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Everything We Know About Spring 2021 Housing

From A3 and A4 to off-campus housing, we bring you an overview of what living options are going to look like in the spring.

In an email outlining plans for the upcoming semester on Oct. 26, Vice Chancellor Mariët Westermann invited all interested NYU Abu Dhabi students to reside on campus in Spring 2021. Hosting students coming into Abu Dhabi in addition to the 900 students already residing means that campus will be significantly more crowded. Therefore, apart from traditional undergraduate Residential Colleges in A1, A2, A5 and A6, the university is looking to expand options to include graduate and faculty housing in A3 and A4 along with off-campus housing.
Ministry of Health guidelines mandate that every resident must have their own bedroom during the semester with restrictions going up to one person per bedroom and bathroom during quarantine.
General Policies
General campus policies will be similar to those employed in Fall 2020. Associate Dean of Students Michael Martinez confirmed that the use of the symptom checker app, biweekly Covid testing, mask wearing and social distancing regulations will continue. Likewise, day and overnight guests will not be permitted in student housing.
Though the Office of Residential Education will try their best to accommodate housing preferences, students will not be able to choose roommates initially. There will, however, be a Bed4Bed program allowing students to change rooms. First year students are not eligible for the program.
“This will be a really tight semester … Virtually all of our vacant bedrooms will be used for undergraduate housing,” said Martinez. “It will be much harder to make [roommate] adjustments over the course of the spring semester. And so we’re going to really ask students to … be resilient and really work together.”
He added that the university will continue to honor gender specific floors and non visitation arrangements.
In the Campus Life Q&A that took place on Nov. 24, the administration explained that it is working towards ensuring that first year students live together in A1 and A2. However, A1A will continue to be used solely for quarantine purposes.
Martinez estimates that the vast majority of students choosing to stay on campus over winter break will reside in their current housing assignments throughout the winter and the spring. On the other hand, according to an email dated Nov. 22 from the Residential Education Operations Team, students leaving campus for winter break will have to move out of their Fall housing assignments. A temporary storage solution has been announced for those who need to store their belongings over the break.
Quarantine Plan
Martinez revealed that the administration is working with the Ministry of Health to advocate for students to quarantine on campus upon arrival. “We're making every effort to work with the government to show them that we have the capacity to do quarantine on campus and to do it safely and effectively,” he said.
He expects that a vast majority of students will be quarantined on campus. He, however, emphasized that we cannot discount the possibility that some students will have to spend quarantine in a government facility.
Two on-campus quarantine plans are currently in place for students arriving in December and January — one for those flying into Dubai and another for those arriving in Abu Dhabi.
Residential Colleges A3 and A4 have traditionally been used to house graduate students and faculty. During this upcoming semester, they will be opened up to undergraduate students to maximize on-campus housing capacity.
Res Ed anticipates that more than 100 students will be housed in A3 and A4. They will be placed into a combination of different residential units in the buildings, ranging from one bedroom studios to multiple bedroom units.
At the time of reporting, Martinez said that visitation policies are yet to be determined for those living in A3 and A4. “There are families who are living in A3 and A4, so we have to be sensitive to those dynamics,” he noted. However, students living in A3 and A4 will be allowed to visit those living in Residential Colleges A1, A2, A5 and A6.
“I'm optimistic that we will get the expectations for living in A3 and A4 settled and that we'll be able to share those with students in the not too distant future,” Martinez said, adding that students can make the final decision about whether or not they want to live in A3 and A4 after visitation policies are announced.
Off-Campus Housing
Martinez believes that it is unlikely off-campus housing will be used to accommodate students. However, in the event that off-campus housing is used, it will be treated as an extension of the campus. Students living off campus will be provided regular transportation to campus and will have access to campus facilities.
Martinez shared that the administration’s underlying principle in arranging off-campus housing is “to bring students back so that they can have a college experience.”
Regarding the off-campus housing location, Martinez stated that concrete decisions are yet to be made but those in charge have been looking at options close to campus to ensure there is little distance between the students living off-campus and those on campus.
According to the Housing Portal update, no decisions have been made regarding the possibility of having suitemates in off-campus housing. A policy will be formulated if and when off-campus accommodation is arranged.
First-year students are not eligible to reside off-campus. However, this may change.
Additional reporting by Angad Johar.
Naeema Mohammed Sageer and Charlie Fong are News Editors. Email them at
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