Working Together to Protect our Community and Advance our Academic Mission

Guidelines for Safe Socializing

We recognize that one of the greatest challenges posed by the pandemic is the necessary restriction on in-person socializing and entertainment activities that are integral to student life.  While many remote programs and events are available for connecting with friends and loved ones, safe in-person interactions are possible with some creativity and respect for health precautions.

Keep It Small

Consider creating a “friend circle” for most in-person social activities – keep this circle small (i.e., no more than 5 people) to limit the chances to spread infection. Make a commitment to each other to adhere to the Health Pact and self-isolate or quarantine when necessary, avoid high-risk activities, only travel out of Chicago when absolutely essential, and stay home and away from others if feeling sick.

Outside is Best

The risk of infection is lowest outdoors, though in general people should maintain six feet of distance. You can socialize and have fun with members of your friend circle while maintaining safe practices to minimize exposure and spread of COVID-19. Here are some outdoor activities to consider—

  • Go for a jog or bike ride in local parks, neighborhoods, or the Lakefront Trail
  • Take a walk on 53rd Street or go in a small group to check out Promontory Point at the lake
  • Play games that don’t require up-close contact, such as cornhole, frisbee or tennis (be sure to wash your hands thoroughly before and after these activities)
  • Have a picnic or meet up for lunch on the Quad, while staying spread out with 6 feet of distance
  • Grab a treat and walk around campus
    • Milkshake at the Med
    • Bubble tea at Teamo
    • Coffee at Starbucks
    • Ice cream at Kilwins
  • Hold a small-group book discussion outside
  • Make sidewalk chalk drawings with friends
  • Try patio dining at local restaurants or order ahead for takeout

Stay Safe When Inside

We recommend spending time indoors only with members of your household or small friend circle due to the difficulty of maintaining 6 feet of social distance inside, and the likelihood of people removing their face covering to talk, drink and eat. For the safety of your friends and our community, please stay away from any large gatherings, whether indoors or outdoors.

While it is not recommended to host or attend gatherings outside of your friend circle, if you choose to host or attend a small gathering at a private residence, please note that the city of Chicago limits such gatherings to no more than 6 people beyond those living within that household. See CDPH Order 2020-9.

You can also consider visiting one of Chicago’s many museums (you may have to reserve tickets/admission in advance; check venue websites). The UChicago ArtsPass website has a list of museums that are open in Autumn 2020.


Enrolled students may use the swimming pool, cardio, and weight training facilities in Ratner Athletics Center by making a reservation 24-72 hours in advance. Note that activity areas will be closed for one-hour mid-day to allow for extensive cleaning. For more information, visit Ratner’s website.

You can also:

  • Take part in intramural activities (go here for sign-up details)
  • Take a remote exercise class with friends (FitChicago class offerings are here)

Socialize Online

There are many opportunities to socialize online. Here are a few —

  • Schedule an online watch party of your favorite shows or movies with friends
  • Start a virtual book club
  • Connect with your campus friends online or through social online games (Jackbox, Houseparty, Animal Crossing)

Participate in a Recognized Student Organization

There are more than 400 Recognized Student Organizations (RSOs), which are a vital part of the University community and provide valuable social networks for students. The Center for Leadership and Involvement (CLI) website has a variety of resources to assist RSOs in holding virtual events and activities. In-person student events are strongly discouraged and should be proposed only where essential. Additional guidelines for in-person events are on the CLI website.

Getting Around Chicago

There are ways to protect yourself and slow the spread of COVID-19 when using transportation. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a list of suggested actions when using different modes of transportation.

For all transportation, you should wear a mask, practice social distancing, avoid touching surfaces to the extent possible, and practice hand hygiene. The University of Chicago Medicine’s epidemiology team also suggests that you consider utilizing eye protection (not necessarily glasses) when using public transportation and opening windows to improve air ventilation when ride sharing.


Wear your mask (and remove only to eat and drink), maintain 6 feet of social distance, and wash your hands frequently! And always follow the UChicago Health Pact.

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