Fall 2020 Housing Information

The Office of Residential Life and Learning (ORLL) is here to support you through navigating the modified housing process for Fall 2020.

On July 29, 2020 the Deans shared detailed information about this Fall's move-in. Please review this information carefully. Students and their families can find comprehensive information about the University's plans for reopening this Fall, as well as answers to frequently asked questions, on a dedicated website.

We recognize that this is a truly stressful and challenging time for everyone, and the pandemic has necessitated public health and university operating guidelines that allow for limited choices for members of our community. With this in mind, ORLL wanted to provide as many opportunities for choice for our continuing students who have a housing assignment for the fall. This has resulted in a complex housing confirmation and, if requested, re-selection process, all of which is focused on maximizing student choice with a variety of options.

Students who have selected, or were assigned housing, will have the following options:

Option #1: Stay on-campus and understand that assignments may change:

  • You can request to stay in your currently assigned space. If you love the space you and your friends chose in March, you can stay there even if your friends all want to live elsewhere. Simply indicate you wish to remain in the space, and you will be given the opportunity to either pull in friends into your apartment, suite, or room with you. If you don’t have anyone you want to pull in, but still want to stay – you can certainly do that, but recognize that other students will be placed in the open bed spaces in your room, apartment and/or suite.
  • You can opt to leave your space. If you aren’t tied to your current assignment, and you and a few friends want to form a new group, you can do that. Unlike in normal housing selection, we will allow these new cohorts to live together not only in suites, apartments, and houses, but also in our traditional residence halls in organized residential cohorts. If you don’t have friends to live with, you can forfeit your current space and go through the new housing selection process to pick a new option, but as usual, this may mean you will only be able to select a space with someone you don’t know.

Please discuss with roommates and friend groups your decision to return to campus. In the Return to Housing Intent form on the portal, you will see where you were assigned and who your roommates. This page will update as students make their decision and are removed from or assigned housing.

Due to required dedensification, there may (dependent upon the number of students choosing to return to campus) be a limited number of rooms across campus that may be closed or have a reduced occupancy. If you live in one of these rooms, you (and your group if applicable) will be notified by the Office of Residential Life and Learning and be offered options for reassignment. Notifications will start the week of July 6th.

Option #2: Return to Tufts in-person but no longer wish to live on-campus:

  • You can choose to leave your housing assignment and live off campus. Though you would normally be responsible for the $750 housing commitment fee, if you choose to forfeit your housing to live off campus, we will not require you to pay that commitment fee in an effort to be as supportive as possible to students exploring the off campus option. Note that students who cancel their housing after the initial intent form process will still be responsible for the fee – this waiver is only applicable until July 1, 2020. Additionally, sophomores can only live off campus if they are living with family, as our two year residency requirement still applies.

We recognize that every student’s situation is different and this plan, while logistically complicated from the administrative end, allows the most student choice. We appreciate your patience as we move through this far more complex process in the coming weeks.


Frequently Asked Questions about Residential Cohorts:

What are residential cohorts? I don’t understand the concept.
“Residential cohort” refers to the small group of students that are living in close proximity to each other, usually sharing common facilities such as living rooms, bathrooms, etc. Most of the cohort spaces for continuing or returning students are defined by the structure of the housing. For instance, a suite in Wren or Haskell, or an apartment in Sophia Gordon, or a small CoHo house would each be considered a cohort. During housing selection this past spring, these are the spaces students were able to select through group formation and choose to live in with friends. For first year students, the cohorts are those in close proximity to you, usually on your floor or wing of the residence hall.

Will I be assigned to a cohort? Or am I already part of one?
For continuing/returning students, if you are in an apartment, for instance, and you have declared your intent to attend in person and have requested to stay in that apartment, your apartmentmates will be your cohort. As a reminder, if you have a fall housing assignment in a suite, apartment, or house, you have the ability to stay there and pull in friends to fill any vacancies that may arise. Filling vacancies will begin on July 1st once we know who is coming in person and who is taking a leave or going remote. New students will be placed in a cohort within their assigned residence hall based on physical proximity, generally within the same wing or floor.

What about traditional, larger buildings like Harleston, Stratton, Lewis, and West?
Cohorts will exist in these larger buildings as well, again based on shared bathrooms and lounges. Those students who are currently assigned to a traditional residence hall are also welcome to stay where they are, recognizing that there may be occupancy changes around them. Students who are in a double, triple, or quad by themselves right now are able to pull a friend to fill the vacancy or vacancies. ORLL will create floor plans showing the traditional hall cohort options, but please be aware that no students will be forced to be in a cohort with others, even in proximity to them, if they do not want to be. Your options are (1) to be part of your assigned cohort per the floor plan (based on bathroom use and physical proximity), or (2) opt out of that cohort and only relax physical distancing with only your assigned roommate(s). The only “required” cohorts are between roommates sharing a bedroom, since close contact is unavoidable in those rooms. Students assigned to larger traditional residence halls will be asked about their preference to opt in or out of their cohort in early August prior to residence hall move in. New students will be placed in a cohort within their assigned residence hall based on physical proximity, generally within the same wing or floor.

The only people I am allowed to hang out with are people in my residential cohort, right? It will be really hard for me to only interact with just those people living around me and avoiding all other people.
This is not accurate. You are able to interact with ANYONE you would like! You just need to wear a mask when interacting with anyone, and when interacting with people outside your cohort for more than 10 minutes, you need to maintain 6 feet of physical distance strictly or it counts as a “close contact”. The difference within your cohort is that you can be slightly closer than 6 feet from them, given the proximity residentially. For instance, if you are in a cohort in a Latin Way apartment, you and your apartmentmates can sit next to each other to watch tv or to eat, and you don’t need to maintain the 6 foot distance, although you still need to wear your mask. You can absolutely hang out with friends outside of your cohort as long as you maintain 6 foot distance and wear masks. If you hang out with a friend outside your residential cohort but cannot maintain 6 foot distance and are not wearing a mask for particular reasons, then it counts as a “close contact” for exposure. We ask you to minimize the number of “close contacts” you may have in one day given you are already experiencing “close contacts” with your roommate(s) and when interacting within 6 feet of your other residential cohort members. Reducing “close contacts”, in addition to wearing masks and other hygiene measures is effective in reducing spread of infection.

Where on campus am I allowed to hang out with other people outside of my residential cohort group, provided I am wearing my mask and keeping 6 foot distance?
You can spend time with other people in any outdoor space on campus, the Campus Center, the library, classrooms, and other non-residential spaces. The residence halls are only open to residents of that building, so if your friends live in your same residence hall you can spend time with them in hall lounges provided you allow the proper distance and wear masks. You can eat meals with others as well, if you are able to maintain a 6 foot distance.

If I live in Stratton and I am on a floor in a single, but according to the ORLL floorplans my entire wing is one cohort, does that mean I have to spend more time with others in my area?
No not at all! If you keep your full distance from others on your floor and still wear your mask, you can essentially be a “cohort of 1”, if you wish. Again, this doesn’t mean you can’t hang out with other people even on your floor, but the cohort itself just allows relaxation on the physical distancing between members of the same cohort.

In my residential cohort, can I take off my mask?
All individuals should be wearing masks whenever they are outside their bedroom, with the exception of personal grooming (brushing teeth, washing face, showering, etc.) and eating. In the cohort, you should keep your mask on, but you can be physically closer to your cohortmates than folks outside of your cohort.

If I am currently assigned to a double in Harleston and want to form a cohort with friends currently assigned to Stratton, how can we do this?
You should indicate on your intent form that you wish to reform a group and select a new space. Know that the new space you and your friends may be assigned to may not be in Harleston or Stratton, but might be in another area of campus. This will be an individualized process and a member of the ORLL professional staff team will work directly with your group to determine a good place for your group to move. If we are not able to locate a suitable option for you, we will allow you to retain your current assignment.

Does any of this change if I live off campus?
Students should abide by the cohort guidelines off campus as well, counting your apartment/house as a cohort and only removing your mask when only with your roommate(s).

For incoming new students, how is compatibility within the cohort being determined? The roommate housing questionnaire did not seem to be enough to do this.
After examining implications of allowing roommate choosing for new students, we have decided that we will continue with our current practice this year of making first year and transfer housing assignments based on living compatibility instead of letting students select their own roommates.  Because the university has decided to move in the direction of supporting residential cohorts, it will be important that compatibility of living styles is prioritized in roommate matching as we may be more limited in our ability to do room changes.  We have found that incidents of roommate conflicts have decreased when we take the approach of matching students based on living compatibility. In fact, there are more roommate conflicts per capita with our continuing students (sophomore and above) who choose their own roommates and housemates than with our first-year students, who are matched on living compatibility. We continue to adjust and improve our housing questionnaire every year, and while room change requests do happen among first-year students, they happen far less frequently than with rising sophomores, who have the ability to choose their roommates. First year residential communities generally become quite close given their proximity and the type of programming and group development supported by Resident Assistants, so we anticipate strong relationships being formed as usual in these communities.