Coronavirus (COVID-19) Housing Information

Building tops and the blue sky.

The single highest priority of the University of Ottawa Housing Service will always be the health and safety of its students and staff in residence.

We recognize that the pandemic is making planning difficult, but we really are looking forward to welcoming you to campus this fall, be it virtually or in person. Thank you for your ongoing patience as we adapt and navigate through this unprecedented and ever-evolving situation.

We are currently working on a plan for September 2020, which includes reviewing our Important Dates and Deadlines. We’ve put together this FAQ to answer some of the questions that you may have. 

This page contains answers to frequently asked questions all 2020-2021 residents (first-year and returning students).

If you do not find the answer to your question, please contact Housing Service at residence@uOttawa.ca.

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 fall term, 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. 


Latest update: July 10, 2020

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 fall

As we continue to follow public health guidelines, the following residence buildings have been selected to house students this fall: Annex, 45 Mann, Hyman Soloway, 90U, and Henderson.

Students who had received a fall housing offer for Rideau, Friel, Leblanc, Thompson, Marchand, or Stanton will receive a new offer for one of the open buildings through the Housing Portal by the end of July.

Residences open for winter: At this time, it is still too early to speculate about what public health guidelines will be in place in the winter for congregated living situations. We expect to make the decision to open any additional buildings for the winter based on the recommendations of public health authorities midway through the fall term. We will update this website and inform all students arriving in the winter.

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.
  • We will limit the number of students sharing a bathroom.
  • 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.
  • 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, 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.
     

Room assignments

  • 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.
     

Support services

Here are some of the support services that will be available to students in residence:

  • Community advisors: Upper-year student leaders who live on your floor and can offer peer guidance to help you transition to life at university.
  • Peer wellness leaders: Upper-year students who help expand the student experience, with a focus on the transition to university, academics, health and wellness, and life 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.
  • 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 with the transition to university life.
  • Client services: Students and staff will be present at the reception desks to answer all your questions.

The residence programming team has developed an exciting lineup of activities for you and we hope that connecting in person will be permitted. They have adopted a flexible approach, with some online activities and some in-person activities planned when permitted (respecting physical distancing regulations).
 

Dining Hall and meal plans

Food Services are currently developing new Dining Hall processes and procedures to ensure that our students enjoy the best possible dining experience while respecting new safety measures and physical distancing guidelines.

Meal plans will remain mandatory for students living in Stanton, Thompson, Marchand, Leblanc, and 90 University residences.

More information on the Dining Hall and meal plans is available on the Meal plan and Dining Hall FAQ webpage.


We know that this is a tough decision to make. 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.
 

FAQ – 2020-2021 Residents (first-year and returning students)

Are residences reopening in the fall? 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.

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. (See above for details.)

I no longer want to live in residence in September but do wish to live in residence in January. Is my residence offer still guaranteed?

Yes! Housing continues to be guaranteed to newly admitted undergraduate students who applied and paid their deposit by the June 1, 2020 deadline, whether they choose to come to campus in the fall OR the winter.

Students with guaranteed housing offers must do the following:

  • By July 6, 2020, complete the SurveyMonkey survey sent to you on June 19, 2020, to confirm your commitment to join us in residence, either for the full academic year (starting in September 2020) or for the winter term only (starting in January 2021). 

If you decide to only join us in residence in January, a new room assignment will be sent to you in the upcoming weeks.

Please note that you will only pay for the period of your residence contract (the winter term), therefore there will be no costs for the fall term.

If you decide to withdraw your application or cancel your housing offer, remember that reimbursement of your deposit depends on the date on which you cancel. You can check your deadlines at Important Residence Dates and Deadlines.

For all students who do not have a guaranteed offer, it is impossible at this time for us to confirm whether you will have a room in residence this year.

What is the deadline to cancel and receive a refund for my deposit?
Check the Important Residence Dates and Deadlines for the latest information.

New and returning students who cancel their 2020-2021 reservations by July 6, 2020, will receive a 100% refund. Returning students who cancel after this date will not receive a refund.

New students who cancel their 2020-2021 reservations by August 15, 2020, will receive a 50% refund.

After August 15, 2020, students will be responsible for finding a replacement (i.e. another eligible student to take over the room) or they will be required to pay for the cost of the room for the entire agreement period, whether they stay  in residence or not.

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.

What happens if courses are online in January? Can I cancel my residence agreement?

Only students whose residence agreement start in January can cancel their winter 2021 reservation. They must do so by November 30, 2020, to receive a 100% refund.

Check the Important Residence Dates and Deadlines for the latest information.

If I enroll in classes but don’t live in residence this year, will I be able to defer my offer of guaranteed residence until my second year, i.e., for the fall 2021 term?

We are unable to guarantee residence for those who decide not to live in residence this year but who still enrol in classes, given they will not be considered first-year students next year.

If I defer my offer of admission to the fall 2021 term, will I maintain an offer of guaranteed residence for the fall 2021 term?

Yes, if you are guaranteed residence for this year and you defer your offer of admission to the fall 2021 term, we will honour your guarantee of a place in residence so long as you meet the 2021-2022 deadlines, since you will still be a newly admitted first-year student next fall.

I have applied for a room in residence, but I haven’t heard back yet. When will I receive my housing offer?

If you applied for a room in residence and paid your deposit before the June 1, 2020 deadline, you are guaranteed a room for the fall or winter term (a choice you will make by completing the survey sent to your @uOttawa email on June 19, 2020).

We apologize for the delay in confirming your residence application. We have been working with public health officials to develop a residence plan that aligns with public health guidelines. Room assignments and housing offers will be sent in the coming weeks.

Thank you for your patience as we work to identify the best residence solutions with the health and safety of our students in mind.

Will the Dining Hall be open?

Food Services are currently developing new Dining Hall processes and procedures to provide our students with the best possible dining experience that complies with new safety measures and physical distancing guidelines.

Meal plans will remain mandatory for students living in Stanton, Thompson, Marchand, Leblanc, or 90 University residences.

More information on the Dining Hall and on meal plans will be available in the next few weeks. Check the Meal Plan and Dining Hall FAQ webpage.

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 like at university by offering peer guidance.
  • Peer wellness leaders: Upper-year students who help expand the student experience, with a focus on student transition, academics, health and wellness, and residence life.
  • 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.
  • 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, once permitted.

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.  Current public health restrictions allow for groups of 10 individuals outdoors while still respecting social distancing of 2 meters.

More information will be shared over the coming weeks.

Will I be able to have guests visit while living in residence? Will I be able to leave and come back (example: visiting home)?

Students who chose to live in residence this fall can expect that additional restrictions will be in place for the safety of the entire university community. These restrictions will align with public health guidelines, will be mindful of Provincial guidelines around congregated living settings and will take into account the specific and unique residence setting at uOttawa.

It’s still too early to speculate about what public health guidelines will be in place in the fall for congregated living situations. Currently, Ottawa Public health guidelines allow for people to build "social circles" of up to 10 people where physical distancing is not required. It is reasonable to expect that students will be able to visit someone within their circle. Policies surrounding this and are being developed. 

At this time, and until public health restrictions are lifted, we are planning to keep the “no guest” policy in effect for the fall. This means residents are not permitted to have external guests visit their residence building, nor can they have other residents visit their room.

We will constantly be reviewing and updating our policies throughout the fall to ensure they align with public health guidelines.

I am immunocompromised, will I be allowed in residence? Will there be accommodations for my needs?

While the University of Ottawa makes every effort to accommodate students with a variety of health issues in residence, COVID-19 poses significant challenges. We encourage all students who are immunocompromised or who have other health issues, to seek advice from their health care practitioner prior to planning to live in a congregated living setting this fall.

uOttawa is following public health guidelines in planning for residence this fall. Students must make the best decisions for their own health. 

How will move-in take place? When can I choose my move-in date?

We can’t wait to see you! To ensure everyone’s health and safety, we are developing a plan and assessing how physical distancing requirements can be implemented during the move-in period. As soon as this plan is finalized, we will send an email to all students who have accepted their housing offer.

To give you an idea, we will be extending the move-in period to allow for more physical distancing and to support smaller community integration.

What we know so far:

  • We will need to limit the number of people allowed into residence to help you with your move.
  • You will be required to take the Ontario Government self-assessment tool to determine that you do not have any symptoms of COVID-19 prior to entering your residence building.
  • You may be required to wear a mask and use hand sanitizer when you enter and leave the building.

In August, we will be sending an email with more information to fall term residents. We will also be regularly updating the move-in section of our website.

I am an international student and plan to live in residence for the new school year. If I have to self-quarantine for two weeks when I arrive on campus, can I get into residence early?

As per the advice of public health officials, international students must quarantine for 14-days before moving into their residence. The self-quarantine period can be completed at a local hotel or in a separate residence room depending on room availability.

Additional fees will be charged for the quarantine period charged for students requiring early arrival.

The University is actively working on an early arrival and quarantine plan, and more details will be provided in the coming weeks.

Is it possible to live in residence for only 4-months in the fall or winter? (i.e. exchange students or those who have one term left)

Once travel advisories are lifted, exchange students will be able to stay in residence for four months. However, a limited number of spots are available for these students. Priority will be given to students requesting eight-month residence agreements.

Nonetheless, you are still free to submit your application through the Housing Portal on uoZone, and if a room becomes available, a member of the Housing Assignment team will contact you.

Once I’m in residence, what do I do if I feel sick or need to self-isolate? How will I be supported?

We currently have a self-isolation procedure in place for the summer term and we are reviewing new public health guidelines to ensure we continue to comply with the recommended measures.

Everyone is asked to self-monitor their health. If students have symptoms or start to feel sick, they are asked to complete the public health self-assessment, notify Housing Service, contact a health care provider (dependent on results of self-assessment), and follow the directions of the health care provider.

Should a student need to self-isolate, Housing Service will support them by delivering their meals to their door and staying in contact with them at regular intervals.

Based on public health guidelines, we also require all roommates in a unit to self-isolate if one person self-isolates. Everyone needs to do their part in order to avoid spreading the virus.

 

If the COVID-19 situation worsens in Ottawa, could I be asked to leave residence during the fall term?

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.

FAQ – Summer 2020 Residents

Residences remain open to those who need housing due to travel restrictions or other exceptional circumstances. Students who were able to leave by March 22, 2020, were asked to do so.

In response to the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, Housing Service has already taken a number of steps to mitigate the risks and impact on our community:

  • Cleaning processes in residence buildings have been enhanced. 
  • Guests are not allowed in residence until further notice. 
  • All programming and events in residence have been cancelled.  
  • Large group gatherings are prohibited. 
  • Some students have been relocated to rooms where it will be easier for them to practice physical distancing.

Students living in residence

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, please contact a public health official.

You have an obligation to contact Housing Services at (613) 462-7221 if you are self-isolating.

If I have to self-isolate while in residence, what do I have to do?

If you are self-isolating while living in residence, you are required to inform Housing Service by calling 613-462-7221 immediately and let us know if you have a roommate, share a bathroom or have dietary restrictions.

How will I be supported if I am self-isolating?

Someone from Housing Service will be in contact with you at regular intervals during your self-isolation. Please do not leave your room; meals will be provided to you. A detailed information sheet will be provided to all students who are self-isolating. You must follow Ottawa Public Health guidelines on self-isolation.

My self-isolation period is over. What do I do now?

Please do not end your self-isolation without speaking to someone at Housing Service.

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. Everyone needs to do their part in order to avoid spreading the virus.

What number do I call if I need help?

Students living in residence can call 613-562-5885 for general questions.

For emergencies, please contact Protection Services at 613-562-5411.

Summer meal plan

I have a meal plan. How can I access the Dining Hall this summer?

The Dining Hall will be offering a To-Go program for the summer months. This service model follows guidelines provided by Ottawa Public Health to keep everyone safe and mitigate the risks associated with spread of COVID-19.

I do not have a meal plan. Can I buy one for the summer?

No. Only students with a mandatory meal plan living in 90U this summer will have access to the To-Go program since they do not have access to the communal kitchens located in that residence building.

Can I opt out of the To-Go Program?

No. Students with a mandatory meal plan living in 90U this summer must access the To-Go program as access to the communal kitchens located in that residence is prohibited.

Will I have to pay extra for the To-Go Program?

No, you will be charged the same daily rate of $26.83 per day for a meal plan.

Is the menu available online?

The full menu is available online. Note that the menu is subject to change based on product availability.

Is it all-you-care-to-eat?

The to-go program will provide a breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack options on a daily basis, along with beverages. If the portions are not sufficient, please email foodservices@uottawa.ca.

When can I pick up my food?

You must pick up your meals at the Dining Hall between 8:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. The Dining Hall will close at 2:00 p.m. 

Can I pick up one meal at a time?

No, all daily meals and snacks will be provided to you at one time. You will only be permitted to enter the Dining Hall once a day.

Can I sit in the Dining Hall?

The dining hall is closed for eat-in as per the directives of Public Health officials. You must take all of to-go your meals back to your room. 

What if I have dietary restrictions?

All animal proteins are certified Halal and each day we will offer a vegetarian option. If you have dietary restrictions that are not accommodated by those choices, or if you have food allergies, please contact our Dietitian mmoffitt@uottawa.ca or Food Services foodservices@uottawa.ca directly.

How can I stay safe when picking up my food?

You will need to respect physical distancing rules: only stand where it is indicated, keep 7 feet between you and others, use hand sanitizer when entering the Dining Hall, wait your turn to be served and leave the Dining Hall immediately after receiving your meals. 

I don’t have dishes, what do I use?

Food Services will provide you with microwave-safe containers, please recycle appropriately.  We will also provide one set of reusable utensils for the summer months. You are responsible for cleaning and caring for them.

Students who have moved out of residence

I requested an exception to leave some belongings behind. When can I come get them?

We are now able to move forward with organizing the pickup of student belongings in accordance with Ottawa Public Health's recommended guidelines.

All students who have left belongings in residence can now book their pickup time slot to retrieve their items on campus from July 13 to August 8 (varies by residence). Visit the Retrieving Belongings from Residence web page for all the details.

 

 

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