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Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Campus

Housing adjusts guidelines, policies to accommodate pandemic


Additional and more frequent cleaning methods will be one way Student Housing and Residential Life plans to cope with the coronavirus pandemic. | File photo

Additional and more frequent cleaning methods will be one way Student Housing and Residential Life plans to cope with the coronavirus pandemic. | File photo

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to linger, UH residence halls are adjusting their dorm protocols for the fall semester. 

Student Housing and Residential Life have teamed up with the facilities department to sanitize “high touch” areas, including door handles, faucet handles, flush handles and elevator button spaces several times a week and at least once on the weekends. 

“We all need to be vigilant about social distancing and other prevention strategies, this is everyone’s responsibility,” said SHRL director Don Yackley. “Student Housing and Residential Life have made changes in space usage, interaction with staff, community space usage and resident expectations.” 

One way SHRL is utilizing social distancing is by lower population density in residential areas such as Moody Towers, according to Yackley. 

In the event a student was to contract COVID-19, SHRL staff will encourage that resident to return home or find off-campus housing for self-quarantine or isolation.   

“If a student is unable to quarantine/isolate away from the campus, we will work with the student to place them in an appropriate quarantine or isolation space,” Yackley said. 

During the semester, students are to follow directions by the UH COVID-19 website for reporting coronavirus cases, as well as how to isolate and quarantine when they return to campus.

The SHRL staff also plans to work with students on strategies involving certain building situations. This includes cleaning agreements, usage schedules and identifying specific sinks, showers and toilets for residents. 

“I do have reasonable concern about the virus but when it comes to using the bathrooms,” said psychology freshman Sumayya Alzughaie. “I’m not too worried since I’ll just be sure to follow certain sanitizing procedures to minimize the likelihood of contraction.” 

Regardless of the preventive actions being taken around the residence halls, there are students that are still nervous about moving in, such as architecture sophomore Vincent Taylor.  

“I’m concerned that after move-in, there’ll be a large outbreak on our campus that’ll force everyone back online completely,” Taylor said. “If that happens, I’m also concerned about quarantining myself in the dorms before going home.”

Along with the SHRL staff, resident advisers will help in addressing policy violations and community concerns through education, reminders and reporting issues to the student conduct system. 

“SHRL staff is expected to prioritize their personal health, safety and prevention in the course of their work,” Yackley said.

 Room checks will be done by the SHRL staff before students arrive and additionally when the residents move out. Currently, Housing is reviewing protocols on other room check processes, according to Yackley. 

“I have the whole suite to myself currently,” Taylor said. “However, I am incredibly worried about potentially having a roommate move in who isn’t taking this pandemic as seriously as they should.” 

The occupancy for community spaces in residence halls has also been adjusted for social distancing. 

“We all have a responsibility to help minimize the spread of COVID-19 for ourselves and for each other by following prevention strategies, such as regular hand washing, wearing a face covering and disinfecting surfaces in your surroundings,” Yackley said. 

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

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