Fall 2021 back-to-school updates

Fall 2021 back-to-school updates

Scroll down for University Housing updates and reminders.

Will classes be in-person or online this fall?
Current plans for Fall 2021 classes call for mostly face-to-face instruction with normal classroom capacities. UWM believes that the ability to offer in-person classes provides a better learning environment and offers opportunities for meaningful academic and social engagements for students.

The health and safety of the campus community remains a top priority. The university continuously monitors the latest guidance from federal, state and local health departments, and UWM has a plan in place to be able to pivot back to an online schedule, as necessary based on public health guidance.

Technology will be added to many classrooms to enable “lecture capture,” in which students may be able to access recorded lectures online. Instructors will no longer be expected to provide an online option for students enrolled in face-to-face courses. However, instructors will remain flexible on attendance policies to be able to meet students’ needs.


Will students be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine?
UW System and UWM are not mandating COVID-19 vaccinations for students or employees at this time. However, COVID-19 vaccination is strongly encouraged as the best means to protect the health of students, faculty and staff. The list of recommended vaccines is available here.


How can students submit their vaccine information?
To submit vaccine information and request testing exemptions, UWM students and employees must complete a form with proof of vaccination — either a copy of your vaccination card or a copy of your vaccination record from the Wisconsin Immunization Registry.

UWM strongly encourages COVID-19 vaccination as the best way to protect your health and help all of us return to normal activities.

All COVID-19 vaccinations are free. The UWM Vaccination Clinic in the Student Union is accepting walk-ins and appointments. For more details, go to the UWM vaccine clinic website.

To find vaccination sites in your community, go to vaccines.gov.


UWM Vaccination Incentive Program and 70-for-70
The UWM Vaccination Incentive Program (uwm.edu/vip) is intended to encourage students to get vaccinated to help ensure a safe and healthy campus community this fall. It is coordinated with on-campus vaccination clinics, from Aug. 10 through September.

  • The UW System’s 70-for-70 program is an umbrella campaign to urge vaccination among students at all UW campuses. If a campus reaches 70% vaccination for enrolled students by Oct. 15, its students have a chance to win $7,000 scholarships.
  • To participate, students get vaccinated and share proof of their vaccination with UWM. They’re automatically entered into UWM’s program, and their vaccination proof will help UWM reach 70%, as part of the 70-for-70 campaign.
  • UWM will hold weekly drawings, starting Aug. 26, for more than 100 prizes, including MacBook Air laptops, Brewers and UWM men’s basketball tickets, Summerfest day pass, Milwaukee Art Museum membership, BelAir Cantina gift card, Student Union gift card and others.

Do students still need to get tested on campus?
Students, faculty and staff who are fully vaccinated and do not have symptoms of COVID-19 no longer have to be tested.

UW System President Tommy Thompson has announced that fully vaccinated students and employees would be exempt from testing. UWM has been working since then with the Milwaukee Health Department to ensure that university policies and processes meet local public health guidelines.

As a reminder, UWM’s current policy requires COVID-19 testing every week for unvaccinated students, faculty and staff who are not 100% online or remote.

Students and employees who meet the testing criteria can get an exemption from that requirement by completing this form. Please note that someone is considered to be fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving their final vaccine dose. A proof of vaccination is required, which could be a copy of the vaccination card or a copy of your vaccination record from the Wisconsin Immunization Registry.


Do students need to remain socially distanced on campus?
Social distancing is no longer required in indoor spaces. However, social distancing is encouraged wherever operationally feasible. Individuals, at their own discretion, are encouraged to remain at least 6 feet apart when possible. Read more


Why is social distancing no longer required?
UWM has a multi-faceted approach in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among students, employees and campus visitors. This involves highly recommended vaccinations for students and employees, a weekly testing requirement for those who are unvaccinated, wearing masks in indoor spaces on campus, and regular disinfection and handwashing. Read more


Are students required to wear masks on campus?
UWM requires that students, employees and visitors wear masks indoors while on campus, as of Aug. 4.

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that both unvaccinated and vaccinated individuals wear masks to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in certain areas with higher transmission of the disease. The Milwaukee Health Department also has issued recommendations that everyone, regardless of vaccination status, wear a mask when gathering indoors with people who aren’t a part of their household.
  • Students, employees and visitors on all UWM campuses must wear masks indoors when sharing a room or in a common area or other space with another person. This includes wearing masks when in the same room such as a classroom, lab, conference room, bathroom, hallway, lobby or waiting area.
  • Students living in residence halls do not have to wear masks while in their assigned rooms. Employees are not required to wear masks while they’re alone in individual offices.

Fall Welcome 2021
UWM’s Traditional Fall Welcome events will take place in 2021-22, but their order throughout the academic year will be a little different. This fall, UWM will welcome students back to campus with a Block Party on Friday, Sept. 10, hosted by the Campus Activities Board (CAB). Read more


Shuttle services to return this fall.
We anticipate the Prowl Line bus service and BOSS vans to return to normal service in the fall. Transportation Services will continue to emphasize health and safety and monitor state, city and university guidelines. Measures planned for the fall include:

  • A plexiglass barrier installed behind the driver’s seat.Vehicles cleaned daily with an electrostatic sprayer.
  • PPE kits in each vehicle.
  • Kits will include face masks, gloves and cleaning products.

Please note that some measures may be adjusted if public health and safety guidelines are loosened. Visit the Transportation Services website for updates.
If you have any questions, please contact Transportation Services:

  • Call (414) 229-4000
  • Send an email to uwmpark@uwm.edu
  • Chat over Microsoft Teams
  • Visit the office at UWM Student Union, WG25. Hours are limited to weekdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Please remember that mask-wearing and social distancing guidelines are in effect at the union.

Read more on parking and transit.

Is financial assistance available to students impacted by the pandemic?

  • The federal government has given UWM just over $25 million of Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) grants through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 to help students who have emergency expenses due to COVID-19.
  • These funds are for any component of the cost of attendance or for emergency costs due to COVID-19.
  • To qualify for a HEERF grant, you must have been enrolled at UWM on or after March 13, 2020 (the declaration date of the national emergency due to  COVID-19 ), and remained enrolled through the census date for that term (usually the 10th day of classes or, for FLEX degree courses, the 10th day from the start of the subscription period); and have incurred emergency expenses related to the cost of attendance or costs that arose due to COVID-19, such as tuition, food, housing, health care (including mental health care) or childcare.
  • If you meet the qualifications for the HEERF grant, all you need to do is complete a short grant application.
  • All applications must be submitted by 8 a.m. Monday, Sept. 13, 2021, to be considered.

University Housing-related FAQs

Where can I find the room layout for my specific room type?  

Visit uwm.edu/housing/communities and click into your assigned building to find the most common available layouts. You will also be able to view our new virtual tours, which offer a 360-degree look at several of our most common suites. 


Why can I bring a minifridge but not a microwave? 

Due to concerns related to consumption of energy and fire safety, microwaves and refrigerators are well regulated within University Housing, with guidelines that vary drastically, depending on the building the student is assigned to. You can find details for each building, including details on renting a combination minifridge/microwave/freezer for eligible buildings, at uwm.edu/housing/life-uwm/services/microwaves-and-refrigerators. 


Do the residence halls have filtered water available to fill reusable water bottles? If so, where? 

There is a bottle fill station in the Sandburg Commons (connected 1 and 3rd floors of the Sandburg towers). One is across from the Grind on the 1st floor, and the other one is right outside the cafeteria. In Cambridge, there is a bottle fill station across from the cafeteria on the first floor.  


How do I reserve a loft? When do I need to reserve a loft by? Do I have to pay for a loft? 

Residents who wish to loft their bed must rent a loft from University Housing; homemade or purchased third-party lofts are not permitted in any university residences (Kenilworth and Purin Hall residents are not eligible for lofting). The deadline to reserve a loft via MyHousing will be August 15, 2021, and the cost for a loft rental is $125/year, prorated at $15/month for any calendar month during which the loft is in the resident’s room. Lofts requested by this date will be delivered to residents’ rooms by the official start of Fall Move-In. Requests for a loft rental after the August 15 deadline can be made via a work order at fixit.uwm.edu. 

New this year, is the option to have your loft assembled for you prior to your arrival for only an additional $25. The deadline to also request loft assembly is also August 15, 2021. Assembly will not be offered as an option after this deadline has passed.  

Residents are not required to pay for the loft at the time of sign up. Loft charges will be posted to your PAWS account beginning in September. The Resident Assistant staff will come through in September and do an audit of all lofts set up in each room to ensure the safety rail is present and provide a report to the Housing Office to appropriately bill the student for the loft rental.


If I reserve a loft and decide I don’t want to use it after all, will I get a refund? 

The cost for a loft rental is $125/year, prorated at $15/month for any calendar month during which the loft is in the resident’s room. 

Loft cancellations will be accepted via MyHousing through 11:59 pm, September 1, 2021. If residents cancel their loft by the deadline, they must keep their delivered loft in their assigned room. Staff will pick up canceled lofts by September 9th. Loft cancellations submitted on or after September 2, 2021, must be submitted by work order to fixit.uwm.edu for cancellation or removal.  


What is the width/height/depth/size of the closets/beds/dressers/nightstands in a particular suite? 

If you visit uwm.edu/housing/communities and click into the building you have been assigned to, followed by the virtual tour for the room type closest to your own, there is a measuring tape tool that will allow you to measure anything you want dimensions for! 


When will we hear about room assignment changes? 

Please make sure your student is checking their UWM email address, which is where all important correspondence will be sent from University Housing.  

The summer reassignment process has closed, and all requestors have been emailed to the address in which they submitted the online form from. Students who still wish to change spaces can request a room change once the room freeze lifts on  

As of August 2, 2021, all University Housing room assignment changes have been made. When reviewing requests, we considered the stated reason for request and vacant spaces at the time of review. Through this process, it is important to know that University Housing has limited spaces and certain communities and room types are in higher demand than others. In many cases, where changes to assignments could be made, it typically was a result of one move making another possible. In consideration of your request, we would like to remind you that University Housing does not discriminate in assignments to the residence halls on the basis of age, ancestry, arrest or conviction record, color, disability, gender identity/expression, veteran status, marital status, national origin, pregnancy, political affiliation, race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation. University Housing will not honor a room change request for the above stated reasons. If your assignment change request was able to be granted, you will find updated information in your MyHousing portal. Any resulting rate changes will be adjusted on your PAWS account starting the week of August 2. Please know your Move-In Appointment may have changed if your assignment change request was honored.  

If we were not able to honor your request, there is a general room change process open to all residents that begins two weeks after move-in. Students can work with their RA to let them know they’re interested in a change as early as move-in. We apologize for the inconvenience, as we understand this is a very impactful part of transitioning to UWM. In the case your request noted a documented medical condition, please know medical accommodations are managed through the Accessibility Resource Center. You may find more information about their process and how to apply on the Accessibility Resource Center website. We look forward to seeing you on campus in the next few weeks and look forward to Move-In and Fall Welcome. If you have any questions or believe there is an error in your assignment, please contact the University Housing Office at 414-229-4065. 


What food options will be available in the residence halls for 2021-22? At what point will dining options become available during Move-In? 

Restaurant Operations has outlined their food option for this upcoming year, online at uwm.edu/dining/meal-plans/ 


Where can I find my Move-In appointment? 

Your Move-In appointment can be found in your MyHousing portal at uwm.edu/myhousing. 

From your home screen click on your housing assignment, which will open the next window. On that new page will be your assignment details, which include your roommate/suitemates and your assigned move in date and time.  


How can I change my Move-In appointment? Can I just show up at a different time than assigned? 

In order to move 4,000 residents into the residence halls and apartments efficiently, each resident is required to arrive during their assigned Move-In appointment. By assigning Move-In appointments, we are able to control the traffic flow in our facilities (including use of elevators and carts) and parking areas. Residents who have an unavoidable conflict with their assigned Move-In time may request to adjust their Move-In appointment through August 13, 2021, at uwm.edu/housing/policies/move-in/move-in-appointment-adjustment-form and all adjustments to MyHousing will be finalized effective August 19, 2021. 


Why can’t I bring a personal router to University Housing? Will the campus WiFi be sufficient for my gaming needs? 

University Housing residents will have access to University Housing-provided Wi-Fi in their suites, with 50 Mbps download and upload speeds and the ability to connect up to 6 devices. For students with greater device or download and upload needs, there is a Choice plan with 100 Mbps download and upload speed and the ability to connect up to 12 devices. All residents will also have a wired connection (one connection per student) to use in their room. An Ethernet cord is not provided. Information Technology provides support for all network connectivity in University Housing facilities. 


Why can’t I bring plastic-shaded lamps to University Housing, and what are some alternatives? 

Due to University Housing’s commitment to safety, we restrict certain items and behaviors that could compromise safety. Possession of an item on the following list is prohibited: Halogen lamps, “octopus” or any lamps with plastic lampshades, or lamps which have had the lampshade removed. Plastic lampshades are permitted when used with LED bulbs. 


So far, I do not have a roommate assigned even though I am in a multiple-occupancy room. How long will University Housing be assigning roommates?  

Contract holders are assigned once they have paid their Contract deposit in full. University Housing is continuing to receive new contracts in weekly.  University Housing assignments are typically completed by no later than August 15, but students will continue to be assigned as contracts are returned through the end of August and early part of September.  


Is there any way to know whether my roommate is vaccinated? 

UWM does not require that students receive a COVID-19 vaccine. In addition, University Housing doesn’t collect COVID-19 vaccine information from residential housing contract holders. There may be vaccinated, and unvaccinated students placed in the same room and suite together. 


Should my student bring their own printer? 

UWM has a number of print stations across campus, so one is not required to bring their own printer.  For more details on campus printing stations please visit: uwm.edu/technology/printstations/ 


Where off campus can residents use their meal plan? 

Visit uwm.edu/family/student-friendly-off-campus-restaurant-guide for a list of student-friendly off-campus restaurants. 


How do I rent a microwave/fridge/freezer combination? When do I need to do that by? 

Visit uwm.edu/housing/life-uwm/services/microwaves-and-refrigerators for the full run-down. Don’t forget that Thursday, August 12 is the priority deadline to have it delivered to your room prior to official Move-In! 


Do students need to bring their own shower curtain? 

University Housing does provide a plain plastic shower curtain in all units. Majority of residents do decide to bring their own decorative curtain to go in front of the one provided.  


Is there air conditioning in all of the residence halls? 

Cambridge Commons, East Tower, RiverView and Kenilworth Square Apartments are fully air conditioned. There is chilled air in the common spaces of North and South towers, but not within the suites.  Buildings that do not have AC are encouraged to bring personal fans.  


What address should my family or I send packages to? Can I send packages so that they arrive prior to my Move-In appointment? 

For details on residential mail operations, please visit uwm.edu/housing/life-uwm/services/mail/ 

You are encouraged to not send packages to your campus address, but if there is a need to do so, we highly encourage you to send the items no more than ten (10) days prior to your assigned date of arrival due to space constraints in our mail rooms.  


What do I do if I haven’t heard back from my assigned roommate(s) or suitemates yet? 

We recognize summer months can be hard to connect with a new roommate or suitemate, due to work and travel schedules. We do encourage you to reach out to your suitemates via the MyHousing communication tool below your room assignment details.  You can also find your suitemates email address on the UWM directory uwm.edu/search/people/?q=directory