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Sunday, April 5, 2020

Campus

Residence halls will remain open but with more aggressive cleaning standards


Residents are encouraged to stay off campus if possible, but residence halls continue regular operations. | Lino Sandil/The Cougar

Despite growing concerns toward the new coronavirus, resulting in the University transitioning to having all classes online, student housing remains open for campus residents with more aggressive cleaning standards. 

While the University encourages students who have the resources to live off campus to do so, all on-campus residence halls will continue to be open and available for residents who wish to return. Student Housing and Residential Life is discouraging residents from bringing guests into campus housing for now.

The University is taking preventative steps to avoid the spread of the coronavirus in the residence halls. Despite there currently being no COVID-19 cases at UH, increased cleaning methods are taking place across campus and in residence halls.

“All UH facilities, including student housing, are being maintained using aggressive sanitation and hygiene protocols as recommended by authorities, (including) increased custodial cleaning, hand sanitizer dispensers at all entrances, common areas and elevators,” said UH spokesperson Chris Stipes in an email. 

In the case that a student living in a residence hall contracts the coronavirus, the University has various methods planned to contain the case and prioritize students’ health.

“There are different scenarios that student housing is prepared for and will follow the guidance of the Health Department and the Student Health Center,” Stipes said. “These include (the) hospital, off-campus home if available and on-campus quarantine and isolation.”

One student who plans to return to residential living during the extended break and online class period plans on increasing their sanitation in the dorms. 

“I think as for preventative adjustments I’ll clean my dorm more and sanitize better,” said chemistry freshman Valeria Stevens. “I’m not too worried about the virus affecting campus.”

In a potential on-campus outbreak of the coronavirus, the University would turn to health officials and the Office of Emergency Management on how to tend to the needs of the patient’s roommate(s) and other affected individuals. 

“UH Health Liaison, Dr. Vanessa Tilney, and the UH Office of Emergency Management continue to work with local, state and national authorities on a daily basis,” Stipes said. “We would follow the guidance of authorities in any scenario.”

Additional precautions to prevent the potential spread of the coronavirus in residence halls includes the cancellation of all events under student housing and residential life until March 23. After this date, University officials will decide on the status of residential events moving forward.

For Stevens, she believes the biggest adjustment moving back to campus during these special circumstances will be the social differences.

“I feel kinda sad since all my friends aren’t coming back,” Stevens said. “I think my routine will stay about the same, and I’ll just have to study more. I still have to do research, so I’ll continue doing that.”

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