Housing & Dining
The extraordinary times of living through a pandemic call for our heightened commitment to prioritizing our community’s health and safety as we work to mitigate coronavirus spread in our facilities and on campus.
As a result, residential living will look quite different in the year ahead and it will take a shared commitment from all students and staff to ensure we can maintain open facilities to support in-person education for as many of you as we are able to safely accommodate.
LIMITED HOUSING CAPACITY
We are de-densifying all of our housing facilities so that we will have no more than one student per bedroom and no more than three students per bathroom fixture set. With the addition of some off-campus hotel rooms, this approach will allow us to maintain 50% of our usual occupancy for the coming year.
For all first-year students and upperclass students with existing housing assignments, we will provide you an opportunity to live on campus for one semester in the year ahead, and only a very small number of students with special circumstances will be provided housing for both semesters. This is the most equitable approach to assigning our limited housing capacity.
ENCOURAGING REMOTE STUDY
We strongly encourage students and families who can reasonably and safely consider remote study from home for the 2020-2021 academic year to do so, which will allow more capacity for those who are in need of on-campus housing.
The requirement that first-year students live in university housing is waived for the upcoming academic year.
Upperclass students with housing contracts who elect not to live in university housing will not be charged a cancellation fee.
LIVING ON CAMPUS
Students living on campus for the fall 2020 semester were notified about their housing assignment, which can be located in the student's SIO account, on July 29. Spring semester housing assignments will be shared later in the fall semester.
The university is implementing a required 14-day modified quarantine period that every student coming from outside Southwestern Pennsylvania (SWPA) must complete prior to joining in-person coursework or engaging in other on-campus experiences. Learn more about the modified quarantine period for students living on campus.
Fall housing cancellations after move-in will generally not be permitted unless (1) you take a leave of absence or (2) changing factors related to the pandemic necessitate we restrict housing capacity further to support student health and safety.
For students who are offered housing for the spring semester, we will accept penalty-free cancellations until sometime in late fall when we will know more about the plans for spring semester. Our goal in adopting this flexible stance is to reduce barriers for students and families in light of the unpredictable nature of the pandemic.
Dining Services has taken the following measures to promote appropriate physical distancing at each dining location:
- Dining rooms have been set to limit occupancy and provide a minimum of 6 feet (2 meters) of space between tables and chairs.
- Floor decals and signage have been installed to ensure at least 6 feet (2 meters) of physical distance between patrons and to support traffic flow.
- Plexiglass barriers have been installed in customer service areas.
Dining Services is adhering to the following health and safety protocols at its dining locations:
- All food service staff and guests are required to wear facial coverings in all public spaces unless they are seated at a physically distanced dining table.
- Hand sanitizer will be available at each location.
- Personnel will adhere to strict guidelines for handwashing, personal hygiene, cleaning, sanitizing and food safety practices. High-touch areas will be cleaned and sanitized every thirty minutes.
- All beverages, including refills, will be served in single-use, disposable cups. The use of personal reusable cups for beverages or refills, including the ScottySIPS Mug and water flasks, are not permitted.
- All dining locations will use single-use, disposable plates, flatware and take-away containers.
- All dining concepts/stations will be full-service. Food will be served to guests by an associate, including in all-you-care-to-eat dining locations.
- Self-service items will be kept behind counters whenever possible. These items will be distributed by the food service staff at the time of purchase, including cups, lids, coffee creamers and stir sticks to minimize contact.
- The use of pagers for order pick-ups will be discontinued, until further notice.
- Carrying trays have been removed from the operations.
- Only pre-packed or wrapped utensils will be used or utensil dispensers will be in place that dispense one utensil at a time.
- Catering is completely contactless via full-service buffets with plexiglass barriers between the attendant and guests.
Dining Services has refined its offerings and meal plan options to align with evolving health and safety conditions.
- First-year students living in university housing will be expected to maintain a meal plan to support a successful transition to college life.
- All upperclass students living in university housing will be required to maintain a limited meal plan (unless they are assigned to an apartment with a kitchen), due to the closing of common area kitchens throughout university and Greek housing to prevent spread of the virus.
- Dining plans for first-year and upperclass students living on campus will be activated once students move in. Students will be able to use both blocks and FLEX at a select number of dining locations on campus. Blocks and FLEX used before classes begin will be deducted from the semester allotment of your enrolled meal plan.
Further details regarding our approach to dining can be found on the Dining Services website.