Housing for Academic Year 2020–21 and COVID-19 Response
Last updated: September 18, 2020
Plans for On-Campus Housing for 2020–21
UC Berkeley is pleased to be housing a limited number of students this fall in campus residence halls and apartments. Please note that UC Berkeley’s housing plans are subject to the restrictions of local public health authorities. Read the latest campus updates about Academic Year 2020–21 here.
We still have space for fall, so if your original living arrangements have changed, you can still apply to live in campus housing. Applications are being accepted on a rolling basis for undergraduates, graduate students, and students with families (Family Student Housing).
On-campus housing for students in the residential halls will be single occupancy only. Occupancy levels in apartments for undergraduate and graduate student and student family housing (University Village Albany) remain the same. All housing complexes continue to have residential life, housing, custodial, maintenance, and other critical staff on site and those offices are open for service.
Spring Housing Options
Housing contracts are for the full academic year 2020–21, including both fall and spring semesters. Spring-only housing assignments will be offered on a limited, space-available basis. Current plans are to keep offering single occupancy in residence halls while occupancy in apartments for undergraduate, graduate, and student family housing (University Village Albany) will remain the same. Please note that housing plans are subject to the restrictions of local public health authorities. The Spring housing application deadline is October 22. Learn more about Spring 2021 housing.
Students who declined fall housing can update their 2020-21 housing application term to "Spring Only" at portal.housing.berkeley.edu. Students who originally accepted housing for fall and then cancel will need to start a new application for 2020-21 at portal.housing.berkeley.edu after they receive confirmation that their cancellation has been processed. The application fee will be waived.
Asymptomatic COVID-19 Testing
Students moving into residence halls were tested for COVID-19 on their move-in day (see the Move-In and Move-In FAQs pages for information) and again after their first week. Move In began prior to the start of instruction so students could self-sequester for 7–10 days, a preventative measure where people deliberately restrict their movement to avoid contact with others. New residents remained sequestered until the results of their second test were confirmed and came back negative.
Testing is required for on campus residence hall students twice per week throughout the fall 2020 semester. Testing is highly recommended for students in campus apartments. Regular testing helps the community identify and address potential COVID outbreaks before they have a chance to spread and is especially important for identifying infectious asymptomatic individuals. This testing is free of charge, regardless of your insurance. Testing is also available for any student exhibiting symptoms or who has had close contact with a known positive case. For more on campus surveillance testing, please visit UHS’ surveillance testing page.
Students living near campus in private homes, apartments and residences will not be required to be tested at present. Surveillance testing is usually not covered by insurance but if it is available to you, we do recommend it. You can use online tools to find testing sites near you (eligibility differs by location, read carefully). We are working to expand our testing capacity and will let you know when campus provided surveillance testing can be expanded to students living in off campus housing in the local area.
Symptomatic COVID-19 Testing on Campus
For any student experiencing symptoms or who may have been exposed to COVID-19 (or any students with concerns), please call the University Health Services Advice Line 24/7 at 510-643-7197 for consultation or an appointment. You can also call if you are unsure if you need to be seen. If you feel significantly ill, requiring assessment within our COVID tent, stop by the Durant side of the University Health Services building, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For those living outside the Berkeley area or needing assistance outside of business hours, you may need to go directly to the nearest emergency room.
You do NOT need to be enrolled in the Student Health Insurance Program (SHIP) to get tested or be assessed by UHS. There is no out-of-pocket cost to be tested at UHS, it is covered by the university and/or insurance as part of the public health and safety measures to stop the spread of coronavirus. All testing requires a clinician’s orders. If you have tested positive through another medical provider or testing location, please call the University Health Services CONFIDENTIAL line at 510-643-8227 to inform our clinical teams, to help us support you and guide our campus.
Expectations After Sequestration Ends
Following the sequestration period, we still require you to abide by pandemic mitigating measures — even when engaging with your student residential household grouping.
You will be expected to:
- Wear a face covering that covers both the nose and mouth unless you are inside your room, brushing your teeth, taking a shower, or eating.
- Physical distance at all times.
- Respect the needs of those in your residential household grouping (students sharing the same restroom as you), follow shared community expectations, and communicate with one another regularly. Use the University Health Services best practices as a guiding point.
- Only interact with students within your residential household grouping when indoors (no one else).
- Do not visit the spaces of other residential household groupings, even those in your building (for example visiting other floors or other suites), unless you are using the laundry room or going to the front desk.
- Respect the Residential Code of Conduct no guest policy. No guests beyond your residential household grouping are allowed in your room; this includes visitors from other residential household groupings within your building.
- Follow local public health ordinances, such as wearing a face covering or physical distancing, when leaving your residence hall. If you are not wearing a face covering in the City of Berkeley, you can be fined up to $500 a day.*
- Follow testing requirements and recommendations, as shared by University Health Services.
You are expected to avoid engaging with anyone outside of your residential household grouping (this includes traveling home to visit family or visiting friends or partners who are not in your household grouping). In the event that you need to come in close contact (within 6 feet, without wearing a facial covering, for over 15 minutes) with people beyond your household grouping we would expect you to self-sequester for a week after and you would not be able to re-engage with your student residential household grouping until after self-sequestering again. Remember that parents, supporters, guests, and visitors are not permitted and should stay away from campus. Student organizations of any size will not be considered a household grouping and are prohibited from gathering in-person, on or off campus.
*Effective September 17, 2020, a Berkeley city ordinance allows the civil enforcement of local health officer orders, including fines for anyone not wearing a facial covering. Individuals can be cited up to $100 a day for a first-time violation, with penalties up to $500 per day for repeat offenses.
Residential Experience in 2020–21
Updated as of 9/4/2020.
The residential experience for students living in UC Berkeley campus housing for 2020–21 will look different than in past years, as we navigate a “new normal” during the COVID-19 pandemic and adjust our plans based upon the latest guidance from public health officials. Your safety and well-being are of paramount importance. Our staff at Residential Life remain committed to offering programs, services, and opportunities to build community with your peers and with student residential hall staff. Engagement will occur online, subject to resumption of in person, on-campus activities if pandemic conditions improve.
Residents are accountable for knowing and adhering to both the UC Berkeley Student Code of Conduct and the Residential Code of Conduct, which is a subset of the Berkeley code. If there is a conflict between the Residential Code of Conduct and the state of California shelter in place order, you must adhere to the shelter in place order while it is in effect.
Residential and Apartment Household Groupings
Students are assigned to a household grouping to help them more easily create a community with those living near them. Each grouping will include no more than 12 students.
Residential household groupings are the group of students who share the same restroom. Apartment household groupings are the group of students who share the same apartment. Note that in apartments with double bedrooms, two students share a bedroom; this is permitted because the apartment constitutes a small household grouping.
After the self-sequester period ends, you are able to engage with students in your household groupings in the following ways while still abiding to the pandemic mitigating measures noted above (such as wearing face coverings and physical distancing):
- Visit each other’s rooms
- Exercise with each other outside
Note: if you reside in a mini suite and do not currently share a bathroom with other students, or if you reside in an apartment by yourself, Res Life staff will reach out to you individually to discuss how to engage in a larger household group.
Residential Programs and Engagement
During and after the self-sequestering time period, students living in the residence halls will be supported by Res Life staff members. Res Life staff members organize two community meetings a semester with students (at the beginning and at the end, both planned to be virtual this semester). They will also be organizing virtual programming throughout the fall semester. Students can stay up to date on program offerings through the Res Life newsletter or Instagram.
Daily Symptom Screener
Students in UC residential spaces will now also be required to complete a daily symptoms screener. You can access the Daily Symptom Screener in one of a variety of ways:
Note that essential student researchers and student workers (e.g. RAs, TPRAs, and SRAs) who must work on campus also are required to complete a symptom screener every day before entering campus.
Take The Keep Berkeley Healthy Pledge
All students who come onto campus or other UC Berkeley property are required to accept the Keep Berkeley Healthy Pledge in Cal Central by September 18. The pledge will be required for access to on-campus buildings and services when they are open (for example: The Student Union, libraries, or classrooms). The pledge creates a shared understanding of the expectations between the University and Berkeley students and holds students accountable for the measures that will be taken to protect the community. UC Berkeley staff and faculty are required to abide by similar regulations. Students who do not acknowledge reviewing the pledge will not be permitted on campus or other UC Berkeley property. For students moving into campus housing, the expectations are outlined in the Residential Code of Conduct.
Cal Dining Meal Service
During the self-sequester period, all students living in residence halls or with an off-campus meal plan will receive breakfast, lunch, and dinner on weekdays, and brunch and dinner on weekends, regardless of which meal plan you have purchased. Cal Dining meal service will be provided at or close to your residence hall during the sequester period. Cal Dining meals will include vegetarian, vegan, and allergen friendly options. Students can leave their room to pick up their meal, while following self-sequestering practices.
During the Semester
Beginning September 6, the dining commons will be open for to-go meals only and students will be expected to use their meal plans. Café 3, Clark Kerr, and Crossroads dining commons will open on September 6. Bear Market, The Den, The Golden Bear Café, and Pizzeria 1868 will open on September 8. Every student living in the residence hall is automatically registered for a blue plan. Learn more about how to upgrade your meal plan or add flex dollars.
If you have questions regarding meal distribution logistics, dietary restrictions, and/or accommodations, please contact email@example.com
Rates for 2020–21 Housing Contracts
As of July 20, in response to developments in public health conditions and due to density restrictions aligned with public health guidelines, all residence hall rooms (double, triple, and quad) have been converted to single rooms, and rates for these converted rooms have changed accordingly. Converted rooms will retain the size and furniture of the double, triple, or quad room, but will house a single resident. New rates for the converted rooms are reflected on the Rates page.
Cancellations and Relief
Updated as of 8/27/2020
Unless ordered otherwise by the public health officials, we currently intend to keep the residential halls and apartments open as they are the primary residence for many students. Students were given an opportunity in July to cancel their housing contracts without penalty. Students who accepted a housing contract agreed to the contract’s terms and conditions. However, in recognition of the situation with respect to COVID-19, we are offering modified cancellation options, described below.
UPDATE for 2020-2021 contracts, only:
If you DID NOT already move in and want to cancel your housing contract for 2020-2021:
- By September 7, 2020, you must pay a discounted cancellation fee of $150.
- After September 7, 2020, you must pay a cancellation fee of $300.
If you DID already move in and want to cancel your housing contract for 2020-2021:
- By September 7, 2020, you must pay a discounted cancellation fee of $150 and be responsible for the prorated cost of room and board for the days you were in UC housing (approximately $75 per day, depending on your unit), but you will not be financially responsible for the remainder of room and board charges under your housing contract.
- After September 7, 2020, you must pay a cancellation fee of $300, plus the cost of room and board for the days you were in UC housing (approximately $75 per day, depending on your unit), but you will not be financially responsible for the remainder of room and board charges under your housing contract.
Please note: In order to be considered for a cancellation, students must complete the contract cancellation request form, move all items out of their room, and return their keys to the main desk of their unit/ complex.
To learn how to cancel your contract, visit the Forms and Contracts page.
Cleaning and Community Health Measures
Our outstanding and dedicated housing custodial team is dedicated to ensuring a high level of cleanliness and sanitation to reduce the risk of virus transmission. The University’s required health and safety measures include cleaning our spaces consistent with public health recommendations and OSHA guidelines for disinfection. In residence hall and university-owned apartment areas maintained by our custodial teams, we established more frequent cleaning of communal spaces and touch points many months back and will continue with this. During the academic year, our custodial teams do not service or enter private spaces such as bedrooms. For private spaces, including students’ rooms and certain apartment common spaces, cleanliness and sanitation will remain the responsibility of residents.
Frequent cleaning of common and high traffic areas will be provided, but students living in campus housing can also expect the following safety measures (noting that plans are subject to re-evaluation and change):
- Students moving into residence halls will move in prior to the start of instruction so they can self-sequester for seven to ten days, a preventative measure where people deliberately restrict their movement to avoid contact with others. Students will be tested at the beginning and end of the sequester period. The campus will pay for this asymptomatic testing at no expense to residents, regardless of insurance.
- Only single occupancy residence hall rooms (no doubles, triples, or quads).
- Required adherence to public health practices including hand hygiene, physical distancing, proper cough/sneeze etiquette, symptom assessment, possible temperature checks.
- Students will be expected to wear a face covering that covers both the nose and mouth unless they are inside their room, brushing their teeth, taking a shower, or eating.
- No access to buildings by non-residents, including outside guests, non-residential staff, and others.
- Limits on how many residents can use community bathrooms at one time, with possible assigned times.
- Restrictions on events and social activities as per current physical distancing guidance.
- Possible limitations on face-to-face interactions with members of the Housing and Residence Life staff, as per public health guidelines.
For fall, we have designated space in campus housing for any students who may be directed by University Health Services (UHS) to isolate or quarantine. This space is primarily at the Foothill complex and will consist of the La Loma and Hillside buildings. Stern Hall, located across from Foothill, will be closed in order to consolidate facilities for centralized student services. We will be designating one building in Unit 2 as a womxn’s building. Students placed at Foothill for isolation/quarantine will be directed to remain inside their housing assignment for the duration of their stay. Meals will be delivered to those in isolation/quarantine spaces by campus staff. We will also work closely with University Health Services (UHS) and the Public Health Department to reduce the risk of virus transmission.
Financial Aid and Housing
Financial aid residence hall budgets and aid offers will be increased to reflect the average room and board costs of the room types available this year, which have changed due to COVID-19. This average room and board cost will be an updated increased average and not the actual cost for you. You will receive a notification when your new actual budget and aid package is available in CalCentral. For more information on financial aid questions relating to housing, please visit the COVID-19 Support Updates page of the Financial Aid website.
All students who come onto campus or other UC Berkeley property will also be required to accept the Keep Berkeley Healthy Pledge, which will become available as a task in Cal Central beginning August 21. Students will need to accept the pledge by September 18, or they will be denied access to on-campus buildings and services when they are open (for example: The Student Union, libraries, or classrooms). The pledge creates a shared understanding of the expectations between the University and Berkeley students and holds students accountable for the measures that will be taken to protect the community. UC Berkeley staff and faculty are required to abide by similar regulations. While we hope that it is rare, refusing to comply with requirements such as physical distancing and facial coverings will result in consequences that could include being excluded from campus altogether. Be aware that off campus, the City of Berkeley (and possibly Oakland and other surrounding communities) can impose fines and even cite people criminally for failing to comply with public health orders. For students moving into the campus housing, the expectations are outlined in the Residential Code of Conduct.
Students will not be required to leave campus simply for testing positive. Students who test positive will be required to adhere to public health guidelines. If you test positive, University Health Services will provide guidance about where you should reside and how long you should isolate yourself from others based on your unique circumstances. Students will be asked to comply with “contact tracing,” which means they will have to disclose who they have been in contact with over the last several days so that those people can also self-isolate. Students who test positive will be able to resume their activities once University Health Services confirmed they have recovered and are no longer infectious.
Sequestering is a preventative health measure where people intentionally restrict their movement to avoid physical contact with others. At the end of Move-in days, students will be expected to begin self-sequestering practices.
During sequestering, you will be expected to:
- Wear a face covering that covers both the nose and mouth unless you are inside your room, brushing your teeth, taking a shower, or eating.
- Stay in your room as often as possible. Only leave your room to participate in essential activities (for example to purchase food, participate in low-risk individual outdoor recreational activity, obtain health care services, or pick up a prescription).
- Follow local public health ordinances when leaving your residence hall.
- Follow expectations specific to your assigned residential household grouping, which will be facilitated by Res Life staff.
- In general, avoid physical contact with anyone unless it is essential.
At the end of your Move In day, only residents and staff will be allowed access to your building. The self-sequestering time period ranges from 7–10 days. You will be tested a second time, seven days after the start of your sequestration period. Your sequestration period will end when your second test comes back negative. Following the sequestration period you will be able to engage with your student residential household grouping, while still practicing pandemic mitigation measures.
County public health officials recommend that if people interact with anyone outside their immediate household, they should form fixed social bubbles to minimize contact with others. The officials recommend that people should maintain social bubbles for at least three weeks and that each person can belong to only one bubble at a time. Switching social bubbles would require periods of no contact to avoid the spread. For most students, this would not be realistic.
When residents leave their room, we expect them to wear face coverings as they will be in a shared community space. We understand that residents are going to get close to each other when they pass in the halls or use the restrooms. Social bubbles will need to have honest conversations with each other at the beginning of the year to establish their expectations of each other, in addition to following public health and Residential Life staff guidance so they can make choices to help protect each other.
We do not support students interacting in-person with other people outside of their residential or apartment household grouping. We will provide engagement opportunities with students in different social bubbles online.
UC Berkeley’s various student services continue to be available to students via remote options including virtual study jams, remote movie nights, “Coffee & Career” video chats, online fitness and art classes, and student-led programs and activities to ensure that the term remains a very powerful and enriching one for our students.
After Move-In, no guest access to the residence hall is permitted, in order to reduce the risk of infection.
No. To reduce COVID-19 exposure that could come about as a result of students traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday, all in-person instruction (as well as final exams) will be delivered remotely after Thanksgiving. Unless closure is necessary for compliance with an order of a public health authority, campus residence halls will remain open during Thanksgiving, and through the end of the fall semester. The residence halls will close for winter break, although campus apartments remain open and residents may stay during this time period.
Campus leaders have advised that if you can live and learn remotely, you should do so. Students who determine that university housing is the best option for their personal circumstances can opt to live on campus. Cal Housing will continue to operate and staff will be on site to assist residents. We still have space for fall, so if your original living arrangements have changed, you can still apply to live in campus housing.
Professional Residential Life staff and resident assistants (RAs) will live and work on site in the residence halls. All staff will receive new training to be able to comply with public health mandates. Support will be provided remotely as much as possible. Residence hall staff will still respond onsite for community safety, for handling lockouts, and for emergency situations in cases where support cannot be offered remotely. They will also build community and engagement via online events.
There will still be Resident Advisors this year and each resident will be assigned a Hall Staff member. Hall Staff will begin the year with Community Chats and messaging to establish group connection, community norms, and safety information.
The Residential Life team is working hard to develop fun and innovative ways to build community and engagement through online events. In the spring 2020 semester, they delivered over 150 programs online, and have continued developing new offerings this summer. Residence hall staff will help residents build relationships with each other and provide community connections to online events, such as Community Chats, bulletin boards, emails, and group text chats. They will still host lots of community-centered programs such as treasure hunts, parades, patio decorating contests, courtyard singalongs, art projects, etc. Residence Hall staff will begin the year with Community Chats to establish group connection, community norms, and safety information. They will also conduct video conversations with every resident (“Bear Chats”). Students will also have the benefit of living amongst and in close proximity to our Resident Faculty. Our Theme Programs will also continue. Other engagement opportunities include participating in our residential leadership and government programs.
Absolutely! All residence hall contracts come with the blue plan and students living in off-campus housing or university-owned/affiliated apartments can purchase an off-campus meal plan.
Please note: if you cancel your current housing contract, there is no guarantee that you will receive a contract for the spring semester. Availability for spring housing will depend on the public health situation and the number of students who decide to live in campus housing this fall.
See the Forms & Contracts page for the most up-to-date information on room transfers. We anticipate that the need for sequestering related to COVID-19 will impact the number of room changes we can offer.
All common spaces will be closed during the 7-10 day sequestering period when students first arrive. After the sequester period, we expect that some lounges and study areas will reopen with limits on the number of students who can use them at one time and with clear social distancing zones marked.
We are not certain if fitness centers or gyms will open this fall. Under current shelter-in-place mandates, Alameda County is not currently approved to open public gym or fitness centers.
Please keep in mind that whether common spaces open and remain open will depend on student compliance with regulations on how these spaces are used and public health/safety.
No occupancy changes; single undergraduate apartments, graduate housing, and the family complex at University Village remain the same for fall.
The current Public Health Order allows for “social bubbles” of 10 to 12 people, with restrictions stating that people can only participate in one bubble for in-person interactions. Students living in an apartment are part of a small social bubble, sharing their living room, bathroom, kitchen, etc. Residence halls are larger spaces with more residents.
Yes, converted rooms will retain the size and furniture of the double, triple, or quad room, but will house only one resident.
No. Students will have access to a communal bathroom facility, which will be cleaned frequently.
Students are required to use a face covering while using communal bathrooms to the extent that wearing one does not interfere with their hygiene activities such as teeth brushing and showering. Students will be required to wear a face covering in the hallways and common areas. We are managing bathroom use and capacity through the reduction of density of residents, and we are following California recommendations for higher education and our campus health experts regarding our communal bathrooms.
If you're unable to pay your advance deposit because of COVID-19, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to request an exception or reduced amount.
In general, students will be charged the same as if they occupied a double room.
UC Berkeley has many configurations of rooms in the residential halls ranging from singles to quads with the majority being doubles (two people) and triples (three people). Because of COVID-19, all students in the residential halls will have single occupancy (they will get their own room). However, some of the rooms may be larger as they were designed to accommodate multiple people. To create a more equitable experience for students, we have modified our rates to benefit students.
Students who are in the smallest standard rooms designed for just one person will actually be charged less than they would during a traditional school year; they will be charged $12,450, several thousand dollars less than what we would normally charge ($14,870) for housing, plus $5,300 for a required meal plan year. Students who are by themselves in standard rooms designed for two people (doubles) will be charged the same as if they had a roommate; they will be charged $12,865 for housing and $5,300 for a required meal plan year, the same they would if this was a traditional school year. Students who are by themselves in standard rooms designed for three people (triples) will be charged the same rate as students occupying a double room; they will also be charged $12,865 for housing and $5,300 for a required meal plan year. While this is more than what they would be charged if three people were occupying the space, they are also benefiting from more space and privacy.
In general, students will be charged the same as if they occupied a double room in a mini-suite.
UC Berkeley has many configurations of mini-suites in the residential halls with doubles (two people sharing a bedroom) and triples (three people sharing a bedroom). Some triple mini-suites are smaller while others are larger. Because of COVID-19, all bedrooms in the residential halls will be single occupancy (each student in a mini-suite will get their own bedroom, and will share a bathroom with only the other student in the mini-suite). However, some of the spaces may be larger spaces as they were designed to accommodate multiple people. To create a more equitable experience for students, we have modified our rates to benefit students.
Students who are by themselves in a mini-suite room designed for two people will pay the same as they would if they had a roommate during a traditional school year; they will be charged $15,000 for housing and $5,300 for a required meal plan year. Students who are by themselves in smaller mini-suite rooms designed for three people (triples) will be charged the same rate as students occupying a double mini-suite room; they will be charged $15,000 for housing and $5,300 for a required meal plan year. While this is more than what they would pay if three people were occupying the space, they are also benefiting from more space and privacy. Students who are by themselves in larger mini-suite rooms designed for three people (triples) will be charged slightly more; they will be charged $15,550 for housing and $5,300 for a required meal plan year. As their triple mini-suite has more space than the smaller triple mini-suites, they will pay $550, or roughly $55 extra each installment, for this extra space.