Res Life during COVID

Overview

When the State entered Stage 1 of the pandemic, the University closed its residence halls to all students except for those who had nowhere else to live or for whom it would be an extreme hardship to leave. This practice continued throughout the summer.

During Stage 2, in keeping with Executive Order 155, the University allowed students to return to residence halls for the academic year, with reduced occupancy and all of the safeguards described in this plan.

Housing occupancy was reduced by deliberately leaving rooms vacant, eliminating all triple or quadruple room options and turning some rooms designed for double occupancy into single rooms. Double rooms are assigned only upon request. Occupancy was reduced from 5,200 to 3,499 (67%).

The University established quarantine/isolation spaces for students who may need them. Specifically:

  • 436 rooms will be reserved for use as quarantine spaces, where students will have private rooms:
  • Stone Hall (building closed): 71
  • Bohn Hall (building closed): 293
  • Blanton Hall: 24
  • Hawk Crossings Apartments – two full apartments held vacant to house two (2) people per apartment: 4
  • The Village at Little Falls Apartments – 11 apartments held vacant in to house two (2) people per apartment (with one per bath): 22
  • The Heights – students can quarantine in their own single rooms: 16
  • Freeman Hall – two (2) suites held vacant in Freeman Hall to house two (2) students per suite: 4
  • Russ Hall – one (1) suite and one (1) triple room to house one each: 2

More beds may be available if students who have signed up do not move in, but the rooms listed above have been specifically set aside for quarantine spaces.

When New Jersey enters Stage 3 the University may expand occupancy to meet student need to a maximum of 90%, retaining a minimum of 10% for quarantine spaces. All of the following safeguards will be in place.

 

Infection Prevention Measures

In addition to the social distancing achieved by decreasing the housing population, all students, staff and visitors in residence halls are required to comply with the University’s requirements for social distancing, face coverings, and hand hygiene. For more information, please see Section I: General Safeguards.

Residents are encouraged to take their temperatures and monitor themselves for symptoms of COVID-19 each day, and should report elevated temperatures or other symptoms to the University Health Center via Hawk Check.

Consistent with the University’s strategy of reducing campus population density, during the final two weeks of the fall semester all remaining coursework will transition to remote delivery after Thanksgiving. While most students will vacate their residential community by Wednesday, November 25, 2020, students may request to stay until Monday, December 14, 2020 as well as over the Winter Break if they are registered for Winter or spring 2021 courses. Only international students, students who have no alternative housing or no safe alternative housing outside of Montclair State, and students who, in the judgment of the University, have other compelling reasons to stay on campus, will be permitted to remain in University housing over the winter break.

Quarantine Requirements

International students who live in the residential halls will be required to isolate within their housing assignment for 14 days after arrival in New Jersey. Students will be informed of this requirement in advance so that they can plan on arriving within 15-20 days before the starting date of classes.

Students and employees returning to New Jersey from states and territories with increasing rates of COVID-19 (as identified by the Governor) who live in the residential halls must self-quarantine for 14 days either off campus or within housing assigned by the University for this purpose. Read additional quarantine and isolation instructions.

Safe Move-in Procedures

Student move-in for the spring semester will occur over an extended period (January 10-18, 2021) and several measures will be taken to reduce the risk of spreading the virus. Daily check-in numbers will be decreased and staggered strategically to limit density in public areas and on elevators, promote physical distancing, and avoid the need for additional staff presence. Read More about Applying for Spring 2021 Housing.

The following procedures have been implemented in all residential communities:

  • Plexiglass installed at all front desks.
  • Contactless swiping procedures.
  • Designated entry and exit locations.
  • All students, staff, and visitors must comply with the University’s face covering protocol at all times.
  • Montclair State employees are assigned at strategic locations to monitor compliance.
  • Students, staff, and visitors are required to complete the Hawk Check questionnaire.
  • Resident students must be tested for COVID-19 and results must be posted to the MyHealth Portal one week prior to arrival on campus for each semester.
  • Students who believe they are at high risk for COVID-19 can contact the Disability Resource Center to discuss their options.

Depending on the needs of specific residential communities, additional precautions may include:

  • Directional lines and arrows on the floors to promote social distancing while waiting.
  • The use of stanchions to separate areas and encourage safe traffic flow.
  • Weather pending, doors and windows may be opened to enhance ventilation.
Sanitization and Cleaning

Increased cleaning has been implemented throughout the residence halls for high touch surfaces, common areas, and all public areas and shared hall bathrooms three times per day.

Residents are provided with guidance and information on appropriate cleaning products to have on hand prior to their arrival on campus. Consistent with existing practices, residents are responsible for cleaning private and suite bathrooms. At the time of move-in students are provided a cleaning solution to use. University-supplied cleaning products are refilled as necessary.

Selection Criteria

Every effort is made to give students the type of housing requested, subject to availability. Students will be assigned with priority given to students who meet any of the following criteria:

  • Do not live within commuting distance
  • Have no safe or reasonable way to commute to and from the University
  • Whose permanent residence is out of state
  • Who have no other permanent residence
  • Whose permanent residence is unsafe
  • Who are enrolled in programs that require on campus instruction and activities
Social and Physical Distancing

Common or shared kitchens in a residence hall are open for the purpose of cooking, with limited occupancy, frequent cleaning and no furniture for congregating. Common area kitchens implement single use protocols that include sign-up for use, increased sanitation before and after use, and inspection following use.

Common areas and lounges are open, with furniture appropriately spaced to allow for social distancing. Maximum capacity for these spaces is 25% occupancy or 25 people, whichever is fewer.

Signs are installed to inform residents of required procedures and to promote good hygiene.

Occupancy on elevators is limited.

Training

All residential staff and students will be trained on these procedures. Programs will be updated as needed, based on changing circumstances and new information from the State and public health authorities. Awareness and compliance will be monitored throughout the year, and continuing education will be delivered whenever necessary. Any student failing to abide by University regulations will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action, including removal from on-campus residence.

Testing

All residential students will be required to be tested and submit their results for COVID-19 within one week prior to moving in. If they test positive, they must remain in isolation until they are cleared by the University Health Center. Students may isolate either at home or in the designated quarantine/isolation spaces provided by the University.

Presently, we are testing all live-in residence life staff every other week. Additionally, randomly selected residential students are tested every other week.

Visitor Policy

Outside visitors will be restricted and their presence monitored. Non-residents will be limited to those with a compelling reason to be in the building (such as meal delivery, emergency personnel, residence life staff, or maintenance). As an exception, family members of a student residing in an on-campus housing facility who have completed a screening for COVID-19 can assist with student move-in and related activities. Off campus family and friends may not be present in the halls beyond move-in.

Students will be permitted only one other resident student guest per room at any time. During this time, a guest is defined as another student that lives in the residence halls. No non-residents will be permitted at this time, with the exceptions listed above. This is subject to change and updates will be sent out to resident students via email.

For the purpose of guest registration, a “room” is defined as a unit (apartment, suite, room, etc.) within the residence hall. All residents of a unit should discuss their plans and make necessary arrangements to ensure they do not exceed the allowed number of guests. Expectations regarding guests should be established via the Roommate Agreement.

As a reminder at this time all common area lounges and other common spaces are open at reduced capacity. Students must follow proper guidelines, including no congregating or eating in the kitchen.

As current restrictions are lifted by the state we will review and update all policies.

Entry to residence halls is through a card access system only, and residents will only have entry access to their particular residence hall. The University will continue its practice of registering all guests using a student identification card or photo ID. Presently, only resident students may be registered as guests.