Negotiating Safe Campus Housing for Fall Semester - Student Research Foundation

Negotiating Safe Campus Housing for Fall Semester

Not too many years ago, college students worried about having dorm roommates who snored, smoked, or smelled bad.

How innocent those times were. Now, in the midst of the pandemic, most dorm-dwellers are worrying about matters of illness, life, and death. You want to be sure to negotiate the best possible solutions to questions about roommates.

Who will your (or your child’s) roommate be? Will that person be vigilant about social distancing, cleaning, sanitizing, and other protocols?

You are entirely justified in asking your college a lot of questions right now and insisting on getting correct and reassuring answers.

Questions to ask about rooms and roommate assignments . . .

  • Can you or your son or daughter reserve a single room, without a roommate? (This, for obvious reasons, is best.)
  • If a single room is not available, what about a double? (This is the second-best option.)
  • If you are assigned to a suite with three or more roommates, can you refuse to accept that and ask for a single or double room instead?

Questions to ask about dorm rooms and facilities . . .

  • How are dorm rooms and other campus facilities being cleaned and prepared for the return of students?
  • What schedules are in place to regularly and correctly clean dorm rooms, common areas, dining halls and other campus facilities?
  • What protocols are linen supply companies (if used) applying to assure the health of students?
  • Will students be screened for symptoms of disease before being allowed to enter dorm buildings?

Questions to ask about prevention protocols . . .

  • What screening and testing protocols are the college enforcing to prevent the spread of disease in dormitories and on campus as a whole?
  • Because students will be arriving on campus from different regions of the country and foreign countries too, what policies is the college planning to enforce about quarantines, testing and other health protocols?
  • If students will be quarantined before being allowed to interact with other students, where will they be housed on campus while quarantined?
  • What infirmaries and healthcare facilities are maintained on campus, and how are they staffed?
  • What plans does the college have in place to respond to new outbreaks of the virus?
  • If the campus needs to be evacuated, does the college have an emergency plan in place?
  • What social distancing procedures and rules will be set up in classrooms, libraries, dining facilities and other campus facilities?

And questions to ask their roommates after they arrive . . .

  • Can we agree to a non-visitor policy in our room and our shared living areas?
  • Can we both agree to wear facemasks when we are outside our dorm?
  • Where should we leave our shoes before entering our living area? (Hopefully, the college will have anticipated this question and will have set up storage areas in common entry areas.)
  • Can we set up a way to keep one another informed if we have attended parties or campus events, of if we believe we might have been exposed to individuals who might be carrying the virus?
  • How are we going to handle the question of where we will go during vacations and class breaks?
  • What schedules can we set up to clean refrigerators and food storage areas?

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