Coronavirus (COVID-19) Housing Information
We understand that the current situation brings a lot of question, whether you are currently living in residence, a future student or living abroad. Our team is working hard to ensure that all of the benefits of living in residence in person or virtually.
2020-2021 COVID-19 Residence Updates
Since the University of Ottawa announced that nearly all undergraduate and graduate courses will be delivered with distance-learning options for the 2020-2021 academic year, many of you have reached out asking questions about residences.
The intent of this FAQ is to provide you as much information as possible to help you make the decision about living in residence this academic year.
We know that living in residence can add value to your student experience, help you connect with your peers, and enhance your academic success. We know that you have been looking forward to this day for a long time, and that's why we have been working hard to ensure that all of the benefits of living in residence are available to you, whether in person or virtually.
Now that public health authorities have approved a plan for residence that ensures the safety and security of all members of our residence community, we can share the guidelines established for the reopening of our residences for the 2020-2021 academic year.
Residences open this year
As we continue to comply with public health guidelines, the following residence buildings have been selected to house students this year: 90U, Henderson, Annex, 45 Mann, and Hyman Soloway. Please note that these residences will be open to students of all years (none will be exclusive to upper-year students).
Living in residence
To ensure your safety, the following residence plan has been reviewed by Ottawa Public Health:
- There will be fewer people living in residence and sharing common spaces like laundry rooms and kitchens.
- Most students will have their own bedroom. If you have to share a bedroom, it will be with one other student and only if this arrangement complies with public health distancing restrictions.
- Many students will have their own bathroom, a maximum of two of students will share a bathroom if needed. If you live in a house, you may have up to four students sharing a bathroom since you will be considered a “household”.
- Most common rooms in residences will be closed until physical distancing restrictions are lifted (some exceptions such as laundry rooms and some kitchens, but physical distancing rules will be in place for the health and safety of residents).
- There will be no big group activities on campus until public health guidelines indicate they can be safely held.
- Additional cleaning of high traffic areas will be in place.
- Each unit will be provided with a cleaning kit, along with instructions on how to maintain a clean space.
- Students will be able to choose whether they want to move in for the full academic year (starting in September) or for the winter term only (starting in January).
- We will do our best to accommodate room requests made by students who applied before the June 1, 2020 deadline and have submitted their deposits; however, we may not be able to grant the exact room requested or previously offered.
- Priority is given to students not living in the Ottawa region: first-year students who applied and submitted their deposits by June 1, 2020, and returning students by March 16, 2020.
- Roommate requests cannot be guaranteed, but we will take them into account when assigning bedrooms and bathrooms.
We hope that this information is helpful to you. We are happy that you have chosen uOttawa as your university, and we look forward to welcoming you into the Gee-Gee family, either in person or virtually.
Latest updates (February 16, 2021)
This latest update supersedes any previously shared information
Ontario's stay-at-home order was been lifted in Ottawa on February 16 as the region enters the orange-restrict zone of the province’s COVID-19 response framework. Read this article to find out what measures are now in place locally.
Although gathering limits have been eased, it is still strongly advised to limit close contact to only those you live with, stay home as much as possible and avoid travel, except for essential reasons.
These safety measures are still in effect in residence:
- Guest policy: No guests other than residents within your own residence building are permitted. A maximum of 2 guests (from the same residence) per resident are permitted in a unit if physical distancing can be maintained.
- Common rooms are reopening: Residents who are looking for safe indoor spaces to study can enjoy certain common areas in their residences as of March 1, 2021. Students must abide by all COVID-19 protocols and regulations (capacity, signage, physical distance, masks, cleanliness, etc.)
- In-person activities: Activities that respect physical distancing requirements will resume in the coming weeks. Contact your Community Advisor for more details.
- Wear a mask or face covering: In all indoor common spaces in residence, such as hallways, lobbies, stairways, kitchens, and elevators. When you cannot maintain a physical distance of two metres.
- Practice physical distancing: Stay two metres apart from those outside your household.
- Exercise proper hand hygiene: Wash your hands regularly or use hand sanitizer, especially before touching your face.
For more details about what’s open on campus, consult the latest information on uOttawa’s COVID-19 page.
Admission, Room Assignment and Cancellations
Are residences opened in this year? If so, can I still live in residence if I take all my courses online?
Yes! You can still live in residence and take all your courses online if you wish. The following residences are open for the 2020-2021 academic year:
- 90 University (90U)
- 45 Mann
- Hyman Soloway
Please note that all residences will be open to students of all years (none will be exclusive to upper-year students for 2020-2021).
At this time, it is still too early to speculate about which residence will be open for the 2021-2022 academic year.
We are working closely with Ottawa Public Health and are following provincial guidelines for congregated living settings to develop a residence plan that follows these public health guidelines and keeps students healthy and safe.
What is the deadline to cancel my offer and receive a refund for my deposit?
Check the Important Residence Dates and Deadlines for the latest information.
After withdrawing your application or cancelling your offer, you need to submit your deposit refund request by going to Applications in uoZone and selecting Refund Request. The refund is not automatic; you need to request it.
Will my roommate request be guaranteed?
We will do our best to accommodate your roommate request when we can. However, requests cannot be guaranteed.
When will I find out about my roommate(s)?
More information about your roommate will be communicated during the summer.
Can I leave residence before the end of my agreement?
Update January 15, 2021
With the state of emergency and lock down recently declared by the Government of Ontario, we understand that some students may find it easier to continue their studies at home and may be reassessing their decision to live in residence.
The University is exceptionally allowing students to terminate their Residence Agreement early. All residence, whether they have 8-month and 12-month agreements, can submit an early termination requests from now until February 14, 2021, at 11:59 p.m. for a departure by February 28, 2021, at the latest. You will not be able to cancel your residence agreement at a later date (i.e. this summer).
Students will be required to pay their full housing fees for the month of February if they leave on or before February 28, 2021. If you leave on or before January 31, 2021, you will only be required to pay for the month of January. You will receive a pro-rated credit to your student account based on your check-out month.
To request an early termination of your residence agreement you MUST:
- Log into your uoZone account and submit a termination request in the Housing Portal.
- By your chosen check-out date, you must fully empty your room of all your belongings. Housing Service and the University of Ottawa are not responsible for any items left behind after your departure.
- Return your keys and access cards in the drop box located in your building’s lobby before your chosen check-out date. Be sure to write your name and student number on the provided envelope and put it in the locked box.
Your request will be reviewed by the Housing team. It will only be processed after you have emptied your residence room and returned your keys.
If you leave after February 28, 2021, you will be responsible for the residence fees until the end of your agreement.
Finally, for students living in Annex, 45 Mann or Hyman Soloway, please note that sublets will not be permitted for summer 2021.
Self-Isolation and other COVID-19 Procedures
Will I still be sharing common areas with other students? If so, what safety procedure have been put in place to ensure social distancing and cleanliness?
All common rooms and study rooms are closed until further notice, with the exception of:
- Common kitchens in 90U and Henderson;
- Common laundry room in 90U and Henderson.
Students will receive more information on utilizing these spaces safely in the mandatory training module they will complete before moving in.
Physical distancing and masks rules apply in all open spaces in residence.
Do I need to wear a face mask in residence?
According to City of Ottawa Mandatory Mask By-law, it is now mandatory to wear a mask or face covering in all indoor public spaces to limit the spread of COVID-19.
All members of the uOttawa community who come to campus are required to wear a mask or face covering that securely covers the nose, mouth and chin while in common spaces inside buildings.
As such, you MUST wear a mask or face-covering in all indoor common spaces in residence such as lobbies, hallways, elevators, and all other areas as identified by the University. Physical distancing must also be respected, even when wearing a mask or face covering.
You do not need to wear a mask or face covering inside your bedroom or unit.
Congregations of groups inside or outside of residence buildings where physical distancing is not maintained and face masks or coverings are not respected are not permitted.
If you have a disability or medical condition that prevents you from wearing a face mask or covering, you must notify Housing Service.
To find out more information about how masks work or what type of mask or face covering you should wear, please consult the Ottawa Public Health website.
I live in residence and think I may have flu-like symptoms. What should I do?
Everyone is asked to self-monitor their health. If you think you have COVID-19 symptoms, or have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 please complete the Ontario self-assessment and where possible, go to an Assessment Centre to be tested for COVID-19.
If you are directed to self-isolate, you must contact reception at 613-668-9604 immediately in order to begin self-isolation.
View the full Self-Isolation Protocol in Residence.
If I have to self-isolate while in residence, what do I have to do?
If you need to self-isolate while living in residence, you are required to inform Housing Service by calling 613-668-9604 immediately and let us know if you have a roommate, share a bathroom or have dietary restrictions.
We will make sure that you, and your roommates if you have any, are able to self-isolate individually. We will move you to another unit if required.
During your self-isolation, Housing Service will support you with meal delivery, waste removal and regular wellness check-ins.
Consult the full Self-Isolation Protocol in Residence.
My roommate has to self-isolate; do I have to do the same?
Yes. Based on public health guidelines, Housing Service also requires all roommates in a unit to self-isolate if one person self-isolates.
You will be moved to a self-isolation unit unless you live alone in a self-contained unit with a private bathroom (no roommates).
Your roommates need to self-isolate in their current unit. If your roommates develop symptoms, they may be moved to another self-isolation unit (if there is more than one roommate remaining in the unit).
In both instances, Housing Service will support you throughout the self-isolation period with meal delivery, waste removal and regular check ins.
Everyone needs to do their part in order to avoid spreading the virus.
View the full Self-Isolation Protocol in Residence.
Do I need to self-isolate for two weeks before arriving on campus?
As per the advice of public health officials, only international students or Canadian students who have travelled abroad must quarantine for 14-days before moving into their residence.
The quarantine period can be completed at a local hotel at your own cost. (full details below)
Students coming from within Canada will not have to self-isolate.
Find our more about the Arrival of students and quarantine.
If the COVID-19 situation worsens in Ottawa, could I be asked to leave residence?
The ever-evolving nature of the current public health crisis makes it impossible to speculate.
However, for the health and safety of our residents, our employees, and the community, different measures could be taken, including moving students out of residence.
Should we be required to close our residences, the University will automatically offer prorated refunds of residence and meal plan fees that will automatically be applied to the student's account as a credit.
Going Home for Holidays and Having Guests in Your Residence
Students who choose to live in residence this year can expect that additional restrictions will be in place for the safety of the entire university community.
These restrictions align with public health guidelines, are mindful of provincial guidelines around congregated living settings, and take into account the specific and unique residence setting at uOttawa.
Am I be able to have guests visit while living in residence?
At this time, and until public health restrictions are lifted, there will be at “no outside guest” policy in effect. This means that no person from outside your own residence building (including family members, friends or students from other residence buildings) are permitted to meet with you.
You will be allowed to visit residents within your own building as long as you respect physical distancing of 2 metres (6 feet). A maximum of 2 students (from the same residence) per resident are permitted in a unit, as long as physical distancing can be maintained.
Ontario provincial guidelines recommend limiting your close contacts to those within your household (or one support person if you live alone). You may leave your residence to visit, but you must respect physical distancing and wash your hands upon your return.
We will constantly be reviewing and updating our policies throughout the fall to ensure they align with public health guidelines.
Am I able to leave residence to see friends and family? (example: going back home)
You may leave residence periodically as long as you comply with Ottawa Public Health guidelines, but remember to consider your family and friends level of risk before you go and make these choices.
Should you choose to travel away from campus to reconnect with friends and relatives, we ask you to be cautious. Current provincial guidelines recommend limiting your close contacts to those within your household (or one support person if you live alone).
When reconnecting with friends and relatives, it’s important that you avoid large gatherings; don’t attend or host house parties, practise physical distancing, wear a mask or face covering when you cannot physically distance, and clean your hands frequently.
We also ask for your cooperation when you return to campus to help us keep our community safe.
Please note that these guidelines will depend on your travel destination and may change as the situation evolves.
Support Services and Events
Will my residence experience be the same as those of previous years? What will residence support services and programming look like?
Although the residence experience is different every year, you can expect that the residence experience will not be typical this year. Our teams are working hard to develop innovative programming to make this a very special year.
We will continue to offer an enriching community experience as well as support services.
You will have access to:
- Community advisors: Upper-year student leaders who live on your floor and help you transition to life at university by offering peer guidance.
- Peer supports: Upper-year student staff who focus on enhancing the university experience of students in second-year students or higher that live in residence.
- Residence mental health and wellness counsellors: Professionals who offer same-day appointments to help in a non-judgmental, objective, and fully confidential manner, no matter what the issue.
- uOConnexion (buddy program): New this year! Students moving into residence for the first time can apply to be paired with an upper-year student with similar interests and experiences to help them transition to life at university.
- Client services: Staff will be available 24/7 to respond to your requests and answer any questions.
The residence programming team has adopted a flexible approach, with some online activities and some in-person activities that comply with physical distancing regulations.
Public health information is changing rapidly and we are adjusting our plans accordingly, always keeping the health and safety of our students, staff, and community in mind.
I am worried that with online learning, I’ll have trouble connecting with/meeting other students. Is residence life planning ways for students to interact socially?
We are committed to ensuring you have opportunities to connect and engage with your peers, which is a key component of the first-year experience at uOttawa.
However, there will be restrictions in place to ensure that public health guidelines are followed.
Small group activities that respect physical distancing rules may be allowed, but bigger social activities will be mostly virtual at first. These will be aimed at students who are living in residence and those living off campus.
The residence programming team has adopted a flexible approach, with some online activities and some in-person activities that respect physical distancing regulations, when permitted. It is not anticipated that large, in-person gatherings will be allowed during the fall term.
More information will be shared over the coming weeks.
Dining Hall and Meal Plans
Is the Dining Hall open?
Respect the physical distancing rules, sanitize your hands upon entering the Dining Hall, follow the signage and instructions from the staff.
Mandatory Quarantine for travellers returning to Canada
All travelers entering Canada must quarantine for 14 days starting from the day they arrive in the country. Students travelling from outside of Canada will not be allowed to move into residence without first completing quarantine.
For more information on quarantine and entering Canada visit the International Office website.
What quarantine plan is offered by uOttawa?
The University is pleased to offer a quarantine package to any member of the uOttawa community, whether they are living in residence in the fall or not.
The package includes:
- Accommodation for 14 nights at Les Suites Hotel, Ottawa
- You will be accommodated in a one-bedroom suite with one large bed, a sofa bed, and a fully equipped kitchenette. For more information on the suite, please visit the website for Les Suites Hotel Ottawa.
- Housekeeping services will not be offered inside the suites to prevent anyone to enter the room during the quarantine. Guests will be provided with cleaning supplies, along with instructions on how to maintain a clean space.
- Three (3) meals per day
- Delivered to your room every day around 10:00 am.
The daily rate is $86.87 + tax, conveniently charged directly to your student account. There is no charge if you cancel your plans before arriving in Canada.
You can book online by completing this form.
If you have questions or concerns about the quarantine package, please contact uOttawa's International Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can I do my quarantine elsewhere?
Students can make their own quarantine arrangements in a local hotel of their choice. However, we recommend students to select the quarantine package at Les Suites Hotel as we have negotiated a preferred rate.
The package includes:
- Accommodation for 14 nights at Hotel les Suites Ottawa
- Three (3) meals per day.
Can I cancel my quarantine package if my plans change?
Yes, and there is no cancellation fee. However, if you must cancel, let us know by email as soon as possible.
When I arrive in Ottawa, how can I get to my place of quarantine?
You will be transported by a pre-approved taxi service provider contracted by the University to your quarantine facility. We will provide more details once available.
If you are travelling before this service has been arranged, use a taxi when arriving at the airport. Do not use public transport.
Les Suites Hotel is located at 130 Besserer St, Ottawa, ON, K1N 9M9.
You will have to wear a non-medical mask or face covering and practice 2 metre physical distancing until you reach your room.
Can I share a room? How much will it cost for the additional person?
Yes, you can share a room. Each suite can accommodate up to 4 persons of the same family. The extra cost for three meals a day would be $26.87 per person, per day (plus tax).
How will I pay for these quarantine fees?
The room cost will be charged directly to your student account, however you are responsible for paying the hotel any additional cost you incur during your stay.
Can I opt out of the meal package? What if I have special dietary needs?
In order to respect the mandatory quarantine rules set out by the Government of Canada, the meal package is mandatory.
If you have dietary questions or concerns, please contact our on-staff dietitian, Maryann Moffitt, RD at mmoffitt@uOttawa.ca as soon as possible to identify your needs.
Can I order food or other deliveries from outside?
If necessary, you will be able to get food or other items delivered with the hotel assistance and by following the protocol in place. You will be able to get assistance from the front desk staff by dialing ‘0’. This service is available 24/7.
Can I leave my room?
The quarantine rules from the Government of Canada require you to remain on the property and not to leave unless it is to seek medical attention. Your suite gives access to a small balcony.
Please note that if you do not comply with this mandate, the hotel has no choice other than to ask you to leave the premises immediately. This is for the health and safety of each of the valued guests and the hotel team members.
What do I do once my quarantine is completed?
Students registered to live in a residence:
We will contact you to confirm that the quarantine period is complete and will update you with all the relevant services. You will then be able to move into your assigned residence room.
Students staying off-campus:
If you are a non-resident student, you can choose to stay at the hotel for longer, but may not benefit from the same rate. We recommend you move to your off-campus place.
Can I extend my stay when the 14 days are finished?
If you need to extend your stay at the end of the quarantine period, you can make your own arrangements directly with Les Suites Hotel or call 1-800-267-1989 (US & Canada) or 1-(613) 232-2000 (International).
How can I find off-campus accommodations?
Not sure where to start? Visit our Off-Campus Housing webpage or contact us at 613-562-5621.
You will be guided through the steps for an effective search strategy. If possible, make your arrangements prior to your arrival in Ottawa.
What should I do if I develop potential COVID-19 symptoms?
Call Housing Services at 613-668-9604 or email them at residence@uOttawa.ca to inform them of the situation and follow their instructions.
Take the Government of Ontario self-assessment if you’re worried you were exposed to COVID-19 or have symptoms.
If you must get tested, consult the list of COVID-19 Assessment centres in Ottawa.
Should you develop any COVID-19 symptoms or are exposed to a person in quarantine who exhibits symptoms of COVID-19, you must remain in quarantine for another 14 days.