UConn Will Not Allow Out-of State Students Taking Online Classes to Live on Campus – NBC Connecticut

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UConn has just announced that out-of-state students who are enrolled only in online courses will not be allowed to live in university housing this fall and the school is asking them to stay home for the semester.

This comes as students are scheduled to return to campus for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic forced schools to close in March and move to remote learning.

This is part
of the school’s plan to reduce the density on campus and comes after consulting
with the state Department of Public Health and infectious disease experts at
UConn Health. It is also to reduce the risk of illness and enable greater
quarantine capability in the event it is needed.

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UConn said the decision does not apply to students who have any in-person elements to their coursework and program. That includes hybrids, working in research labs and training with teams.

By asking our out-of-state students who don’t need to be here in person for their studies to stay home, we are aiming at preserving the extraordinary progress Connecticut has made in arresting the spread of the virus.

UConn said it
also does not apply to international students  or students already residing on campus.

Following is the letter to the UConn community that was posted online.

UConn is conducting research on COVID-19.

“Dear UConn
Community:

“In recent
communications with the state Department of Public Health and our own
infectious disease experts at UConn Health, we have come to the difficult
conclusion that we need to further de-densify our campus residential spaces.
This is to both reduce the risk of illness and enable greater quarantine
capability in the event it is needed, and we believe it gives us a design
which, with everyone’s cooperation, allows UConn to not only open successfully
but complete the semester as planned.

“Accordingly,
out-of-state students who are enrolled in only online courses are being asked
to stay home and will not be permitted to live in University housing during the
fall 2020 semester.

“This
decision does not apply to students who have any in-person elements to their
coursework and program, including hybrids, working in research labs, training
with teams, etc. It also does not apply to international students (who rely on
visas and would struggle with online learning given international time zones)
or students already residing on campus.

“Affected
students will be contacted directly later today by the Department of
Residential Life. Housing and dining fees already paid will be refunded and
they will not be charged any cancellation fees. This communication will include
instructions regarding an appeal process for those students with unique
circumstances who, for any number of reasons, cannot remain at home for the
upcoming semester. All impacted students will remain eligible for spring 2021
housing provided the university is fully open.

“This was a
very difficult and unwelcome decision to have to make. In making a choice
between the options available to us, we were guided by what would produce the
greatest public health benefit and the least academic disruption. I know that
this change will be a great disappointment to the hundreds of out-of-state
students who wished to return to campus. We are committed to providing you and
all of our students with an exceptional learning experience and keeping you as
connected to the UConn family as we can, regardless of where you are living.

“During this
challenging time, we are guided by the advice of public health officials. While
the prevalence of the disease is low in Connecticut, that is not the case in
many other states. By asking our out-of-state students who don’t need to be
here in person for their studies to stay home, we are aiming at preserving the
extraordinary progress Connecticut has made in arresting the spread of the
virus.

“Educating
our students in a pandemic requires sacrifices to provide a safe learning
environment. In addition to the impact of this decision on some of our
out-of-state students, our students who do return to our campuses will also
have to make personal sacrifices including strictly abiding by rules that
require a campus quarantine to start the semester, face mask usage at all
times, and keeping physical distance from one another. Similar requirements of
masking and distancing are mandated by the state for off-campus residents, as
well as quarantines for those from most outside states.

“To all of
our students, in Connecticut or away, in person or virtual, I look forward to
welcoming you to the fall semester in the days ahead. Our faculty have been
working for months now with our Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning
to deliver the pedagogy that best fits the learning objectives of each
particular course, and our staff have been working non-stop to redesign our
physical spaces, signage, virtual platforms and support services to keep you
safe and well.

“Whether you
are traveling or not in the coming days, take care and be well.

“Sincerely,