Each of us has a role in taking care of our shared living space and keeping it clean, healthy, and safe for one another. Talking with your roommates about COVID-19 isn’t a one-time conversation — it’s an ongoing discussion. As you prepare for winter term, it’s time to re-visit your earlier conversations, talk about what worked and what didn’t, and plan for how your household is going to approach the new term.

For students living in the residence halls, please refer to the residence hall contract and addendum to ensure that your plans with your roommate comply with the policies and expectations outlined in these documents.

Before the Talk

Things to Remember

  1. Listen to each other. Everyone has different behavior that they are comfortable with and you won’t know how they feel unless you really hear one another.
  2. Create your plans as a group. It doesn’t matter how good your plan is on paper; everyone should agree to follow it.
  3. This isn’t the end of the conversation. Your plans need to evolve with new information, what’s happening in the community, and changing feelings within your household.

Ask Yourself About Your Own Feelings Around COVID-19 Exposure Risk

  • How comfortable am I with having visitors over at our home? Has this changed from how I felt last term?
  • What will I do if my roommates’ feelings about having visitors over have changed since last term?
  • Do I feel comfortable asking my roommates and their visitors to practice physical distancing, wear masks, and/or opening windows when visitors are at our home?
  • Am I comfortable telling my roommates if I were exposed to COVID-19? What will I do if I am exposed to COVID-19? What about if I test positive for COVID-19?

Before Seeing Each Other in Person

  • Did you see anyone over winter break or attend a large gathering that may have exposed you to COVID-19?
  • How are we handling returning to our apartment after winter break travel? Will we plan to quarantine? How will we reduce contact with each other while we quarantine?

The Talk

Living Space Guidelines

  • What living space guidelines did we agree on last term? 
    • Did they work for everyone?
    • Should we update any of these?
  • How are we changing visitor guidelines with the weather changing? What else should we consider as socializing moves more indoors?
  • If, partway through the term, one of us decides we are uncomfortable having guests over, are we all willing to honor that?

Socializing

  • Is anyone new being included in our social circle since last term?
  • Is there anything new to take into account with our social circle (e.g. Is one of us seeing someone new? Did someone who was in our circle get a job that requires regular interaction with strangers? Does someone in our circle have a family member who is high risk that will need us to change our behavior?)
  • Is one of us regularly staying with a significant other? What COVID-19 precautions are they taking in their home?
  • Are any of us planning to travel out of town this term? How are you planning to travel (car, plane, bus, etc.)? What travel precautions (like self-quarantine and testing when you return) will you take?

Essential Errands

  • Did the safety measures we agreed to last term work for all of us?
    • What are our shopping habits and frequency? (e.g. curbside pickup, delivery, in-store shopping)
    • Do we need to make any changes? 
    • Are there any new community regulations that will necessitate changing our plans?
  • Are any of us working in person? Does that change any of our plans?
    • Do our employers comply with CDC and state recommendations for physical distancing, mask wearing, and hand washing?
    • Do our employers require customers and/or others we interact with in the course of our work to wear masks?
  • Do any of us have in-person classes or extracurricular activities this term?

Community

  • What community spaces do we plan to frequent? Has this changed from last term?
  • Are any of us planning to visit restaurants or bars as they reopen? How do you feel about indoor dining at a restaurant? Outdoor/tented dining?
  • What types of celebrations for special occasions (such as birthdays) are we OK with? For example, is a group at a restaurant OK? Small group at a friend’s apartment?
  • What precautions do you take when you use public transport (e.g. city buses, EmX)?

Masks

  • Are we wearing masks when we are out in public? What about when we are at friends’ houses?
  • When do we expect someone to wear a mask in our shared living space?
    • If a visitor is not wearing a mask or is wearing a mask improperly, whose responsibility is it to ask them to wear/adjust their mask?
    • If a visitor refuses to wear a mask in our shared living space, will we ask them to leave?

Quarantining

  • If a roommate tested positive for COVID-19 last term, did the plan of action work?
  • Does our apartment/house have a space for one of us to isolate or quarantine if we test positive or are exposed to COVID-19?
    • How will we handle shared spaces (bathroom, kitchen) if this happens?
    • If not, how will be handle the situation? Will the exposed or positive roommate be expected to find other accommodations (e.g. hotel) for their quarantine or isolation?

Testing

  • Are we all regularly getting tested for COVID-19? How often do you think you should be tested?
  • Will you cooperate with efforts to contact trace if you, or someone in our close circle, is diagnosed with COVID-19?

Hygiene

  • Do we all wash our hands immediately upon entering the home?
  • Are visitors expected to wash their hands when they arrive at our home?

Cleaning

  • Did our cleaning routine work last term? Should anything change?
  • Was the division of cleaning chores equitable? Did one person end up doing more than others to keep our home clean?

Ongoing Conversation

  • How often will we meet as a household to talk about these plans and whether we need to make changes?
  • How will changes in community spread (both UO community and the Eugene/Springfield community) affect our plans?
  • If UO moves to online instruction for spring term, what are our plans regarding our lease?
  • If one roommate decides to move out due to concern about COVID-19 or a move to online instruction, what is our plan? 
    • Does our lease allow us sublease or find a new tenant? Are we comfortable doing that? Whose responsibility is it to find a subtenant?