Frequently Asked Questions

Updated Nov. 23, 2020

Room Offers

I deferred my application to the winter. When will I receive a room offer?

Room offers are currently being processed for the Winter semester, based on a set of criteria. See our Winter Term Update for more information.

Please note: placement for the winter term is not guaranteed.

Am I guaranteed a place in residence in the Winter 2021 semester if I deferred my residence application?

Because changes to public health guidelines are common and can occur with little notice, we are unable to offer guarantees for the Winter 2021 semester. The availability of space will depend on a number of factors, including public health requirements at the time room offers are processed.

Please see our Winter Term Update for more information.

Can students who have not yet applied still apply for winter residence to make sure they get a spot?

Yes, students may apply for residence for the Winter semester. However, space is limited to comply with COVID-19 safety protocols. As a result, rooms will be assigned based on a set of criteria and prioritized based on need. Please review our Winter Term Update for more information on the criteria.

Due to the COVID-19 response, even if you meet one of these criteria, there is no guarantee that you will be assigned a room.


Holiday Break

I am leaving for the holiday break. Will I need to check in when I return?

Yes, this year due to our COVID-19 response, all residents who leave for the holiday break will be required to check in at their front desk when they return. We will be sending out some information that will require returning residents to indicate when they plan to arrive. This process will include COVID-19 screening questions and temperature taking.

Upon departure, access to your building will be removed from your DalCard until this check-in procedure is complete.



I am going home during the break to a location outside of Atlantic Canada. Will I need to self-isolate when I return?

Yes, any resident leaving the Atlantic provinces is required by law to self-isolate for 14 days upon their return.

Domestic students and international students travelling within Canada: You will be able to register to self-isolate in residence. If you have not already done so, please contact the Residence Office by email at and inform them of your travel plans.


International students currently living in residence:

If you leave Canada for any amount of time over the holiday break, please be advised you will need to follow the same procedures for entering Canada that apply to incoming international students. Visit IMMIGRATION & COVID‑19 UPDATES for complete details.

I’m an international student coming to Canada for the Winter semester. How do I find more information about the requirements and self-isolation?

You will need to contact an advisor at the International Centre and you will need to self-isolate for 14 days at your own expense at an off-campus location approved by the university. Learn more about this requirement and related costs.

Will I be required to self-isolate when I arrive?

As of June 30, the current provincial health guidelines require that anyone travelling to Nova Scotia from outside Atlantic Canada has to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival to their destination.

However, because these requirements can change quickly, it is recommended you check the Government of Nova Scotia Coronavirus page frequently for updates.

Does a negative COVID-19 test mean that I don’t have to self-isolate?

No, the current Nova Scotia public health order requires 14 days of self-isolation immediately upon arrival to your destination in Nova Scotia from outside of Atlantic Canada. Please be sure to check the Government of Nova Scotia Coronavirus page for the latest public health directives, as these can change.

Will I be able to self-isolate in residence?

Yes. Domestic students arriving from outside of Atlantic Canada will have the option to pre-book to self-isolate in residence. This will take place in a designated self-isolation area. You will not have access to your regular residence room during this time. The earliest date for self-isolation arrival will be Jan. 4 at 8 a.m. Please check your Dal email for information on self-isolation.

International students arriving from outside Canada will be required to work with the International Centre to arrange their self-isolation accommodations. This will take place at a designated off-campus location. Visit the International Centre’s website or speak with your International Student Advisor for more information.

See our Holiday Break and January Self-Isolation page for more details.

Please note: self-isolation in residence is available for residents (students) only. We are not able to offer this service to family members and friends.

If I have family members or friends travelling with me to help me move, will they need to self-isolate as well?

All travellers entering Nova Scotia from outside Atlantic Canada must adhere to public health directives surrounding self-isolation. If you have a family member or support person travelling with you from outside the Atlantic bubble, they may help you move in to your self-isolation accommodations, but must follow certain protocols – including answering screening questions, having their temperature taken prior to entry into the residence building, and wearing a mask at all times. 

As per Nova Scotia public health requirements, all travelers coming from outside the Atlantic bubble will not be permitted to visit grocery and other retail stores upon arrival in Nova Scotia in order to stock up on supplies, so please plan ahead. 

Those friends or family members travelling with you will be required to leave the residence immediately after helping you move in and will not be permitted to return. They may leave Nova Scotia immediately to return home, stopping only for food, gas, and hotel. No sight-seeing, shopping, or visiting relatives or friends is permitted. If they choose to stay, they will need to self-isolate immediately in a hotel or another location for a 14-day period. During this time, no restaurants, shopping, sight-seeing, or visiting with other contacts is permitted. Please see the Government of Nova Scotia Coronavirus page for full details on the requirements.

What do I need to bring with me for self-isolation?

As per Nova Scotia public health requirements, travellers coming from outside of the Atlantic provinces are not permitted to make stops for shopping prior to self-isolating. This means you will be unable to stop at local retail or grocery stores to stock up on supplies, so please plan ahead.

You will want to bring with you:

  • Food and snacks (meals and some snacks will be provided to you through Dal Food Services, though you may desire to have more food and drinks on-hand). 
  • Enough clothes to wear during the isolation period with limited laundry access (1 person permitted at a time in laundry room). 
  • Masks for use anytime you are outside of your room when going to the washrooms or outdoors for brief periods of exercise (please note: If bringing fabric/re-usable masks, you will not have access to laundry facilities for the duration of your stay in self-isolation, so please bring enough for your entire stay)
  • Mini fridge and microwave, if desired
  • Personal hygiene supplies, including hand sanitizer
  • Cleaning supplies, such as disinfectant wipes for cleaning your room

What is included in my self-isolation room?

Your self-isolation room will include a bed with linens, a desk, and a dresser for your clothing.

Note: mini fridges and microwaves are NOT included in self-isolation rooms and are the responsibility of the student to bring with them.

What facilities will I have access to during my stay?

You will have access to shared all-gender washrooms. Garbage bags will be provided and you will be required to place your garbage outside of your door in the hallway daily for pickup.

You will also be allowed to go outside for brief periods of exercise while remaining on campus property, wearing a mask, and practicing proper physical distancing. You will be required to use a designated door for departure and arrival, and will not be permitted to enter any business, other residence, or administrative building.

Laundry rooms will be available for use, but are limited to one person at a time and must be thoroughly cleaned before and after use.

Kitchenettes will NOT be available for use. 

Will I be able to go outside during self-isolation?

Yes, you are permitted to exercise or walk outside for short periods of time, while wearing a mask, and practicing proper physical distancing. You are not allowed to leave campus property.

You will be required to use a designated door for departure and arrival, and will not be permitted to enter any business, other residence, or administrative building or office.

I have a friend who will also be self-isolating. Will I be allowed to visit with them in person?

Students who are self-isolating will not be allowed to gather in person during this time. They are only allowed to leave their rooms to use the washroom facilities or to exit the building for exercise and fresh air outside for short periods of time (see above for details).

I have items in storage. Will I be able to access them while in self-isolation?

If you have items in storage from last year, you will not be allowed to access them until you have completed your self-isolation period, so please plan ahead and bring everything with you that you may need.

How will I get packages or mail in self-isolation?

Any personal packages or deliveries of essential items or food that need to be delivered to you while in self-isolation must be labelled properly with your name and isolation room number (when provided) so that staff can deliver them to your door when they arrive.

Any general mail or packages should be directed to your permanent room, in which you will be living after you complete your self-isolation.

How will I get food during my stay in self-isolation?

  • Meals will be delivered to your room.
    • Halifax: Meals are not included. You must order out for your meals at your own expense and have them delivered to the main entrance of Howe Hall off Coburg Road. Staff will have your meals delivered to your room. Meal times are: Breakfast/Lunch 9 a.m.-1 p.m. and Dinner 6-10 p.m. Meals ordered outside those hours will not be delivered. You may NOT pick up your own delivery at the front desk if it is outside these times. All food orders must be clearly labeled with your name and room number. Meal plans will be pro-rated to begin after the self-isolation period is complete.
    • Truro: Meals will be delivered to you from the dining hall based on your dietary restrictions. More details will be provided to you on this.
  • See our Resources Page for links.

How will I get to campus from the airport?

Domestic students: You may take a taxi (while wearing a mask) or a private car from the airport directly to your place of self-isolation. You may not use public transportation, such as busses or shuttles.

International Students: Transportation will be arranged for you by the International Centre. Please speak to your International Student Advisor for assistance.

Can I pick up my DalCard while in self-isolation?

No, you may not visit the DalCard office to pick up your DalCard while in self-isolation. Your card will be provided to you when you check in to your permanent residence room after your self-isolation period is complete. 

After you receive your card, you may pick up your UPass at the DalCard office service window.

While in self-isolation, you are not permitted to visit any campus administrative office or building. You must also stay on campus at all times. 


Dining Halls

Which dining halls will I be able to visit?

On the Halifax campus, we will have two dining halls ready to serve our residents for Fall 2020:

·       Shirreff Hall – for residents of Shirreff Hall only

·       Howe Hall – for residents of all other Halifax properties, including Risley Hall, LeMarchant Place, Glengary Apartments, and Grad House.

Risley Dining Hall and O’Brien Hall will be closed for Fall 2020.

Please see the Food & Dining page for more details.

In Truro, Jenkins Hall will be open to serve residents. More details on their operation will be coming soon.

What measures have been put in place in the dining halls for the health and safety of residents?

The Residence and Food Services teams are currently working to ensure that the dining halls are set up with the safety of residents in mind. Measures currently being implemented include adjustments to seating layouts to ensure physical distancing and physical distancing signage.

Visit our Dining Safe @ Dal page for a video tour, photos, and information on what measures we're taking.

Will I be able to get meals to go?

In Fall 2020, take out will not be available. We will be offering dine-in service in the dining halls with physically distanced seating that complies with public health guidelines.


Residence Changes and Procedures

What additional cleaning is being undertaken to keep residents safe?

We’re proud of the care and attention our custodial team has always given to ensure that our residences are kept clean. However, with the risk posed by COVID-19, we recognize that extra attention needs to be given to the cleanliness of our shared living areas.

To ensure the health and safety of the residence community and the university community as a whole, our Custodial Services team has developed a comprehensive cleaning plan to ensure all spaces are cleaned and disinfected regularly to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

For more information on specific cleaning procedures, see our page with information for students coming to residence in Fall 2020.

What are some of the changes to residence I should be aware of before arriving?

COVID-19 has significantly changed how Dalhousie University will operate, including our residence system. We have had to institute some policies and restrictions based on the instruction of the Nova Scotia Public Health authority and it's important you know those details. You can find full details on our For students coming to residence in Fall 2020 page. These changes include:

  • Lounges will be closed except for supervised events.
  • Dining halls will be assigned based on your residence building. Unfortunately, you will not be able to use multiple dining halls.
  • Masks are required when you are travelling anywhere outside your room.
  • No guests from outside your residence building will be permitted for at least the month of September (to be reassessed).
  • No alcohol or cannabis allowed in residence at any time for any reason. Anyone with a prescription for medical-use cannabis should contact us immediately. (This includes ALL residences.)
  • Only one additional person allowed in your residence room at any time.
  • Updates are currently being made to the Residence Community Living Guide for 2020-21 and will be available soon.

Any updates to these residence policies will be sent to your Dal email.

What are some things I will need to bring with me that may be new this year?

To ensure you are complying with public health recommendations and with new guidelines put in place to ensure the health and safety of our residence community, please bring:

  • Masks (if using cloth reusable masks, ensure they’re washed often)
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Extra cleaning and sanitizing supplies for cleaning your room
  • A reliable thermometer

For a full list, visit our What to bring to res page.

Which buildings are open?

For the Halifax campus in Fall 2020, all residents are assigned to Shirreff Hall, Risley Hall, LeMarchant Place, Glengary Apartments, and Grad House.  Gerard Hall, Howe Hall, and Mini Res remain temporarily closed.

For the Truro campus in Fall 2020, residents are assigned to Chapman House. Fraser House and Trueman House will remain temporarily closed for regular accommodations.



How many people can come with me to help me move in?

Logistics for the Winter semester move-in are still being finalized. More information will be available later on move-in procedures. Please check back.

Where can I purchase items for my room?

The Dal Bookstore is offers a variety of items for residence rooms. Check their website for product availability and pricing. 


DalCard and UPass

How can I get my DalCard?

Your DalCard is your all access pass to university – including building access, gym membership, dining hall card, laundry (Halifax residences only), library card, printing and copying, debit card, and more.

In order to get your DalCard, you must upload a photo and a copy of your government issued photo ID online by Aug. 31. We will then print your card and have it waiting for you at your residence at check in.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, we will not be providing photo services at our office on campus. If you are unable to upload your photo or are having technical issues, email

Will the UPass (bus pass) be available?

Halifax Transit will be resuming fare collection on Aug. 1. Halifax Transit will be honouring 2019/20 UPass stickers for the month of August.

We are currently working on details for the Fall semester and will post an update at once it is available.

Please note: As of July 24, masks will be required when riding all public transit. For more details, visit Halifax Transit’s website.