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Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Campus

How students in residence halls are adjusting to early move out or staying behind


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Jiselle Santos/The Cougar

Since UH gave students living in campus residence halls the option to return home and continue classes remotely, residents have had varied experiences in moving out nearly two months before the end of the semester and settling into their new academic lives back home.

The original move-out date for this academic year was May 10, according to the Residence Hall Service Agreement. However, many students packed up and returned their keys after the University announced on March 19 that classes would be held online for the remainder of the semester due to COVID-19 concerns.

The University will refund to students who move out early, but the process has been halted after Harris County issued a stay-at-home order until at least April 30.

Students who have not yet moved out have been asked to reschedule their move-out time to after April 4. Student Housing and Residential Life said they’ll be open for any students wishing to move out that are able to and make the choice to come to campus after April 4 but still during the stay-at-home order. Their refund amount will be calculated based on the date they submitted their cancellation request.

Psychology senior Ersie Gentzis is among the students that still have a dorm on campus but are hoping to schedule a move-out date as soon as the stay-at-home order is lifted.

She likes living back at home with her family, but the coronavirus outbreak has given her some worries over whether she should stay.

“I enjoy being back home with my family; however, I’m also worried that if I encounter someone who is sick when I’m grocery shopping (and) I could pass it on to my parents,” Gentzis said. “If I stayed on campus, I wouldn’t worry about putting them at risk.”

Gentzis is adjusting to online lectures and has been fortunate to have a quiet place in her house to study. She never expected the end of her undergraduate years to become so conflict-ridden

She’s still waiting on her refund from the University that she can’t get until she can set a move-out date starting April 4.

Finance and marketing freshman Vividha Gupta moved out of Cougar Village I and back into her parents’ home on March 24. She chose the day because it fit nicely into her class schedule and wanted to receive as large of a refund as possible. Ultimately, she was satisfied with the move-out process and a substantial refund.

“It was different than I would have expected if COVID-19 hadn’t happened because barely any people were there,” Gupta said. “If it happened normally then my roommates probably would have been there and it would have been more fun, and I would have felt more closure.”

Gupta is more comfortable at home, although she has found it more difficult to manage her online classes. On campus, she didn’t have to work around her family’s noise, schedule and lack of understanding of her academic workload.

Ruben Tang, the community mentor in CV1, still has not moved out of the dorms and reached out to members of his residential hall last week offering to help in whatever way he can. He believes that the steps UH has taken are in the students’ best interests, including giving the option of remaining on campus to students who are unable to return home.

“All in-person programming has been canceled, so it does impact the personal connection that comes with physically being present,” Tang said. “As CM, I am working closely with Hall Council to continue providing resources to our CV1 residents as they adapt to online classes.”

For more of The Cougar’s coronavirus coverage, click here.

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