COVID-19 prevention in UF dorms

By Megan Berg

            Residence halls pose serious concerns about the transmission of COVID-19. Students living in residence halls may be at a higher risk of contracting the virus, due to close proximity, shared bathrooms, and small halls. Several Residence Life staff weighed on in the measures in place to protect UF students in the dorms.

Many of the residence life staff are positive about the training they received going into this semester. Cosiano Health Center visited during training to provide extra information, and Residence Life Staff also received directions from their supervisors.

Ashley Allen, the resident assistant for 2nd floor of North Lovett, revealed more about the role that RA’s are expected to play in enforcing these rules.

”We’re not police, we’re not supposed to sniff out people not wearing masks all over campus,” Allen said. “But within the context of where we live in the residence halls, just being that active reminder for people to stay safe, wear their masks, and social distance.”

Lindsey Allen, the resident assistant of 3rd floor of Deming, said the training they received indicated that their main function was to report noncompliance when necessary, not punish students.

 “We don’t dish out punishment, we don’t know what’s going to happen. Our job is just to document it and send it on to other people to do the administrative work,” Lindsey Allen said. She also expressed wishes for improvement in the system.

“(I would) like to see a bit of a different system (for enforcing the rules), where we can unofficially write down ‘this person has been seen without a mask on this many times, and informed to put a mask on this many times’,” Lindsey said. “I feel like that would make administrative work a lot easier.”

Ashley Allen emphasized that while she believed her training was excellent, she wishes she had more training in how to relieve uncertainties and questions that residents bring to her about the future.

Deming Resident Director, Gracie Goodman, is also uncertain about the future and laughs when talking about a return to normal.

“It’s something that I wish we knew more about. Residents will ask about it, RA’s will ask about it, and honestly I think that as an RD, I’m kind of as up-to-date as I can be, but they really just don’t know.”

However, she stressed that this uncertainty about the future is not indicative that the university is unprepared.

“Because we don’t know, we’re sort of trying to plan for both,” Goodman said. “There’s precautions in place either way.  If it improves, we’ve talked hypothetically about ‘oh, if things are better in the spring semester, we’ll do things this way. Or if it’s worse, we’ll do things this way.”

Ashley Allen agrees that this uncertainty about the future is to be expected.

“Things about the future seem vague, but understandably so, because you can’t really predict things like this,” Ashley Allen said. “Considering how sudden everything was last semester, I think the university has done a fantastic job being as prepared as can be expected in this constantly changing situation.”

Ashley says her primary concern is suddenly being sent home early, like last spring.

“I really love the hands-on experiences that I get at the University of Findlay, so I worry a lot that that could be compromised again if cases on campus were to pass a point and we all had to be sent home.”

Goodman is an animal science major, who shares similar concerns about transitioning to remote learning before the planned time.

“There is so much knowledge that you gain from being at the barns and interacting with animals that is so unique to our university, it would make it really challenging if we had to take all of that away.” Goodman said.

Goodman hopes students get to stay on campus until Thanksgiving break, as planned. However, she is confident that if the situation becomes unsafe for students, that Findlay will adjust.

“Findlay is wise enough to make the right decision as far as just sending us home, if that’s what’s best for the faculty and students,” Goodman said.

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