October 22, 2020

What campus housing looks like during a pandemic

With  students able to move back to campus, some might be wondering, what exactly campus housing looks like amid the current pandemic?

At the beginning of the month President Kaufman confirmed that the university would officially be moving forward with in-person learning and a hybrid approach to classes on campus starting Sept. 21.

Capital has developed a strategy for monitoring on-campus sicknesses. This involves surveillance testing, daily monitoring of symptoms, quarantine and isolation procedures, and contact tracing for positive cases. 

Given the circumstances, one might assume the housing process has had to undergo significant changes to accommodate students and keep them safe while living on campus. 

The problem facing dorm rooms is the amount of communal spaces, like bathrooms, laundry rooms, and kitchens, that entire buildings or floors of students need to use.

While there is some truth to this, most aspects of the process remain the same in terms of roommate selection.

Residence life has made it possible for students to remain with the specific roommates they requested through the housing process last semester. 

Those who requested to live with a roommate, but did not have a specific person identified, are being paired with someone based on the information provided on their housing intent forms. 

Obviously, there are several risks of moving in with someone new during a pandemic, so there’s no need to dive into that.  

Granted, students are being tested and symptoms are being tracked, but there is still no way to completely eliminate the risk of exposure. 

“It will be essential that those living together have open and honest conversations about how they will live in the space, how they will keep the space clean, expectations for when masks are necessary, and most importantly how they will inform one another if they are feeling ill,” Jon Geyer, Director of Residential and Commuter Life, said in a statement regarding the situation. 

Trust and transparency between roommates has an added level of importance now, and sharing a space with someone has taken on a new meaning since the beginning of the pandemic. 

In the unfortunate case that a roommate does test positive for COVID-19, the affected students will need to work with the university to ensure that they’re aware of the quarantine and isolation protocols set in place. 

While the idea of being back on campus is exciting and provides a sense of normalcy amid all the chaos, there is no doubt that the pandemic is still affecting everyone’s daily lives. It is important that all members of the Capital community work together to ensure the campus remains safe and habitable. 

For more information regarding a safe return to campus housing, students can refer to this resource guide.

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