Campus housing sees COVID-19 restrictions

In hopes of preventing the spread of COVID-19 among the more than 2,800 students living on campus, Augustana has created new restrictions for campus housing.

Along with requiring masks when entering housing locations, all residence halls have added dispensers for hand sanitizer and placed bottles with Vindicator for cleaning hands and surfaces. Only four students will be allowed in a room at one time, and outside visitors will not be allowed on campus.

“Augustana is doing a great job at distancing and keeping everything very clean,” said Jakota Hernandez, sophomore living in Stavig Hall.

The number of students living on campus has dropped by 58 since fall of last year, according to Jenna Baltzer, director of housing operations and residence halls. She notes that more students have requested to live in single dorm rooms this fall due to the pandemic.

Not everyone who wanted to live in a single room was granted single room occupancy. Senior Luis Cruz originally planned to live off campus this year but his two other roommates had to stay in their home countries, Brazil and Spain due to COVID-19, leaving Cruz to opt for a dorm room.

According to Cruz, there are five single rooms available on his floor in Tuve Hall.  

“When I signed up for room selection, [Tuve Hall] said that they didn’t have rooms available, so that’s why I was assigned a roommate,” said Cruz, admitting he would feel more protected in a single room.

This semester COVID-19 makes the decision of whether to live on or off campus a tough one. Sophomore Emma Lamoreux, who has been living in Granskou this fall, has been rethinking her selection.

 “I feel like it would be safer to live off campus and commute,” said Lamoreux. 

Sophomore  Jessica DeLair, who lives in Stavig, said that since students go to class with many of the same people they interact with in the common living spaces, it would be worse if they commuted. 

“[By commuting] you are more likely to bring anything that you did possibly catch on campus off campus,” said DeLair.

In fact, DeLair says that some of the classes like Biology and Physiology on campus have around 80 people in them. “Usually when you’re in the towers [Stavig and Granskou halls] you don’t interact with that many people at a time,” said DeLair. 

For students on campus who need to isolate, the Valhalla theme house is currently being used as a quarantine location. According to the Viking Flex Plan, Augustana will also provide contracted housing for more students who need isolation. 

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