Housing and Residence Life

A wide range of safety precautions in our residence halls help prevent the spread of COVID-19 among students. 

We have taken the following steps to ensure your safety in the residence halls: 

  • Students and staff in residence halls are expected to comply with campus regulations regarding social distancing and face coverings.

  • All residential spaces, including common spaces, have been evaluated for maximum occupancy under social distancing. These limits are posted throughout the residence halls.

  • No gatherings are permitted in residence hall shared spaces (lobbies, study rooms, laundry rooms, etc.) that exceed stated occupancy limits.

  • Students only have ID card access to their own residence hall. This minimizes cut through traffic in residential spaces.

  • The college still requires residency for all students unless a student has a documented accommodation or otherwise meets the qualifications for a residency exemption. If you have a qualifying need that is not met by your current housing arrangement, contact Disability Support Services to begin the accommodation process.

To learn more, click on the arrows in the table below. 

Move In

For the safety of our students, guests and staff, winter 2020 move in looks significantly different than past move in processes.

  • You must start completing the daily health screening again beginning on Jan. 2. This will help us identify possible concerns before you return to campus.
  • We recommend that you self-quarantine beginning on Jan. 6 before returning to campus. We know that this is a big ask during the holiday season, but it is one of the most important steps that you can take to keep yourself and our entire campus safe. Winter move in will occur throughout the weekend before classes start. Please plan to arrive on campus between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 16 or Sunday, Jan. 17.
  • You must show a green check mark in the daily health screening before you will be permitted to return to your residence hall room. Residence life staff will be available to check your screening during all of the scheduled move in times.
  • Due to the cold weather, we will permit limited non-student guests to visit residence hall lobbies on move-in days. Guests are not permitted in residence hall hallways or student rooms. Capacity is limited due to COVID-19 restrictions, and spaces will be available on a first-come-first-served basis. We strongly recommend limiting the number of people who come with you to campus or coming back on your own, and developing an alternative plan with your guests in case your lobby is already at capacity when you arrive.
  • Winter semester meal plans will begin at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 16.
Move Out

Move-out deadlines for Winter and Spring terms are:

  • Friday, April 30, by 5 p.m.: All students are expected to move out, except those participating in commencement or living on campus during Spring Term.
  • Saturday, May 1, by 5 p.m.: All commencement participants are expected to move out unless they are living on campus during Spring Term.
  • Friday, May 28, by 5 p.m.: All residence halls close for the summer. There are no exceptions to this date.

You are welcome to move out before these dates if your on-campus commitments conclude earlier. Check out and key return instructions for your area have been shared with you by email. Please email residencelife@alma.edu or contact your RA with any questions about checkout procedures.

Due to the current COVID-19 case increases on campus and in Michigan, we will be taking extra precautions during move out this year. We know that many of you will need help moving out, so we will allow limited guests to come to campus for the purpose of move out, within specific safety guidelines:

  • Non-student guests are permitted only to assist with move out. Non-student guests are not permitted for any other purpose.
  • Each student is permitted a maximum of two guests at a time to assist with move out.
  • Guests must comply with campus policies regarding face coverings and social distancing.
  • Guests are asked to stay for no more than three hours to assist with moving belongings.
  • Guests must remain within their host student’s residence hall room with the door closed unless they are actively moving belongings out of the room.
  • Guests must have a complete and clear health screening completed on the day of their arrival. 
  • Students must escort their guests in and out of the building.
  • Students are expected to coordinate with their roommate(s) and create a plan for move out that respects all parties’ COVID-19 risks and creates clear communication about when guests will be present.
A Tailored Response by Housing Type

We have also taken actions that are tailored to each building type:

Traditional Residence Halls (Gelston, Bruske, Newberry, and Mitchell)

  • Students are assigned a bathroom to use. Residence Life staff is working with these students to create an agreement for sharing and maintaining this space to minimize conflict.

  • Bathrooms are disinfected twice daily. Additional disinfectant is also provided for students to use at any time. 

Suite- and Apartment-Style Halls

  • Students are provided with cleaning supplies so they can maintain their own bathrooms. Instructions and trainings for proper use of provided cleaning chemicals are being provided.

College-Owned Houses

  • Students are being provided with cleaning supplies so they can maintain their own bathrooms. Instructions and trainings for proper use of provided cleaning chemicals are being provided.
Guests and Gatherings

Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic and our need to ensure the health and safety of all students, faculty, and staff, housing and residence life policies have been amended.

  • Students are prohibited from visiting off-campus Alma College student residences that are not their own. This is consistent with our guest and visitor policies for the residence halls.

  • Alma College students, faculty, and staff are also advised to avoid large gatherings at any off-campus location and any locations in which there is significant risk of exposure to COVID-19.

  • Social events within small housing areas, being attended by students and guests who are not assigned to those living spaces, are temporarily prohibited. Student organizations, including fraternities and sororities, are encouraged to use web conferencing software or to work with campus staff to identify classrooms and other spaces where they can all attend while socially distancing.

  • Residents of campus are not permitted to have guests in their campus living assignment, including residence halls, apartments and small houses. Guests are defined as anyone who is not assigned to that living space.

  • Students may still mingle and socialize in open spaces and common areas on campus, limited by the posted occupancy of those spaces.
  • Our enforcement of this and other COVID-related policies will be tailored to each incident. As a general principle, we will follow our existing policy enforcement procedures and are not adding additional measures.

  • Students are encouraged to gather outdoors rather than indoors. Social distancing is still required when gathering outdoors. Tents and seating are provided for outdoor gathering space.

  • Student activities and the Rec Center are partnering together to implement activities that can be enjoyed while adhering to COVID-19 response policies; including outdoor movies at Bahlke Field, outdoor workout classes, trivia nights, laser tag and open mic nights. Ideas for activities can be sent to Olivia Gibson at gibsonom@alma.edu.

This calendar includes all relevant dates for re-opening the residence halls.

Please note that if you are a winter athlete, your move-in date will be provided by your coach. If you are a new or international student, you should continue to work with your admissions representative or Carla Jensen to plan your arrival.

  • Monday, Jan. 4: Offices on campus open
  • Saturday, Jan. 16: Move-in for residential students from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; meal plans begin at 4 p.m.
  • Sunday, Jan. 17: Move-in for residential students from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Jan. 19: Winter term classes begin

View the full 2020-21 academic calendar.

Winter 2021 Guest Policy

Due to ongoing concerns related to COVID-19, guests and visitation on campus are limited. No non-student guests are permitted in any residential space, including student rooms, hallways and common areas.

Alma has adopted a Phased Guest Policy, which is guided by factors like student positivity rate, isolation and quarantine capacity, and overall trends in positive cases. 

On March 1, the college entered Phase II of the Phased Guest Policy, due to low levels of COVID-19 detected following all-campus testing. Under Phase II, the following policies are in place:

  • Limited visitors are permitted in college-owned housing.
    • Each student may have one visitor. Visitors must be escorted by host resident at all times.
    • No overnight visitors permitted.
  • No outside guests permitted in college-owned housing.
  • No social events in college-owned housing.
  • Common areas in college-owned houses remain closed to guests and visitors. Policies regarding common areas in residence halls remain in place.

The following Phase I policies regarding Alma College student visitors will be implemented, in all college-owned residences including residence halls, apartments and houses, should COVID-19 levels on campus increase to the point of necessity:

  • Students are not permitted to visit other students’ rooms.
  • Residence hall lobbies, study rooms and other community spaces will be available for use by all students, including students who do not live in the building. The following limitations will remain in place to ensure safe practices:
    • Occupancy limits and face coverings and social distancing requirements will remain in place. Occupancy limits will be posted in each space.
    • Dining is not permitted in these spaces because this would require removing a face covering.
    • ID card access will remain unchanged so students can only swipe into their own residence hall.
    • Gatherings are not permitted in hallways to ensure safe movement for residents.
    • Lobbies and study rooms will not be reservable for events. They will be open for informal gatherings only.
  • All common areas in houses and apartments will remain closed except to residents of that house/apartment.

The college is committed to reviewing these polices and making adjustments if and when it is safe to do so.