditions, the supervisor must require that the employee stay home, and the employee should seek guidance from their healthcare provider.
  • Employees with underlying health conditions, or those who are older, will have options to mitigate their exposure to the virus, as needed, based on individual circumstances. Please work with your supervisor and/or advisor to find the best options for your situation.
  • In the event an employee tests positive for COVID-19, state and local public health officials, in coordination with the University, are handling all notifications and contact tracing. This means that employees who had close contact–within six feet for longer than 15 minutes–with the person who tested positive will be contacted by either state, local, or campus public health officials. Employees must follow healthcare provider or public health investigator guidance on when to return to work.
  • Employees are encouraged to visit their personal primary care clinic for COVID-19 testing. 
  • Many employee resources are available and accessible from home. Learn about the virtual services for physical health, mental health, financial health, and wellbeing resources. These services are available to faculty, staff, and students.
  • Supervisors and employees can review the toolkit when there is a confirmed exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace or a positive test.

Travel and Events

  • Travel restrictions and updates can be found at U Travel. As the situation surrounding COVID-19 changes rapidly around the globe, there are multiple items to take into consideration:
  • The U.S. federal government has implemented travel restrictions for most non-U.S. citizens who have recently traveled to China and some parts of Europe. Please review the latest from the U.S. State Department.
  • Travelers who feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing should seek medical advice. Call ahead before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room. If you are experiencing symptoms, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing. Travelers should wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with 60-90% alcohol.
  • If you have personal, international travel planned, we urge you to consider the following:
    • Know that situations and conditions surrounding COVID-19 are dynamic and could change while you are traveling, potentially complicating return logistics. Review the latest from the CDC.
    • Before leaving, notify a family member or friend to share destination and contact information.
    • While traveling, take steps to prevent the spread of any respiratory virus by practicing good hygiene, such as regularly washing your hands.
    • Upon return, review the Action Steps for Returned Travelers, provided by the University’s Global Programs and Strategy Alliance.
  • Governor Walz issued Executive Order 20-74 on June 10, which provides specific guidance for event venues. University event venues systemwide have developed safety plans for upcoming events. Learn more about Morris-specific Event and Activity Guidelines.