Students at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst will be given the option to live on campus although nearly all of its courses will be taught remotely this fall, the school’s chancellor announced Monday.
The plan makes clear that there are inherent risks to joining a residential campus environment amid the coronavirus pandemic. Students and their families must decide what is best for them, Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy said in a statement.
“Students who choose to attend UMass Amherst do so not only for the quality of the faculty and the academic programs, but also for the immersive experience, which offers opportunities for enrichment that can be undertaken with a diverse group of peers,” Subbaswamy said.
“As best we can, and there are severe limitations in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we will strive to sustain the community connections that represent UMass at its best,” he said.
Subbaswamy emphasized that “it is important to understand that life on campus will not be anything resembling normal college life.”
In announcing the plan, UMass Amherst joins a small number of schools giving students the choice to spend the semester on campus or at home.
Students who choose to live on campus or spend any time on campus must agree not only to the standard code of student conduct, but sign and agree to a set of protocols.
Protocols include strict physical distancing, wearing face coverings outside personal living spaces and limiting social contacts to a minimal number of people a day. Students will also be subject to virus testing on demand, daily self-monitoring and reporting, assisting with contact tracing, and limiting travel away from the immediate campus area for work and emergencies only.