Working Together to Protect our Community and Advance our Academic Mission

Autumn Quarter FAQs

The following are frequently asked questions about Autumn Quarter. For COVID-19 health-related questions, please visit the Health FAQ page.

General Information

What are the University’s guiding principles in planning for Autumn Quarter?

The University’s goal is to prioritize the health of the University and local communities and visitors while sustaining our approach to education, research, and intellectual life at the University.

What is the University’s Autumn Quarter plan?

The University plans to hold in-person and remote classes this Autumn Quarter, allowing us to bring back as many members of our community as possible for the new academic year, while adhering to public health guidance around social distancing and other COVID-19 health measures. Our approach gives us the flexibility to adjust as needed based on evolving external conditions and trends in the pandemic.

How was the University’s Autumn Quarter approach decided?

The University arrived at the Autumn Quarter 2020 approach after close coordination with public health experts and the University of Chicago Medicine. Planning also incorporates valuable insights gained from the successful transition to remote learning in the recent Spring Quarter, and the housing of a limited number of students on campus during Spring Quarter. Our approach is informed by guidance from the federal, state and city levels, including the Restore Illinois plan and the city and state’s most recent guidance for higher education.

What is the academic calendar for Autumn Quarter?

Classes for most parts of the University will begin as scheduled on September 29, with in-person instruction ending before Thanksgiving, to help reduce the risk of disease transmission related to Thanksgiving travel. The final week of instruction, as well as reading period and finals period – from November 30 through December 12 – will take place fully remotely.

The Law School, the Booth School of Business, and the Pritzker School of Medicine will start classes earlier than September 29 as originally scheduled and will communicate details directly to their students.


How will instruction take place?

Allowing input from instructors regarding their classes, we expect that a limited number of Autumn Quarter classes across the University will be held in-person, in classroom spaces reconfigured to facilitate distancing guidelines. Academic areas will determine the delivery mode for their courses, to meet curricular and pedagogical needs given the parameters driven by the pandemic.

Many classes will include a combination of in-person and remote instruction and discussion. Others will be conducted fully remotely. Each instructor has the option to teach remotely.

To help new students acclimate to the University, priority for in-person classes will be given to courses that serve new students.

How do I know whether my classes will be in-person or remote?

Our goal is for information about class modalities to be available at the time of registration.

How will in-person classes be configured?

The offices of the Provost and Facilities Services have worked closely with colleagues across campus to develop spatial configuration guidelines to maintain distancing in classrooms and other spaces across campus, and we will implement cleaning and ventilation protocols as well. Examples of the configurations can be found here.

What if I am unable to come to campus this Autumn?

We recognize that travel restrictions, particularly for our international students, and health risks mean a portion of our community may not be able to return to campus this fall. We are planning carefully for how these members of our campus community will be connected and supported. The College, schools, and divisions will provide a range of remote course options for students who are not able to return to campus in the upcoming quarter.


Will on-campus undergraduate housing be available?

We will provide undergraduate housing in University residence halls, with occupancy reduced from full capacity by approximately 40% for Autumn Quarter to help maintain health and safety guidelines. These residence halls with reduced capacity will accommodate all first-year students and a subset of returning College students. All room assignments will be single occupancy, in both standard residence hall rooms and residence hall apartments.

Will the University help undergraduates find off-campus housing?

The University will provide contact information and other details for rental agencies to the remaining returning students who had planned to live on-campus and now need to secure alternative off-campus housing.

What health protocols will help protect students, faculty, and staff living in University housing?

Upon arrival, everyone living in University residence halls will be tested for COVID-19 and students will undergo a quarantine period. Separate space in campus housing will be reserved specifically for students in residence halls who contract COVID-19 and must follow isolation procedures. Student health and wellness resources, including mental health services, will remain available to students both on-campus and virtually through Autumn Quarter.

What are the on-campus dining options?

On-campus dining will be adapted to facilitate social distancing and other safety measures, with a focus on take-away meals. In-person dining will be offered at a limited number of locations, with the elimination of self-service options and extended hours to help reduce density at any given time. Seating capacity in all dining commons will be reduced significantly in accordance with public health guidance and most meals will be prepared for take away.

Where can I find information from the July 7 College Town Hall?

Visit the Autumn FAQ page on the College website for further information.


What are the Autumn Quarter tuition rates?

2020-21 tuition rates are published on the Bursar’s website.  

The University remains deeply committed to ensuring that students from every background, regardless of financial need, are welcome here. Need-based financial aid and numerous scholarship programs are available for students in the College and across schools and divisions. We encourage students to work directly with their school or division’s financial aid office or dean of students to help access the wide-ranging support the University has established to assist students during this challenging time.

The University recognizes the challenges that COVID-19 has brought about for many of our students and their families; additional assistance is available for those who encounter unexpected expenses.

If I am not on campus during Autumn Quarter, will I pay the Student Services fee?

The Student Services Fee is waived for students who live and study more than 50 miles from campus. For more information, go here.


How will student activities and on-campus gatherings be affected?

Gatherings on campus will be limited based on parameters from the City of Chicago and State of Illinois, and University-specific factors such as overall density of the campus at a given time. We are committed to facilitating meetings, performance, exhibits, social activities, and other events in our adapted environment with strict maintenance of our health and safety requirements. In the coming weeks the University will share plans for student activities, UChicago Arts, Athletics, and other programs in Autumn Quarter. 

How will I know the capacity limits for campus spaces?

Signage and markers throughout campus will indicate capacity limits, distancing requirements,  and other safe use of space, based on the spatial configuration guidelines.

What restrictions apply to on- and off-campus social gatherings?

To maintain social distancing requirements, all members of our community must follow city and state restrictions on gatherings, including parties. The City of Chicago has prohibited gatherings and parties in private residences with more than 6 people who do not live in the household. Members of our campus community who attend any gathering are expected to wear a face covering and maintain at least six feet of social distancing.

Are there visitor or gathering restrictions for those living on campus?

Yes. Students living on campus must follow the Autumn 2020 rules set forth by Housing & Residence Life, which prohibit visitors in our residence halls. The rules for residence halls include having no parties or gatherings of any kind; students may have one guest in their room at a time, who must live in the same residence hall and wear a face covering.

What are the rules for Recognized Student Organizations (RSOs) and other student groups?

For recognized student organizations (RSOs), most events should be held remotely. Only events with a demonstrated programmatic need for in-person gathering will be approved by Student Centers and the Center for Leadership and Involvement staff, with clear limits on the number of attendees depending on the size of the venue. Student Centers will identify spaces where social distancing can be maintained. You can find the RSO policies and protocols for Autumn Quarter 2020 online.

Other student groups should abide by these regulations and adhere to any additional guidance provided by your school, division or national organization.

Are there consequences if students violate the health requirements attestation?

Ignoring the public health risks associated with gatherings, as well as serious violations of other requirements, will have consequences for individual students and their groups – whether they are part of an RSO or other type of group (including off-campus Greek organizations).

Violating the requirements in the attestation could result in severe disciplinary action, including but not limited to suspension of access to campus. Students who engage in such behavior should expect to  be subject to disciplinary procedures as described in the Student Manual.

How can members of the University community report public health concerns?

UCAIR is the main reporting method if you believe that a required COVID-19 safety policy or practice is not being followed. Reports can be submitted anonymously. Please provide as much detail as possible.


Will research take place on campus during the Autumn Quarter?

The University is gradually resuming research on campus through a phased approach. In the first phase of this process, which began June 15, we have been encouraged by the early implementation of health and safety measures.

Will University employees be on campus?

Starting around mid-July, we will gradually increase the functions and number of employees on campus and in other University spaces. As remote work serves as a critical element to maintaining the appropriate density of people in University spaces, many people will continue to work remotely or follow a combination of remote and in-person work. Workplaces will implement requirements for face coverings, reduced density, social distancing, and enhanced cleaning and sanitation.

Travel and Quarantine Procedures

What travel and quarantine procedures should all travelers follow when arriving in Chicago for Autumn Quarter?

Students should be mindful of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines that recommend travelers assess whether they have recently engaged in “higher risk activities” for exposure to COVID-19 and take extra precautions to protect others after travel. For more information, including a list of higher risk activities, visit the CDC’s website.

  • Students living on campus are required to follow the University’s 10-day “stay at home” directive after arriving in Chicago, unless they are subject to the city’s 14-day quarantine as described in the Q&A item for domestic travelers below.
    • Under the directive, on-campus students must remain in their residence halls as much as possible for a 10-day period, unless going out for essential needs such as groceries and food, medical care and supplies, and outdoor exercise. The 10-day directive applies to students living in residence halls to help limit the risk of spreading the virus in large communal living settings on campus.
  • We recognize that students living off campus have a wide variety of living situations, but at a minimum all off-campus students should observe a transition period before returning to campus. In the 10 days before they return to campus, we strongly encourage all students living off campus to limit their contacts with others and limit movement outside their home, including refraining from attending any gatherings. Additional restrictions apply if students are coming from a state covered by Chicago’s Emergency Travel Order (see Q& item for domestic travelers below).
What additional considerations should domestic travelers be aware of?

In accordance with the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) Emergency Travel Order, students who arrive in Chicago from designated states/territories must quarantine for 14 days. The list of designated states—note that it changes frequently—is available on the City of Chicago’s website.

Quarantine is defined as “staying at a single designated home or dwelling for 14 days before doing any activities outside of the home. People in quarantine should separate themselves from others as much as possible and check themselves for symptoms.” This means that a quarantining student should only leave their residence to seek medical care or COVID-19 testing and should not leave to go to the grocery store, drug store, restaurant or any other place of business.

Off-campus students arriving from CDPH-designated states must complete the 14-day quarantine period in Chicago before coming to campus for courses, research, or any other in-person activities. Students need to make arrangements to have food and other needed supplies delivered to their residences.

On-campus students arriving from CDPH-designated states should quarantine in their residence halls for the 14-day period. The University will facilitate meal delivery during this time. Students need to make arrangements to have other needed supplies delivered to their residences.

What additional considerations should international travelers be aware of?

The CDC maintains a list of countries from which foreign nationals who have been in those countries anytime during the previous 14 days may not enter the United States. These countries currently include China, Iran, and Brazil. For more information and to check for additions or changes to the list, please visit the CDC’s website. Similar entry restrictions remain in effect for Schengen area countries, the UK, and Ireland, with exemptions provided to international students entering the U.S. in F-1 or J-1 visa status. For information about these exemptions, visit the U.S. Department of State’s website, and for additional questions, visit the University’s Office of International Affairs’ website

For additional information for international travelers, please refer to this Q&A.

Are there resources available for students who are quarantining or staying home?

For students who will be quarantining or staying at home per the Q&A items above, the following home delivery resources may assist you in making life easier.

Should I travel mid-quarter?

The University strongly discourages travel once students are in Chicago for the quarter. Students returning to Chicago at any time during the quarter will need to abide by the city’s quarantine order if they visit an affected state, or re-do the University’s 10-day “stay at home” order if they are living on campus.

International Students

Do health authorities recommend extra precautions for students arriving from international locations?

Yes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that travelers assess whether they have recently engaged in “higher risk activities” for exposure to COVID-19 and take extra precautions to protect others after travel. These higher risk activities include travel from a country with a Level 3 Travel Health Notice – which currently includes most countries around the world.

For these international travelers and others who have been in higher risk activities, the CDC recommends taking extra precautions to protect others for 14 days after you arrive. Precautions include staying home as much as possible, avoiding being around people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19, and considering getting tested for COVID-19. For more information, visit the CDC’s website.

Are students coming from international locations subject to the City of Chicago’s 14-day quarantine order?

Students arriving from international locations are not currently subject to the City of Chicago’s 14-day quarantine order, but most should take extra precautions to protect others for 14 days after arrival as outlined above.

Are students coming from international locations subject to the University’s 10-day “stay at home” directive?

All students living on campus are required to follow the University’s 10-day “stay at home” directive after arriving in Chicago. This means that on-campus students must remain in their residence halls as much as possible for a 10-day period, unless going out for essential needs such as groceries and food, medical care and supplies, and outdoor exercise.

Most international students should also take extra precautions—such as staying home as much as possible—for 14 days (not 10) after arrival as outlined above.

When is the move-in date for on-campus students coming from international locations?

Students arriving from an international location will be assigned a move-in time and three-hour time slot on Sunday, September 20, or Monday, September 21. International students must move into their residence hall by Monday, September 21.

For more information about move-in, please visit the College’s Move-In Update webpage. For additional questions, contact

Do health authorities recommend extra precautions for students arriving from international locations?

Please visit the following online resources for additional support:

For additional questions, contact


What are the Laboratory Schools’ plans for Autumn Quarter?

The Laboratory Schools has prepared three potential models to maximize flexibility and serve the safety and wellbeing of the Lab community: fully remote, a combination of remote and in-person, and fully in-person. Lab will communicate further details to students and families directly.

What are the University of Chicago Charter Schools’ plans for Autumn Quarter?

The University of Chicago Charter Schools will rely on additional guidelines from the State of Illinois, the City of Chicago, and (being part of the fabric of Chicago Public Schools) Chicago Public Schools to shape planning for fall. UCCS’s priority is to have all students return to school to resume in-person educational experiences, in a safe and healthy environment. However, in order to meet evolving public health guidelines, UCCS is preparing for multiple contingencies, including fully remote and dual-modality options.

If you have been exposed to or test positive for COVID-19, promptly report to, even if you have not been on campus.