Thursday, July 9, 2020

We are excited to welcome you to campus and pray that this email finds you and your family well as you prepare for the start of the Fall 2020 semester. Thank you for your patience as we work to prepare the residence halls for your return in a few short weeks. We know you have housing questions and hope that the answers below put your mind at ease and help you understand your options for living on campus this fall. 

Below you will find details about changes made to the housing program and what to expect once you are in the residence halls. Please continue checking your St. Mary’s email for the next housing information message, which you should receive by Wednesday, July 15. It will include your housing assignment, a list of items to bring with you and an updated housing agreement.

All students who submitted a housing application by July 2 will receive on-campus housing assignments. 

We continue to actively monitor city, state and national guidance regarding COVID-19 in our region as we prepare to open residence halls in August. We are working closely with local health experts and departments across the University to modify campus operations and physical spaces to help ensure student safety and health as you return to the residence halls. 

We encourage you to join our campus community and follow the health and safety recommendations of public health professionals and those adopted by the University for the protection of every member of our St. Mary’s family. Start now, wear your face covering, practice social distancing and wash your hands frequently. Following these practices before you leave home will reduce the chance of inadvertently bringing the virus with you to St. Mary’s. 

Most residence halls will be limited to single occupancy and all room assignments will be made so that there are no more than two students per bathroom. Students sharing a bathroom or common living area will be considered a family unit and are highly encouraged to socialize within their unit and avoid, or significantly limit, socializing with others. 

How will students be housed together this fall?

Yes, the Office of Residence Life is prioritizing housing assignments as follows:

  1. Those with a permanent address outside of Bexar County
  2. All first-time freshmen
  3. Bexar County students with transportation, housing or technology needs
  4. Graduate and law students 
Is St. Mary’s prioritizing housing for out-of-town students?

We will take your building preferences, as submitted on your housing application, into consideration when making final assignments. We also know you are looking forward to living with your selected roommate(s). We will place confirmed roommate pairs next door to each other whenever possible. Room assignments will be sent to your St. Mary’s email address by Wednesday, July 15.

Will I be assigned the building/room I selected during the room selection process?

Yes, move-in dates have changed to reflect the start of the fall semester and scheduled to accommodate social distancing among students moving in. Resident students will only be permitted to move in at their scheduled time, which they must sign up for in advance.

  • Sunday, Aug. 2, to Wednesday, Aug. 5: Freshmen, transfer and international students, student-athletes (fall sports only), student-teachers and selected student-leaders
  • Friday, Aug. 7, to Monday, Aug. 10: Returning undergraduate, graduate and law students 
Will St. Mary’s adjust move-in dates due to changes at the start of the fall semester?

Yes, campus dining venues will be open and available beginning Monday, Aug. 3. Dining options will be modified to support the health and safety of all community members. Some of the modifications include reduced seating, increased use of disposable plates and cups, and no self-serve stations. 

Will campus dining venues be open early since students are moving in early?

Yes, students taking all or some classes online or virtually this fall may live in University housing. 

May I live on campus even if I’m taking my classes online or virtually?

Yes, but with modifications to limit the number of people who can use these spaces to accommodate social distancing.

Will study rooms, lounges and other common areas be available for use?

Yes, but access to these amenities may be delayed while resident-students adjust to campus life. Once opened, access will be limited to the number of people who can use the amenities while accommodating social distancing. 

Will amenities, such as the pool, hammock garden, grills and volleyball court, be available for use?

Yes, resident students will be required to wear face coverings outside of their assigned residence hall room. Face coverings are required on campus in classrooms, labs, meeting rooms, offices, residence halls, chapels, as well as indoor and outdoor activity spaces. Students are also asked to maintain appropriate social distancing (at least 6 feet) and frequently wash their hands to minimize the spread of COVID-19. 

The exception for social distancing and wearing face masks is when resident students are in their assigned rooms interacting with their family unit peers, which includes students sharing a bathroom or common living area. 

Will face masks or coverings be required in residence halls?

Students should report possible exposure by completing the Student Self Reporting Form and self-quarantine — which means avoiding contact with other individuals — in their assigned room for 14 days from the date of exposure. When a residence hall family unit member is the point of exposure, the quarantine begins when the family unit member goes home or is moved to an isolation space in Anthony Frederick Hall. Meals will be delivered to students living in self-quarantine. The Student Health Center staff will also check on students on a regular basis by phone or video chat. 

If no symptoms have developed after 14 days, the student may resume their normal routine. 

What happens if a resident student thinks they were exposed to someone with COVID-19?

Students with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 should complete the Student Self Reporting Form and work with the Student Health Center for further recommendations. 

Students whose test results are negative for COVID-19 are expected to follow the guidance of the Student Health Center, which may include self-quarantining in their assigned residence hall room. 

Students with symptoms of COVID-19 awaiting test results are expected to isolate in Anthony Frederick. If the student’s test result is positive for COVID-19, they are expected to isolate and recover at home if they live within 300 miles of San Antonio. Students who cannot return home will remain in an isolation space in Anthony Frederick until fully recovered. Anthony Frederick will be set up to accommodate one person per room and include a microwave and refrigerator. Meals will be delivered to students living in isolation spaces. The Student Health Center staff will also continue to check on students regularly by phone or video chat. 

What happens if a resident student has symptoms consistent with COVID-19?

Students diagnosed with COVID-19 should complete the Student Self Reporting Form and are expected to isolate and recover at home if they live within 300 miles of San Antonio. Those who cannot return home will temporarily move into an isolation space in Anthony Frederick until they are fully recovered. Anthony Frederick will be set up to accommodate one person per room and include a microwave and refrigerator. Meals will be delivered to students living in isolation spaces. The Student Health Center staff will also check on students regularly by phone or video chat. 

Students will be expected to isolate for a minimum of 10 days from the first presentation of symptoms. Additionally, students must be three full days without fever without the use of fever-reducing medication and showing signs of improvement. Students will be expected to demonstrate a negative COVID-19 test to return to their assigned residence hall room and attend in-person classes, work or events. 

What happens if a resident student is confirmed to have COVID-19?

To slow the spread of the virus and help ensure the safety of our community members, the University has adopted new policies regarding social distancing in public residential spaces, personal protective equipment requirements and visitation limits. Some of these changes include:

  • Visitors: Only resident students will be permitted in St. Mary’s residence halls this fall. During the first three weeks of the fall semester, resident students may not visit other residents’ rooms or suites. Beginning Tuesday, Sept. 8, resident students will be permitted to visit other resident students. However, they are limited to one guest in a resident’s room at any one time. Residents of Périgueux Hall may have no more than two guests total in the suite at any one time. Family unit members do not count as guests when in their assigned family unit space. Resident students are expected to wear masks and practice appropriate social distancing at all times when outside of their assigned room or family unit space.
  • Laundry facilities: One person at a time will be allowed in the laundry room except in locations where more people can be accommodated using social distancing.
  • Kitchens and bake stations: One person at a time will be allowed in the kitchen and bake station areas.
  • Daily Health Check: A daily health check tool is available for all students as well as faculty and staff. The tool provides guidance for next steps if you experience COVID-19 symptoms, which includes completing the self-reporting form. The University is reporting campus cases of COVID-19 on Gateway and has trained staff to perform campus-community-focused contact tracing and notify individuals who may have been exposed. 

The University expects students to follow the policies outlined in both the Student Code of Conduct and the Residence Life Community Living Standards. Given the heightened concern for health and safety on campus, appropriate disciplinary actions will be taken for students who violate these policies. Enhanced sanctions, including removal from campus housing, are possible. 

What other new policies or procedures will be in place this fall?

Yes. Sunday Masses will initially be livestreamed rather than in person. Once in-person programming resumes on campus, daily Masses and Sunday Masses will be offered to resident students with a limited number of attendees (likely no more than 10 people) as conditions permit. Resident students interested in attending an on-campus Mass will be asked to reserve their seats in advance. More information on this process will be available in the Spiritual Life page in Gateway at the beginning of the semester. 

Will Masses be held on campus?

Yes, campus programs, events and meetings — whether on campus or off campus — will initially be limited to virtual gatherings only. This includes all official (approved via RattlerTracks) and unofficial gatherings. 

Once in-person programming and meetings are permitted, guidelines will restrict such gatherings to a very limited number of attendees (likely no more than 10 people) to support appropriate social distancing practices. 

NCAA competition team activities and contests will follow guidance from the NCAA and Lone Star Conference. 

Additional modifications to campus event and meeting guidelines may be necessary based on local or state government directives. 

Will there be restrictions on campus events and student organization meetings?

Yes, students can cancel a housing reservation without any penalty through Thursday, July 30. 

The Office of Residence Life hosted several town hall meetings via Zoom to answer housing questions for students and families.

Can I cancel my housing reservation for this fall?
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