UC Answers: What's the situation for UC housing during COVID-19?
UC’s director of housing Carl Dieso shares how the university is keeping student housing safe
When is move-in day?
Move-in day is approaching, and our families are excited. We've got a new process this year that will begin the weekend of Aug. 14-15, when our local families (limited to two guests) are invited to sign up for a two-hour time block from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. They can come in and drop nonvaluable items into the student's room, get the heavy lifting out of the way and then go home and remain home while we bring in the rest of our student population. Those students are invited to come back on the afternoon of Friday, Aug. 21, to pick up their key and remain on campus throughout their duration at that point.
Other students are able to start arriving and staying on campus beginning Sunday, Aug. 16. Once they're here, they're able to stay. The time slot program allows us to spread people out to no more than 10 people per hour in a residence hall, so we can maintain good traffic flow with elevators, as well as make the drop-off transition at the traffic point outside to be as easy and seamless as possible.
Do students have to live in campus housing?
The university is making that option as flexible as possible for students and families as they weigh their options for the fall. We've expanded the opportunities for first-year exemption, which will allow students to remain at home if they're taking a full online course load. We've created opportunities in our residence halls for expanded single rooms. We are trying to create as many opportunities for families to find their way and be part of the Bearcat community.
Is there still time to decide to live on campus?
Absolutely. Any student that wants to live on campus, we'll make space available for them. There's plenty of options. You just need to contact the housing office or go online and start your application. We can get you in for the fall semester. We're happy to welcome students even later into the semester, if they want to do a partial term, and for those students that chose to stay home for the fall, we welcome them to join us in the campus community in the spring semester.
What guidelines will students have to follow in UC housing?
We're following the latest guidelines from the local health department and the CDC. Across campus, we're asking students to make sure they're staying at least six feet apart. Facial coverings should be worn any time a student is outside of their own living space, whether that's an apartment, suite or a traditional hall on campus. During the first few weeks on campus, we're modifying the guest policy. As students are moving in, we want to welcome families to campus. We've asked them to limit to two helpers, whether that's a family member or friend that's coming to join them.
But once a student completes their move in, we'll have a strict policy where there's no guests allowed on the residential floors. What we want to do is get everybody settled, make sure everybody understands how to be safe, and then as we get to the second and third week of classes, we'll take a look at how everything is progressing and see where we can make some adjustments. We'll look to allow students to, maybe, traverse from residence hall to residence hall. And if things continue progressing in a positive manner, then we'll open that up to allow overnight guests and other guests into the facilities.
What are protocols around quarantine and isolation if a student gets sick?
As always, our university health services team is here to support students. As students report and identify themselves as potentially feeling ill, the UC team will work with that student to identify the next appropriate steps.
Based on that medical guidance, if a student is presenting with symptoms for COVID-19, or has tested positive or even just been exposed to it, we've got a series of protocols to work through. Space has been set aside in our campus to support students during that time. Sometimes that means just a simple quarantine where they're asked to separate from others for a period of time. There will also be isolation space available for students if their medical needs are able to be maintained through our university health services team.
This is all part of the information that students are receiving upfront as they're signing their residential agreements. We'll always have that information available. Part of the initial intake with university health services is a conversation that we encourage the students to have with their families: Is remaining on campus the place for them to be or is there another location for them to receive medical care and observation during this time?
What else is new?
Students are going to be asked to do things a little bit differently, but we have a lot in place to keep them safe. Living on campus is a new experience for many of our students, and this year is no exception. The normal things are all still in place. They're going to have to learn how to share space with someone that they've just met and how to shower on a schedule, but we'll have some additional things in place to help keep them safe.
We’re not bunking beds or lofting beds. If there's going to be multiple people in a room, we don't want beds to be on top of one another. Capacity has been reduced. There are no four-person units. Those units were reduced down to three or two students, depending on the structure of the building and the room. And all three-person units were reduced down to two. So we've reduced occupancy. Two-person rooms remain at that occupancy. Apartments and suites remain as they are designed because those students have individual private bedrooms in many of the spaces. Some students have their own bedroom and bathroom.
While our students are transitioning to this new experience in this time of COVID-19, we've added some recommendations and some guidance for them to help continue to be safe and make that transition. Some of that's going to be the very simple things that we all know: the social distancing, wearing facial coverings. We'll have reminders about how to use the elevator safely, how to be in the laundry room, how to traverse across campus. There'll be some additional information about eating on campus, using the rec centers and the other facilities that are open to support them. There'll be additional guidance for the library and those academic support areas that'll be available to them throughout their time here on campus. But our goal is to make sure that they transition here, are able to feel supported, continue to feel supported and find success in the Bearcat community.
Where can I find more information about housing?
The best place to get the most up-to-date information is on our website. That's a combined site for our housing services team and our resident education and development program. There you'll find all the information about move-in, contracts, important dates, rates, as well as critical details about our residential program. You’ll also find answers to common questions, such as: What are the experiences going to be like? What types of programs are available? What are options to further that experience, even in this time of remote learning and engagement? How do I do my laundry? How do I sign up for cable? How do I access it on my computer? And most importantly, how does my mom send me mail?