Frequently Asked Questions
Will residence be open in the Fall?
Yes. As with many universities in the province, the COVID-19 pandemic and the new public health guidelines have changed the way our residences can operate for now. In the Fall 2020 term, the Mount will offer Caring Communities – a modified residence program with reduced capacity (54%) that will facilitate physical distancing and other measures recommended by government and public health officials.
What will be the main changes and new expectations in residence for Fall 2020?
We know that an important part of the first-year experience is living in residence. Unfortunately, health guidelines will drastically change the way our residences will be able to operate this fall.
Residence occupancy will be limited to our Westwood Apartment units and some traditional senior, single rooms on Westwood 3rd floor as well as single, traditional rooms in Assisi Hall. Students will be assigned to single rooms with a shared washroom (2:1 ratio) and shared common spaces (public health gathering limits and other interim Residence Life policies will apply).
Students who are assigned to live in residence will need to be aware that the Rental Agreement, Caring Community Code, and Plan for Student Success and Wellbeing are all part of the students’ responsibilities and have been created to ensure current government and public health guidelines are followed. Here are some of the ways that things will be a little different this fall:
- Visitors and overnight guests will not be permitted.
- Enhanced cleaning protocols will be required.
- Select meal plan options will be required.
- Limitations will be in place regarding the use of public space, such as lounges
The Residence Community Code will continue to be modified to align with changing requirements and recommendations from government and public health officials.
Is it worth living on campus if all of my classes are being delivered online?
Knowing the experience will be different given the current public health guidelines, this is a very personal and individual decision that you will have to make. We expect this decision will be influenced by many factors such as personal finances, where you live, your academic requirements and personal circumstances.
Can I stay at home for the Fall term and come to campus for the Winter term?
We can convert your current application to reflect your interest in a room in residence for Winter Term 2021 (January – April). However, at this time, we are unable to determine the availability of residence rooms for the Winter Term.
Please complete the electronic form indicating that you are interested in moving into residence for the Winter Term. We will confirm once we have made the adjustment to your residence application preference.
We will provide an update regarding residence for the winter 2021 term by November 2020. Details about the residence assignment process for the Winter Term in November 2020.
What if I want to cancel my application and stay home for the entire academic year?
Please complete the electronic form. We will confirm once we have processed your cancellation. Your application fee will be credited to your MSVU Student Account.
Will there be any changes to the residence and meal plan fees?
In an effort to address the financial constraints on students and their families during this challenging time, the University has made a commitment to not increase room fees for the 2020-21 academic year. The meal plan offerings for the year will be a Pod 7 meal plan (3 meals/day, 7 days/week) for Assisi and Westwood 3rd floor students and Westwood Apartment students will be able to choose either an enhanced Flex Plan or a Pod 7 meal plan.
Will I be able to eat in the Dining Hall?
At this point, we expect the Dining Hall will be available for seated dining; as well, take-out meal service may be available during specific hours. Westwood students will be assigned to apartment-style accommodations and will have kitchen facilities to cook for themselves.
How will the residence experience be different and how will I connect with people in my area?
In residence, you will still have access to supports and (including trained RAs and Dons) and we are working on creative online orientation and community-building programs, but due to physical distancing requirements, the way it is delivered will change. Similar to the University’s academic programs, residence programming will be delivered primarily online—with limited in-person interactions.
The Residence Life Team will be there to offer support and referrals for all students, and the Health Manager and Residence Life Manager will be available for check-ins at various points in the term.
When will I know if I have a room for the Fall term?
We have asked students to submit updated residence application information via an electronic form which is due by July 10, 2020. The Residence Life Office will endeavour to send out room assignments by July 20, 2020.
When will residence re-open in September?
The official residence re-opening date is Sunday, September 6th; however, due to physical distancing requirements, we are working on a plan to stagger the dates of residences opening to allow for public health protocols.
I have not yet applied for a residence room. Can I still apply for fall 2020?
Yes. The residence application is still available online. Please keep in mind that if more students want to move into residence than we can accommodate, we will have to prioritize applications, with an emphasis on students who must be in Halifax due to an academic requirement (i.e. co-op, practicum or internship), students with a concern about internet connectivity at home, students with no other housing option and students whose personal circumstances create challenges or barriers to their academic success in a remote learning context.
What will the physical distancing requirements be if I come to campus for the Fall term?
Students will be expected to follow all public health guidelines during their stay in residence. These may include requirements with respect to physical distancing and wearing a face covering. We will regularly update students regarding current guidelines.
Students living in Westwood Apartments are responsible for cleaning and disinfecting their own space, including their bedrooms, washrooms and shared living area and kitchens.
Where maintenance by a custodian or tradesperson is necessary, students may be asked to vacate their room/unit while work is being performed to maintain physical distancing requirements.
Public area cleaning (i.e. shared washrooms, laundry rooms, lounges) will be enhanced as per guidelines from Nova Scotia Public Health.
What other buildings/campus areas will be open if I am living on campus?
We know that this is going to be a unique situation for everyone on campus and we want to ensure that you have the best experience possible. All residence students will have FOB access to the Rosaria Student Centre, the Dining Hall, terrace and the Residence Life Commons in Evaristus Hall. Depending on the Public Health guidelines in September, we are hopeful that we will have some enhanced student common spaces available, such as the library, fitness centre, Aboriginal Student Centre and the International Education Centre.
As the term progresses, we are hopeful we’ll be able to offer more spaces for students to use on campus.
If I am not returning for the Fall term, what will happen to my items that I have stored on campus?
We have made every effort to store all student belongings together in the Assisi Trunk Room. If you are returning to campus for the January term, your items will be available for you to pick up upon your arrival back on campus. If you are not returning for the January term, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to make arrangements for pick up.
I am moving into an apartment in Westwood and want to cook all of my own meals. Why do I have to have to have a swipe meal plan?
As you will see on the Room and Meal Plan Fee document that was attached to your rental agreement, the Enhanced Modified Flex (EMF) plan is designed to allow for full meal service during 2 self-isolation periods per term (with meals delivered) and also provides food security by reducing the need to risk exposure (public transportation, grocery stores, etc.) in the event of a second wave. You can use the swipes for any meal period during the academic year in Rosaria Dining Hall and there is a flex dollar component that you can use for convenience items.
While we know this is not necessarily ideal for all students, especially those who were eager to cook all of their meals on their own, the University felt it was necessary to ensure that all students living on campus could receive adequate food service for the year, regardless of the pandemic circumstances. This option was the best way to ensure that all students will be able to remain on campus for the duration without any service interruptions. You will still be able to cook your own meals in your unit, this will just offset some of your food requirements.
I have a special diet that I need to consider. How will that work with the Enhanced Modified Flex plan?
We are excited to welcome Chef Heather McNulty back to campus this year and Sous Chef Dave. Our Chartwells team are aware that we will have some students with special dietary requirements on campus and they are willing and eager to work with you all to ensure that they build in the healthy options and lots of variety to the menu options.
Can we move into residence early?
Unfortunately, given the new provincial guidelines and protocols, we are not permitted to make any exceptions to the move-in procedures this year. We are taking extra precautions with check-in and scheduling move-in dates/times is necessary to ensure for proper social distancing and to reduce wait times and line ups. These challenging times are tough for everyone; however, health and safety are our number one priority.
Should you have to arrive in the city prior to your move-in appointment, some local hotels are offering reduced rates for students and families coming into town for move-in.
We are excited to have you back on campus and look forward to seeing you soon!
Will students have to self-isolate when they get to campus?
Students arriving from within the current government bubble at the point of move-in (ie. Atlantic Canada), will not be required to self-isolate. All other student will be required to self-isolate off campus for 14 days prior to arriving on campus. Please refer to our move-in information page on our website for details.
All students will be required to arrive by appointment only and must complete a pre-screen before accessing residence.