Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information & Support
ICC Austin cannot prevent you from becoming exposed to, contracting, or spreading COVID-19 while you reside in an ICC Austin house.
Risks to consider in making your decision:
- You will be living in a community environment in close proximity with 15-34 other students.
- Our facilities are essentially big houses with shared kitchen, bathrooms, commons areas, and hvac systems that make effective individual quarantine and social distancing largely impossible.
- ICC Austin has almost no control over the behavior of members outside the houses and generally provides housing to the age group (statistically) most likely to engage in risk-taking behavior. New York Times Opinion piece on risk-taking and the fall semester.
We’re bringing these issues up, not to raise alarm, but simply to ensure that you’ve given them consideration and had the opportunity to make the best decision for you when it comes to your fall housing. These inherent risks are always part of group-residential living, but have taken on new importance in the context of the COVID pandemic.
We know this situation is evolving. Staff will continue to monitor the CDC, City of Austin, and UT Austin to make adjustments to our plans as needed. We will also resume bi-weekly meetings with our COVID-Team, which consists of one-member per house, to discuss and monitor house operations.
If you have any questions or you have a unique situation that you would like to discuss in more detail, please email either Billy (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Laura (email@example.com). Do you have other ideas or suggestions for our fall contingency plans? Share your ideas here.
Finally, in March 2018, ICC Austin is committed to becoming an anti-racist organization. You will be part of this journey and transformation during your time with us. You can view our response to the recent protests and police killings here.
Termination Fees + Fall Contract Signing
- Fall semester termination fees are waived until August 1st. If at any point between now and July 31st, you decide returning to Austin or living in an ICC Austin house will not meet your needs, we will release you from your contract at no cost.
- Beginning August 1st, the termination fee will be $300.
- If you have not finalized/signed your fall contract, you must do so by Monday, June 15th or the room will be released to our waitlist. Again, if you sign now and change your mind later, there will be no termination fee as long as you notify us by July 31st.
Sanitation + Shared Responsibilities
Given the unique circumstances that COVID has created, ICC Austin and the house communities must work together to ensure member health and safety is our top priority. Below are the actions that ICC Austin is committed to followed by house-level responsibilities. We will continue to discuss house-level strategies with the COVID team throughout the summer. ICC Austin will ensure the following:
- All mattresses will be professionally cleaned and sanitized prior to the fall move-ins. Details for mattress reservations and other move-in procedures will be announced in late-July.
- Appropriate sanitation and PPE supplies are available at all houses. If your house stock is running low, email Chris (firstname.lastname@example.org).
1. Hand soap
2. Hand sanitizer
5. Bleach and spray bottles
- All fall Kitchen Managers and cooks will be required to take an on-line food handlers class to increase our kitchen sanitation and safety procedures.
- Member rooms will be cleaned and sanitized by our summer cleaning crew.
- We will continue to maintain and provide up-to-date information via email, house bulletin boards, member Facebook page, and other communication channels.
Members & House Communities have a responsibility to maintain and protect their living environment. This includes:
- Communicating with staff when sanitation and PPE supplies are running low.
- Maintaining diligent labor schedules that include daily cleaning(s) of high-touch areas.
- Developing community standards and protocols for health and safety (ex: wash hands immediately when entering house, remove shoes, etc)
- Developing a unanimous, house-level guest policy
- Developing processes for communication/notification if a member becomes ill. House members and staff should be notified immediately if anyone is showing symptoms of COVID-19.
- Maintaining clean and sanitary houses
- No GUFF/free piles right now! This reduces possible avenues of transmission and prevents clutter which ensures areas and can be appropriately sanitized.
Misc & FAQ
Recognizing that many classes will still be held remotely, staff will be working with the houses and COVID team to create designated study areas.
Q: UT has stated that students will not return to campus after Thanksgiving. How will this impact my rent?
A: This is under discussion and options will be shared in early fall.
Q: What will happen if UT closes campus during the middle of the fall semester?
A: The ICC Austin houses will remain open regardless of UT’s decision. If UT moves closes campus in the middle of the semester, termination fees will be waived and, like this spring, there will be an option for a contract pause/storage fee.
Spring contracts end at Noon on Thursday, May 28th.
You should be fully moved out of your room and house on or before May 28th. There is a $50/day hold over fee if you are still occupying your room after your contract ends.
ICC Austin COVID-19 Move Out Procedures
Now more than ever, cleanliness and sanitation is critical to reduce the spread of infection. ICC Austin has increased our expectations of room cleaning upon member move out. We need your help and support to leave rooms clean and ready for the next person.
Please review these guidelines and follow them during your departure. Also, please keep in mind that these procedures and expectations apply if you are switching rooms or houses. If you have any questions or need further information, email Chris (email@example.com). We appreciate your cooperation!
Other Guidelines for Move-Out
- Helper(s) must wear a mask as outlined by the CDC when walking through the house or when in common areas, including bathrooms.
- Helper(s) must follow any house protocols already in place when entering the house including hand hygiene procedures.
- No more than two helpers per member will be allowed in the house at any given time.
- Move-outs should be staggered to avoid multiple members and their helper(s) moving throughout the at once house. Current CDC guidelines include maintaining 6 feet social distancing and not gathering in groups.
- Staff will provide support with move out coordination as/if needed.
Room Cleaning Expectations & Responsibilities of Members Leaving
- Place mattress and bed frame in designated house storage room (if your mattress was provided/obtained from ICC Austin and/or house). Designated storage rooms for each house:
- Arrakis – Rm 1
- Eden – Rm 13
- French House – Rm 1
- Helios – TBA
- HoC – Rm 2
- New Guild – Rm 22
- Royal – Rm 1
- Seneca – n/a
- Remove ALL personal belongings.
- No GUFF this move out. To help maintain clean, clutter-free, and sanitary houses during this time, please take everything with you. If you have things you don’t want, consider donating it to one of the many organizations working to provide critical services for our community members most in need.
- Discard all trash.
- Clean and sanitize all surfaces. This is a 2 step process!
- Step 1: Wipe down all surfaces with warm water and soap.
- Step 2: Disinfectant all surfaces with a household disinfectant (Lysol, bleach spray, etc). This includes window sills, fan blades, light switches, outlets, baseboards, door knobs, and any furniture remaining in the room. ***Furniture must be in good, usable condition. If broken and/or unusable furniture is left in the room, you will be charged a $50 removal fee.***
- Sweep and mop the floor (or vacuum if you have carpet).
- If the room is left dirty, the room will be cleaned at a rate of $25 per half-hour with a minimum charge of $25.
Austin and Travis County extended the shelter-in-place order through May 8th. Additionally, there is now a requirement to wear a mask when in public.
“Everyone over the age of ten must wear a face covering over their nose and mouth when in a public building, using public transportation or ride shares, pumping gas and while outside when six feet of physical distancing cannot be consistently maintained,” the city said in a statement.
The CDC has information on how to correctly wear a face mask as well as instructions for making a mask (both sew and no-sew options).
Members who continue to reside in an ICC Austin house should follow the ordinance and remain mostly at home except for the essential and designated purposes outlined in the order. The ICC Austin Guest Policy has also been extended to May 8th to align with the City ordinance.
I hope this email finds each of you safe and healthy in these uncertain times. I know anxiety is high and life may seem uncertain and surreal. It’s ok to feel this way. You are not alone. It’s also ok to laugh, feel joy, and find opportunities for gratitude. Day by day, problem by problem, we will navigate through this as a community and as an organization.
The focus of today’s email is to provide information on the new Guest Policy, provide clarity on contract cancellations and contract “pause” option, and to update you on where we are with food/supply ordering processes.
I will continue to provide updates as needed and as things change.
All of this information was discussed at the Emergency Board meeting yesterday. We utilized member feedback as well as input from the Board, ECC, and COVID contact team. Every house was represented at the meeting. Your Board Director or COVID point of contact can update you if you have any questions about what was discussed.
We reduced the mid-semester termination fee from $950 to $300 for any member who needs to cancel their contract. This will remain in effect through May. You may cancel your contract at any time. Every member has a $350 security deposit on file, so the termination fee will be deducted from your deposit. The remaining balance along with any pre-paid rent will be returned to you via the method you prefer.
ACTION ITEM: Complete this form if you need to cancel your contract. You will receive a formal termination form via HelloSign next week.
We have heard from many members who are concerned about their ability to pay April rent due to loss of income. There were some options discussed during the Emergency Board meeting yesterday including extending scholarships to those members with greatest need. Each house has been asked to consider donating excess savings to the scholarship fund so we have more resources available for members in need. The Board will continue to explore these options at their next meeting.
ACTION ITEM: Complete this form if you will be unable to pay April rent in full. You do not need to take any other action at this time. Staff will check-in with you later in April.
For those who are able to pay, please do so at your earliest convenience. This helps support our cash flow during these unique times.
Additional Action & Next Steps
The next Board meeting will take place via Zoom on Thursday, March 26th at 6pm. The COVID team is in touch via a slack channel. We will continue coordinating efforts between houses through these channels. Additional things we are working on include specific guidance with regards to guests and visitors and changing our food procurement practices so members do not need to go to the store for groceries. More details to follow next week.
On behalf of the Board and staff, we know this situation is unsettling and we know many of you are concerned about your health and well-being. We are working to both support you and your current needs while also maintaining stability of ICC Austin as an organization.
We will continue to cooperate and work through this together. If you have any questions or need any other information, please let us know.
With the increasing spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus) and UT Austin’s decision to extend spring break by an additional week, we want to provide reminders for reducing the spread of illness in your community.
Below, you will find:
Preventative actions are the most important steps you can take. The goal is to contain and prevent the spread of the virus. All information contained in this email is intended as a reference and should not be considered medical advice. Any member experiencing symptoms of cough, fever, and shortness of breath should contact a healthcare provider immediately. If you believe you or a housemate are in serious condition, call 9-1-1.
The majority of the information in this email has been gathered from the Center for Disease Control. This is a fluid and evolving situation. Staff will continue to monitor and provide guidance and suggestions to the house communities as needed.
With the increasing spread of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), we want to provide suggestions and reminders for reducing the spread of illness in your community.
Staff is monitoring the situation and will provide guidance to members with regards to safety and prevention as recommended by the City of Austin, the Center for Disease Control, and/or UT Austin. As of today, there have been no reported cases in Austin or Travis County. Here is a link to the latest email released by UT and sent to students, faculty, and staff.
The most important thing that you and your housemates can do is take action to reduce the spread of respiratory infections (including viruses such as the cold and flu).
Again, staff will continue to monitor the situation and offer guidance and information as it changes or becomes available.
If you have any concerns or questions, please let staff know.