FAQs: Housing and Dining

Housing and Residence Life

What are the plans for Fall 2021, Spring 2022?

The general wait list application process will open for all Mason students on April 15, 2021.

Find more information on the Housing site.

Will there be fewer people living in residence halls?

That will be determined by the governor's office and the state of the COVID-19 pandemic. We will update the information as it becomes available.

If all my classes go online, am I able to cancel my housing agreement?

Yes. You can submit an agreement appeal request via the Mason Housing Portal.

We understand class schedules are shifting and have aligned our processes for cancellation to align with the decisions made by faculty. 

What is living in a residence hall like?

Mason has set up rules and guidelines to promote health and safety in residence halls, as well as all buildings and facilities on our campuses.

Common spaces such as lounges, study areas, and community kitchens will not be accessible until it's deemed safe to open them up. Housing will not rent board games, athletic equipment, HDMI cords, and other items this semester.

For more details, visit the Housing site.

What's happening with Living Learning Communities?

Living Learning Communities (LLC) have been temporarily replaced with Virtual Learning Communities (VLC).

Some students can't live on campus because of our reduced occupancy. The VLC structure lets us provide the benefits of an LLC while prioritizing your health and safety. 

As of mid-July, 884 students had applied to and been accepted to the VLCs.

Find out more about Virtual Learning Communities.


How are dining halls working?

Mason residential and retail dining locations are open. We’ve implemented several safety precautions.

Mason offers both dine-in and grab-and-go meal options. All food is served; there will be no self-service because of health department rules.

Food variety and options will be similar to last year, and we'll still offer allergen-aware stations and vegetarian stations for those with dietary needs. Pricing will be consistent with last year.

Only guests with meal plans will be admitted; we won't be able to accommodate cash customers. You don't have to live on campus to buy a meal plan.

For more information, visit our Safe Return page on Dining, as well as the Mason Dining website.

Are residential dining halls open?

On the Fairfax Campus, Ike’s and Southside, will be open at a reduced capacity. If you want to dine in, you'll need to make a reservation through Yelp. No more than four people will be able to eat together at one table.

Reservations help to ensure physical distancing and sanitization of tables/chairs between dining. When you check in at the register, you'll be told your table section and number. Self-service has been eliminated at all dining halls, including food and beverage choices.

At the Smithsonian Mason School of Conservation, the Commons is open only to those who hold meal plans. You will not require a reservation to dine there.

How does the Yelp reservation system work?

You'll need to download the free app from the App Store or Google Play. Based on your location, you'll be able to select either Southside or Ike’s to make a reservation. When you arrive, you'll tell the cashier your name and be given your table section and number.

What if there are no reservations available when I want to eat? Is takeout available?

If you want to dine in at Southside or Ike's, put your name on the waitlist.

If you're pressed for time, a grab and go option, Simply to Go, is available for those who have Independence, Liberty, Patriot, and Byte meal plans.

On the Fairfax Campus, hot and cold selections will be available at:

  • South Side (at Gold Rush in the lobby).
  • Pilot House.
  • The Johnson Center (bottom floor, across from Starbucks).

Will the restaurants on campus be open?

Several retail restaurants are operating. There are designated areas to wait for your order. Many retail locations don't have seating available to comply with physical distancing.

Are there mobile order or delivery retail options?

You can order ahead and skip the line at retail locations by ordering through GrubHub Campus.

Locations on the Fairfax Campus will use Mason’s Starship robot delivery service. The devices will be sanitized for each order and disinfected overnight.

You can download the GrubHub and Starship apps from the App Store or Google Play.

Both apps accept Bonus and Freedom funds attached to Mason's meal plan.

Are there changes to hours of operation?

We've reduced our hours of operation to allow for a daily deep clean of all locations. Check the Mason Dining site for the latest updates.

I have a food allergy/dietary restriction. Where can I eat on campus?

Food variety and options will be similar to last year, and we'll still offer allergen-aware stations and vegetarian stations for those with dietary needs. Contact our Registered Dietitian, Veronica Hayes, for guidance or if you have questions or concerns.

Do I have to wear a face covering in a dining hall?

Yes. Face coverings are required in all dining locations. You can take it off when dining at your assigned table.

How will transactions be handled?

All registers have been upgraded to allow for contactless transactions. You can hold your Mason ID or payment card over the key pad for payment.

If you have a meal plan, you can enter the dining halls using the Iris System, which uses a photo of the iris to allow for touchless entry to the dining facility. It's an alternative to the Mason ID card.

What if I get sick and have to quarantine?

If you are diagnosed with COVID-19 and must quarantine on campus, contact Housing so they can coordinate with Sodexo for your meals.