by Dylan Frazier
With about 1,070 students living on campus this year, University of Findlay students seem to be taking dorm life changes during the pandemic in stride.
Housing students safely during the COVID-19 pandemic has been a challenge many universities and their students face this school year.
Sophomore graphic design major Nolan O’Connell says taking the necessary measures to stay safe in the dorms is not that bad.
“It’s nothing that’s too complicated,” O’Connell said. “Just wearing your mask is pretty easy. Making sure everything’s sanitized is pretty easy.”
Assistant Dean of Students Johnathan Ferraro says the University has taken several measures to keep students living on campus safe.
“When it comes to the on-campus housing areas, some of those precautions include requiring students to wear masks outside of their individual rooms, limiting off-campus visitors, and the adjustments made by our Housekeeping partners,” Ferraro said.
O’Connell lives in the Village on Frazer Street. He says getting the virus doesn’t worry him too much, but everyone doing their part concerns him.
“I’m just scared kids won’t be following the guidelines,” O’Connell said. He doesn’t want to be sent home or have classes go online again. “In that respect, I’m pretty nervous for that but in terms of me getting the virus, I know I’m doing my part to stay safe.”
“A lot of time and knowledge when into creating the Start Safe & Stay Safe plan,” Ferraro said. “As long as everyone on campus is doing their part to follow the guidelines outlined in the plan, UF will be in the best position possible for everyone to have a safe and productive semester.”
Those guidelines include:
- Roommates and suitemates are treated as a family unit and are not required to wear face coverings or distance in their rooms or suites. Residents are required to wear face-coverings if visiting other rooms.
- Physical distancing and face coverings are required in all other areas of the residence halls; this includes hallways and common spaces.
- Visitation by guests who do not currently reside on campus will not be permitted in on-campus housing areas.
- Group gatherings in the common spaces are permitted as long as six feet of physical distancing can be maintained.
- Recreation equipment (ping pong paddles, pool cues, etc.) that is borrowed will be cleaned and sanitized by staff after each use.
- Common areas and restrooms will have increased cleaning/disinfecting protocols.
- Residents should regularly clean and disinfect their living spaces.
“A lot of time and knowledge when into creating the Start Safe & Stay Safe plan. As long as everyone on campus is doing their part to follow the guidelines outlined in the plan, UF will be in the best position possible for everyone to have a safe and productive semester,” said Ferraro.
If someone were to contract the virus, UF does have a plan in motion to isolate the person quickly and safely with COVID.
“Should a student who is living on campus test positive, UF would follow the guidelines outlined in the Oiler Start Safe & Stay Safe plan,” said Ferraro. “A part of that would include moving the student to an isolated, or quarantine, location on campus. We have several of these spaces identified and prepared on campus in the event they would be needed.”
Shari Hellman, director of housing, says they use the CDC explanation for guidelines between quarantine and isolation.
“Isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick,” Hellman said. “Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick.”
“While we have identified locations for quarantine and isolation, we won’t be using residence halls for that purpose,” Hellman said.
The university has tracked cases and potential cases involving the campus community from June 9 to Aug. 20 and released a statement Friday Aug. 21 saying 50 people had been tested. Nine people tested positive, 37 negative, and four results are pending. There are three people in isolation, six out of isolation, seven in quarantine, and five out of quarantine.
“It is important to remember that no one is in this alone, and there are resources available on campus to help anyone process what they are feeling. Counseling Services, Student Affairs, and the Oiler Success Center are just some of the places that students can go for assistance,” said Ferraro. “Everyone here on campus is committed to making this the best semester possible, and as long as everyone on campus is doing their part to follow Start Safe & Stay Safe plan, UF will be in the best position we can be to make that happen.”
O’Connell says the whole thing has been an adjustment. And when the University decided to switch to remote learning in March, he was shocked.
“It was like ‘dang it’s kind of crazy the world is like this now’,” O’Connell said. “But now you just kind of accept how it is.”