Residence Life

Welcome to the 2020-2021 academic year. We know that living in our residence halls is one of the critical ways students build community at the School. Due to the public health challenges related to COVID-19, students in SAIC residence halls are experiencing a new way of campus life and engagement. We made many changes to reduce the risk of spreading SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), on campus and in the residence halls. 

There is no question that we are all facing difficult times. To maintain these safe and respectful spaces, everyone at SAIC, including students in residence halls, is expected to follow our Shared Responsibilities. We encourage our residents and their families to contact Residence Life with any questions or concerns at and visit this site regularly for updates. Last but not least, the Residence Hall Handbook addresses many non-COVID-19 topics related to living in campus housing.

Please see the following updates to Residence Life for fall 2020:

  • De-densifying residence halls to allow for physical distancing. We are continuing to offer single and double rooms in Jones Hall and the 162 North State Street Residences and private bedrooms in shared apartments in the Buckingham, but we eliminated triple rooms in 162 and shared bedrooms in the Buckingham. All common areas have reduced occupancy in order to adhere to social distancing guidelines, and some common areas remain closed. 
  • Enhancing cleaning. Housekeeping staff are prioritizing high-traffic areas, such as elevators, common areas, and public restrooms to clean throughout the day. 
  • Reimagining dining. A number of changes have been implemented in our cafes, including removing self-service items (such as buffet items) and increasing grab-and-go options; introducing online/remote ordering with separate pickup locations; limiting seating; and changing traffic flow to accommodate social distancing. 
  • Creating spaces for students requiring self-isolation and quarantine. We have designated rooms on campus to use if a residential student needs to self-isolate/quarantine and will be following public health guidelines should such rooms be needed. If a student becomes ill, SAIC will work with the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) to support their contact tracing efforts. Students are expected to comply with all self-isolation/quarantine guidelines.
  • Following public health guidance during move-in and throughout the semester. We are following the guidance of public health experts to determine any testing and quarantining that may be required upon arrival and throughout the school year. For example, current guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) requires students coming from abroad to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in the United States. The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) has also ordered that individuals coming from states experiencing a surge in new COVID-19 cases quarantine for 14 days upon arrival to Chicago. 
  • Limiting guests and visitors. Like most colleges and universities, SAIC is limiting guests and visitors in the residence halls throughout the fall semester. Students are allowed to have one visitor assist them during their move-in day. This person cannot stay overnight. Beyond that, no guests or visitors are allowed in any SAIC residence hall. This includes, but is not limited to, other SAIC students, parents, friends, and family members. 
  • De-densifying common areas. In order to promote physical distancing, some common areas (such as the fitness centers and media rooms) are closed for the fall semester. We are prioritizing workspaces such as studios and computer rooms. All common areas that remain open have strict occupancy limits.
  • Setting limits on residence hall room occupancy.  Occupancy for each residence hall room is limited for the fall semester. This occupancy includes no more than one additional student per resident of the room (e.g., for a single room in 162 and Jones, the resident can host one other person).
  • Requiring face coverings. Students, faculty, and staff are required to wear face coverings upon entry to all SAIC buildings, public areas, and shared spaces, including in all common areas of our residence halls. Students do not have to wear face coverings in their individual rooms unless someone who does not live in that room is present.
  • Facilitating back-to-school quarantine. Students who are required to quarantine by the CDPH or the CDC may move in early, between August 15-20. Each student will be provided a space on campus in which to quarantine (either in the residence hall or in a hotel). Students should plan to bring groceries with them and clothes for at least 14 days. Students may also use their meal plan as our food service provider will be delivering up to two meals a day to rooms. Students should try to arrive by August 18, however, we know that not all students will be able to do this. Faculty will be flexible if a student is unable to physically attend classes for the first few days due to the quarantine requirement. The CDPH Travel Order is updated frequently and we recommend you check this each week to determine if there are any changes to the quarantine requirement. For more information please review our Back-to-School Quarantine Handout.

For additional information and next steps for residence life, see our FAQs below and the Residence Life Move-in page.

How do I confirm my residence hall application/contract for the 2020–21 academic year?

Please log in to the housing portal to update your housing preferences, sign an addendum to the housing contract, and enter/update information and roommate preferences. Complete this step by July 30 to be given a housing placement for the 2020–21 academic year.

If I am a returning student, will my room assignment change?

In order to de-densify the residence halls, we need to make some changes to the building occupancy. Most returning students will not see a change in their assignment. However, if you were assigned to live in a triple room or Buckingham shared bedroom you will need to select different room preferences. In addition, a few students who live in single rooms will have a change to their room assignment. Log in to the housing portal to see the status of your individual room assignment and contact if you have any questions.

What if my plans have changed and I need to cancel my room?

You may cancel your housing application/contract without penalty until July 30. To do so, log in to the housing portal and click “Cancel My Application.” International students who have questions about travel and/or visa issues should contact to discuss specific concerns prior to canceling their contract.

What if I don’t confirm by July 30?

If you have not submitted your addendum and updated your room preference by July 30, your current housing contract will be canceled and we may be unable to provide housing for you.

How will move-in occur this year?

Residence Life will send specific information about the move-in process after August 4. Information will include the move-in timeline and additional health-related requirements for students. To aid in physical distancing, move-in will be extended over approximately 10 days and will be primarily self-service. Students will be required to register for a specific time slot and are strongly encouraged to limit the number of items they bring to campus. Students should consider shipping belongings in advance. Information about shipping belongings via can be found on the Residence Life Move-In page.
We look forward to seeing you in our community this fall as we come together to live, learn, and make. Please do not hesitate to contact if you have any questions.