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Wednesday, October 20, 2021


With COVID-19 and outages, UH manages two crises at once

Some Cougar Place residents relocated to The Quad after the winter storm caused power and water outages. | Sydney Rose/The Cougar

Some Cougar Place residents relocated to The Quad after the winter storm caused power and water outages. | Sydney Rose/The Cougar

With many residential students relocating due to power and water outages, UH has had to balance the two biggest crises facing the school: the coronavirus pandemic and the aftermath of the winter storm.

Those living in student housing such as Cougar Place, Bayou Oaks, Cougar Village I and Cougar Village II were given the option to relocate to The Quad or University Lofts as power and water outages and bursting pipes continued. They are moving in to empty bed spaces with permanent residents, creating coronavirus safety concerns.

The University “is exhausting all options in an effort to keep our students and campus community safe,” said vice president for marketing and communications Lisa Holdeman in an email to the UH community.

Some students, like psychology sophomore N’Namdi Jelani, have said UH has done well with mitigating COVID-19 risks.

“To be honest I hadn’t much thought about COVID with everything else going on, but I feel safe with it all because I think campus is doing it’s best to handle both problems simultaneously,” Jelani said.

Jelani, unlike other students, knows the people he is temporarily staying with, so he feels more secure about the coronavirus precautions taken.

For students like mechanical engineering technology sophomore Luke Westerfield, there is the option to not relocate and risk COVID-19 safety, even if that means no power or water.

Westerfield opted to stay at his dorm in Cougar Place instead of relocating to another residence hall.

“It hasn’t gotten deathly cold in the dorms, but I am going to someone’s house today just to hopefully have better access to power,” Westerfield said.

The residence halls, including Cougar Place, have had power turning on and off this week, with water and electricity returning for brief periods of time.

“I do think we have slacked a bit in regards to people social distancing, but most people are wearing masks and are not super huddled,” Westerfield said. “I know UH is doing everything they can and I’m extremely thankful for (them) making sure that we at least have food.”

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

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