Students worry for their health after the university reinstates its residency requirement

Schroeder+Hall+was+quarantined+for+two+weeks+last+semester.+

Photo by Zach Bukowski

Schroeder Hall was quarantined for two weeks last semester.

Amid the beginning of spring semester, student concerns regarding residence life have heightened. 

Lily Kate Rogers, a sophomore in the College of Business Administration and resident of Schroeder Hall, expresses her frustration about residence hall life amid the pandemic.

“It is especially frustrating considering the lack of availability of off-campus housing for sophomores this semester,” Rogers said. “I would feel much better being able to live in an apartment or house, not with 300+ students I can’t control.” 

Rogers’ concerns come after the university’s residency requirement was reinstated, prohibiting sophomores from living off campus if they had yet to take advantage of the opportunity to do so in the fall. 

“Sophomore students who did not take advantage of moving out of the residence halls this summer are no longer eligible for that option,” Mary Janz, Executive Director of Housing and Residence Life, said. 

Rogers goes on to express the conflicting feelings she has about returning to campus.

“While I’m excited to be back on campus and get back into the swing of things, the increase of COVID-19 cases, specifically in Milwaukee, has me nervous for the health and safety of all residents,” Rogers said. “The dorms are practically a petri dish.”

Janz also clarifies that first-year students were not offered the same option sophomores were in the fall.

Janz addressed some concerns in addressing options for students in residence halls who are no longer comfortable living in close proximity with others. 

“Students may request a single room if one is available,” Janz said. “There is a one week room freeze after the start of the semester so we can determine if there are students who do not return and did not notify the university.”

However, Holly Holman, a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences and resident of Schroeder Hall, claims that living in a single room is not a proactive step in containing the virus.  

“I am living in a single, and I found myself still having to be around people at times due to the fact that I have to share a bathroom, laundry room and dining room with almost the whole building.” Holman said. “Because of this, I still ended up getting COVID-19.” 

Holman urges the university to reverse its residency requirement this semester.

“Students should have the opportunity to move into an apartment, even if they have a roommate,” Holman said. “You are going to have better control over your exposure and it might help students save money.” 

To mitigate the university’s loss in revenue from housing, Holman proposes more flexibility with meal plans. 

“If the university is worried about losing money from housing, maybe they could offer a new meal plan where students can pay for either unlimited or limited meal swipes but have the comfort of their own place,” Holman said. 

Precautions to ensure a safe move-in process within residence halls have been put in place similar to last semester, however, this process looks different among returning students and those who have spent the fall semester at home. 

All students had to sign up for a move-in time prior to arriving on campus. However, Janz explains that returning students would allowed a 50-minute move-in window with no helpers whereas last semester new students were allowed a 90 minute move-in window with two helpers in the summer.

“We are doing this to ensure that there are not long elevator lines, and all can socially distance as required during the pandemic,” Janz said. 

This story was written by Claire Driscol. She can be reached at claire.driscol@marquette.edu.