Princeton University's Social Contract for Spring 2021

View the Princeton University's revised social contract for students for Spring 2021 semester below.  Please continue to check the Spring 2021 website at, which is being updated regularly.

Princeton University | Social Contract for Spring 2021

Princeton University
Social Contract 

Spring 2021

Revised December 23, 2020


“We aim to foster a sense of shared experience and common purpose, along with a collective responsibility for each
other's well-being 
and for the well-being of the University as a whole.”

                                                                                                                                                     --Rights, Rules, Responsibilities 2020


              Now more than ever, we must all share the responsibility for keeping our community safe.

              Princeton prides itself on offering an educational experience that is highly responsive to individual student needs, inclinations, and ambitions. But the conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic require a shift in our priorities. Our policies—and our actions—must be governed by a public health perspective, focused on the well-being and safety of the community as a whole (students, faculty, and staff) rather than on individual preference.

              If we are to meet our goal of providing an in-person educational experience as safely as possible, we must all adjust how we conduct ourselves in our community. To reduce the risk to those on campus and in the surrounding neighborhoods, students who will be living on campus or who live off campus in Mercer County or Plainsboro, New Jersey, must commit to following federal, state, and local public health guidelines, as well as Princeton’s rules for conduct both on and off campus, as outlined below.

Please read the following Social Contract carefully.
By initialing each section and signing at the bottom,
you agree to abide by the terms of the Social Contract.

              The University’s plans for the spring 2021 semester are subject to change. The University reserves the right to modify its plans and the terms of this Social Contract at any time to reflect such changes, which may be informed by federal, state, and local directives and guidelines, as well as public health recommendations and guidance. If changes are made, we will communicate them via e-mail and update the Spring 2021 website. We expect students to follow closely all information distributed by the University.

Before arriving on-campus I will:

  • Have received a flu shot this fall, any time between August 15, 2020, and at least two weeks before arriving on campus.  A flu vaccine will be offered at arrival check in for those few students whose circumstances have prevented them from receiving a vaccination before arrival.
  • Complete three online components which, in addition to signing this Contract, include an online training module on COVID protective behaviors and campus policies, and flu shot documentation.
  • Monitor my health for COVID-related symptoms for 14 days prior to my arrival.
  • Comply with the immunization requirements set by the State of New Jersey and the University as detailed at Princeton’s University Health Services’ Required and Recommended Immunizations.
  • Arrive on campus and move into my dormitory room on the date and time interval for which I registered.
  • Delay traveling to campus if I am feeling ill or have signs of any illness.

As a student enrolled during the spring 2021 semester who will be living on campus or off campus in Mercer County or Plainsboro, New Jersey, I will:

  • Participate in Princeton’s mandatory Monitoring and Testing Program, which includes:
    • Being tested for the virus that causes COVID-19 upon my arrival on campus.
    • Participating in COVID-19 testing twice per week at the beginning of the semester and follow testing frequencies as they are adjusted during the course of the semester at the University’s discretion.
    • Commit to leaving my phone on or checking my phone regularly so that I can be reached by University Health Services (UHS) and/or other University officials as needed.
    • Cooperating with contact tracing inquiries within 26 hours by, among other things, responding to texts and calls from contact tracers and answering all questions about my contacts honestly and completely.
    • Complying with any instructions to isolate or quarantine made by the UHS and being available daily for a clinician to check on my health status via secure email, phone, or both.
    • Contacting UHS immediately to seek an evaluation or to arrange for testing when I experience symptoms associated with COVID-19.
  • Commit to staying in quarantine for 7 days when I arrive on campus and to following the University’s Arrival Protocol, which includes a test upon arriving on campus, subsequently staying in my room until I receive a negative result, and then a period of on-campus arrival restrictions for the balance of 7 days. 
  • Monitor my health daily by using the University’s symptom tracker before leaving my room for the day, and if I’m not feeling well or the results of my symptom check instructs me to do so, stay in my dorm room or off-campus room alone. If I am not feeling well, I agree not to attend in-person classes, meetings, social gatherings or activities, and only participate remotely.
  • Wear a face covering (mask) over my nose and mouth in all University facilities, including workplaces, classrooms, dining facilities (unless eating), and on University grounds when I cannot maintain physical distancing in compliance with the Face Coverings policy. If I reside on campus, I agree to wear a face covering in residence halls and residential college facilities (except when alone in my assigned room, with roommates, suitemates, or with romantic partners as defined by the University’s Face Covering Policy).
  • Wear a face covering off campus (including in town on public streets and in shops, restaurants, etc.) and follow government requirements regarding face coverings while off-campus.
  • Physically distance, maintaining at least six feet/two meters of separation between myself and others in all University facilities/grounds.
  • Observe all guidelines for dining (grab-and-go, outdoor dining, or eating at assigned appropriately distanced indoor seating) if I live on campus and/or eat on the mandatory campus dining plan.
  • Not host any off-campus guests in my campus residence, including family members, romantic partners, or any students who are not currently residing on campus including those off-campus students who are taking part in the Monitoring and Testing Protocol.
  • Not host more than two student guests who also live on-campus in my room/suite at a time, and not attend any gathering in any dormitory room/suite where there are more than two student guests (other than the host). I will maintain physical distancing and wear face coverings at any such gathering. Two student guests is the maximum number permitted in a suite, regardless of the number of suitemates.
  • Not provide access to residential colleges and dormitories to anyone not residing on campus, including those off-campus students taking part in the Monitoring and Testing Protocol.
  • Not host or attend any in-person gatherings on campus with more than five people indoors or ten people outdoors unless sponsored by the University or otherwise indicated by official, visibly displayed COVID-19 room occupancy limits. I will follow physical distancing guidelines in such spaces.  NOTE: This provision applies to in-person gatherings on campus that are not occurring in dormitories/student residences, where only two student guests (other than resident) are permitted. 
  • Not move or modify furniture in common areas, lounges or classrooms that has been intentionally positioned or restricted to ensure physical distancing.
  • Abide by the rules restricting student organization in-person events and not organize or attend such events unless approved by the University.
  • Not provide access to other non-residential University buildings to anyone.
  • Not host or attend any in-person gatherings off campus with more than five guests in addition to the residents and to follow all state and local guidelines for indoor and outdoor gatherings.
  • Act as an active bystander and remind people of community standards and expectations if I see violations of the Social Contract.
  • Adhere to other health and safety practices recommended or required by the University, such as frequent hand-washing.
  • Not travel outside of Mercer County or Plainsboro, New Jersey, for any reason from the time I arrive in Princeton until the end of the semester, unless:
    • I have to attend a medical or mental health appointment;
    • I have a personal emergency or legal obligation and my Director of Student Life has approved an exception for me to travel; or,
    • The dean of my residential college has approved an exception for me to fulfill an academic requirement that cannot be completed any other way.
  • Limit my personal travel even in Mercer County and Plainsboro, New Jersey, to essential purposes and not make trips in either municipality in a group of more than five people.
  • Comply with all other travel guidelines and restrictions issued by the Associate Provost for International Affairs and Operations.

Where a student believes they may be unable to comply with any of the requirements in the Social Contract, the student should consult with their residential college Director of Student Life in advance of returning to campus. Where a student seeks a reasonable accommodation with respect to any of the Social Contract requirements, the student should consult with the Office of Disability Services (ODS) in advance of returning to campus.


“The primary purposes of regulations and discipline in a university are to protect the well-being of the community and to advance its educational mission by defining and establishing certain norms of behavior.”

                                  --Rights, Rules, Responsibilities 2020

Accountability and Responsibility:

I understand that to protect myself and the campus and surrounding communities, I must abide by the rules set forth in this Social Contract, and understand that they may be modified by the University from time to time. I understand that violations of the Social Contract deemed significant by the University, including those related to violating quarantine or isolation orders, hosting unpermitted visitors in on-campus residences, and hosting prohibited in-person gatherings will normally result in being barred from campus as well as other disciplinary action. In addition, I understand that repeated infractions related to wearing face coverings, physical distancing, or participation in testing will result in disciplinary action and, if serious, may also result in being barred from campus. All alleged violations of the Social Contract and/or other conduct policies will be adjudicated through Princeton’s established disciplinary process set forth in Rights, Rules, Responsibilities.

To Report Non-Compliance with University Guidelines or Policies (and Federal, State, Local or University Requirements) I will pursue one or more of the following:

  • Report non-compliant students to my residential college Director of Student Life or, in case of emergency or where there is a possibility of immediate harm, to the Department of Public Safety.
  • Report anonymously to EthicsPoint if I am concerned about retaliation for reporting.
  • Report non-students in violation of our community standards to the Department of Public Safety (DPS). Reporting to DPS should be primarily considered for instances where there is the possibility of immediate harm or an emergency.

By signing below, I agree to abide by the rules set forth in the Social Contract. I acknowledge that Princeton University cannot eliminate the risk of illness during a global pandemic. I voluntarily accept the risks associated with residing on campus and participating in instructional and co-curricular in-person, on-campus activities.