Residential Life and Community Guidelines 2020-2021

Effective January 2021 and Subject to Adjustments that Reflect Local, State, and Federal Covid Guidelines

In light of the global COVID-19 pandemic, Amherst College asks all students to do their part to protect themselves and other members of the campus and surrounding communities. All students have a responsibility to their peers, to the faculty and staff of the college, and to the Amherst area and beyond to follow the directions of public health and college officials to keep our communities and those we care about as healthy as possible.

In addition to individual actions and expectations, we also have a collective responsibility as members of the Amherst College community. This responsibility includes mutual support and respect in addition to accountability to each other for the collective health and wellbeing of all members of our community. 

With this in mind, all students are expected to adhere to the policies outlined below, as well as those found in the Student Code of Conduct and other official College publications.  These policies describing non residence hall-specific expectations should be followed at all times while on campus.  These policies are subject to change as the local and global situation evolves and as public health guidance is updated. Students will be informed of any updates as soon as they are available.

The following conditions, circumstances, and regulations prevail as to the use and occupancy of residence halls, houses, and other facilities and services during the extraordinary period of pandemic-influenced restrictions.  The College reserves the responsibility and authority to adjust the contents of this document as often as credible guidance and best practices suggest.  The health of our community will remain at the forefront of our decision-making.

The undersigned hereby requests assignment to an Amherst College residence hall, and understands the terms and conditions of this document, as well as those found in the Student Code of Conduct and other official College publications, as describing the residential relationship between the undersigned and the College.

Public Health Directives

  • Students are required to comply with all COVID-19 testing protocols and directives issued by the College.

  • Students are required to comply with any public health directives issued by College officials. This includes directives related to quarantine, isolation, and all policies listed in this document, including any addendums or updates.

  • Students are required to follow the posted public health modified occupancy limits of shared indoor spaces and all signage, placards, and posted expectations related to health and safety precautions.

  • Students must monitor their own health daily and are expected to complete a daily health status check. Students should contact health services if they are experiencing any symptoms. 

  • The College reserves the right to assign and reassign a resident to a room or residence hall. Prior to reassignment, when possible, the College may consult with the resident and/or explain to the resident the reasons for the move in advance. In the event of an emergency, the College reserves the right to adjust occupancy, so long as such the measure conforms to health and safety regulations.

Physical Distancing

  • Students will be expected to maintain appropriate physical distancing, especially in classrooms, labs, or in any shared indoor spaces.

Face Coverings and Masks

  • Students are expected to wear a mask or face covering, at all times (with the exception of when alone in individual rooms).

Housing Regulations

  • First-year students are required to live in one of the designated first-year halls or areas.
  • Students departing campus at the end of the spring semester are required to completely vacate their assigned room prior to leaving for the Thanksgiving Break. 
  • Students may not sublet or rent their assigned room, nor provide their access card or key to any other person for any reason.
  • Students will be permitted to access only the residence hall to which they are assigned without express written permission from Student Affairs.  Greenway B, C, and Nicholls Biondi are considered to comprise one hall for the purpose of this guideline (as they are connected internally). James and Stearns, though connected via the basement level, do not constitute a singular unit, and residents are not permitted to access the hall to which they are not assigned.
  • Students may not utilize their assigned residence hall room or suite to operate any business.
  • Students may not utilize nor transform their assigned residence hall room or suite for purposes other than its primary uses of study, rest, and relaxation. 
  • All College-issued furniture must remain in the assigned room or suite unless the Office of Accessibility Services has granted written permission for removal as part of a housing accommodation.
  • Students are not permitted to remove screens in their room. All windows and screens will have been inspected before students begin occupying the room. If there is a problem with a screen or window, students should immediately notify their Community Advisor or the Service Center (servicectr@amherst.edu) to request a repair.
  • For ground floor windows, heavy gauge security screens and accompanying security tags have been installed to help protect our students and their possessions. Any removal or damage to the security tags will result in a cost of repair or replacement.
  • Air conditioning units may not be kept in an assigned room or suite nor installed by students into windows without express written permission of the Office of Accessibility Services. If a student has a medically-documented need for an air conditioner, the student should work with the Office of Accessibility Services who will notify the Office of Residential Life. 

Guests

  • Under no circumstances are non-resident guests, including enrolled Amherst College or Five-College students who live off-campus, permitted to visit Amherst College residents in their residence hall.
  • Campus buildings will only be accessible to Amherst College community members and are not open to other guests, including other Five-College community members.

Health and Safety

  • Smoking of all types, including e-cigarettes and vapor-producing devices, are prohibited within all residence halls. Open flames and smoldering materials (candles and incense) are also disallowed.
  • Tampering with any health and safety equipment is a serious offense and will result in adjudication by the College.
  • Students must maintain adequate egress paths in their living areas at all times. No items may block hallways, stairwells, or exits. Persistent reminders of egress violations may result in adjudication by the College.

Insurance of Personal Property

  • The College assumes absolutely no responsibility for the loss of, or damage to, personal property of any assigned resident of College housing. This includes items placed in College storage. 

Keys

  • When leaving the College for any reason, your room key MUST be returned. Students who fail to return their key will be charged. Per section 7.13, Keys, in the Student Code of Conduct: If a student loses a room key or does not return a key at checkout, a lock charge of $75 per lock may be assessed, in addition to a $1 charge for each key that must be replaced. Key charges will be evaluated at the discretion of the Locksmith and the Police Chief/Director of Public Safety.
  • Students may not exchange their College-assigned keys or their ID card with each other or change their housing assignment without permission of the Office of Residential Life and following the appropriate process for room moves. Keys for approved room changes must be returned to the Locksmith. These appointments will be initiated by the Office of Residential Life. Students moving are responsible for completing this task. Students who exchange keys without prior approval will receive follow-up which may result in adjudication for violation of the Student Code of Conduct

Storage

  • Each individual assumes responsibility for insurance of personal property as well as its safe storage and maintenance.
  • Large items such as furniture of any kind (couches, beds,chairs, futons, tables, etc.), plastic drawers, shelves, carpets/rugs, tires, grills, refrigerators, and other large appliances are not allowed to be stored. Students may not store other items prohibited in rooms, such as (but not limited to) microwaves, hot pots, air conditioners, and heaters.

Student Gatherings and Social Events

  • No parties or social events that are not planned with Student Affairs and vetted for appropriate physical distancing and personal protective equipment standards will be permitted.
  • All student gatherings are limited in size to ten or fewer individuals and must follow all expectations around distancing and wearing face coverings or masks. 
  • No events with alcohol will be permitted.  

Student Vehicles

  • Students who bring vehicles to campus must register their vehicles with the Amherst College Police Department (ACPD).  Note: Students are not permitted to depart campus in their vehicles, without written permission from a College official (except for an evacuation order or for the final departure from campus upon the conclusion of classes).  Departing campus in a vehicle without permission may require the student to quarantine for 14 days or be subject to a College adjudication.

Travel Away from Campus

  • Students are expected to remain on the Amherst College campus.  While travel away from campus is prohibited, students may continue to use the rail trail, the Amherst Bird Sanctuary, and the Book & Plow Farm. 

  • Residents who have legitimate need to travel away from campus (for example: medical appointment or family emergency) must inform Student Affairs PRIOR to leaving campus.  Student Affairs will partner with residents to identify the most effective method for accomplishing travel and any steps needed to re-enter campus.

 

Accountability

Students who do not adhere to applicable safety precautions may be subject to removal from college housing and/or disciplinary action.

Although we anticipate that all students wish to do their part to keep our campus safe, students who choose to put the health and wellbeing of their peers and the faculty and staff of the College at risk by not adhering to these policies may be referred to the Office of Community Standards. Given the high stakes if individuals fail or refuse to comply with the standards and parameters, swift and decisive response to violations should be expected.  The College will extend grace as we adjust to these new realities; however, infractions could result in immediate removal from campus housing, removing access to campus facilities, and a requirement that the student return to their home residence to continue the semester via remote learning.  Furthermore, students should be aware that egregious, repeated, or intentional violations of these policies will likely result in an immediate interim suspension followed by a referral to Community Standards. Egregious or intentional violations of these policies include, but are not limited to: hosting a gathering or party of more than ten individuals, inviting non-resident guests into the residence halls, or not following directives regarding quarantine or isolation when required to do so.  

I have read and have agreed to the terms and conditions listed in these guidelines, together with the rules, regulations and procedures of Amherst College as published herein and in the Student Code of Conduct, and in other College publications. Violations of these terms may result in removal, repair and/or replacement costs, fines, or other disciplinary actions.