With the arrival of students to campus in the fall also arrives the risk of COVID-19 spreading within residence halls and campus apartments. The University of Indianapolis’ Residence Life staff has implemented several new rules in order to combat the spread of COVID-19 within these locations.
According to Assistant Director of Residence Life Kyle Johnson, ResLife is doing everything they can to bring a great ResLife experience while also keeping students safe.
“I think all in all, we’re still going to be working to provide the residential experience. We know our students are coming and they’re anxious, they’re nervous,” Johnson said. “The semester was cut short, whether you were in high school or whether you were here at UIndy… so we want to make sure we provide everything we can.”
Johnson said that one of the biggest components that will change in the residence halls and in the apartments is within the shared bathrooms and common areas. He said that signage and other tools are going to be used to help enforce social distancing within bathrooms. Some furniture and other objects have also been removed from the common areas in order to enforce social distancing.
“When students come back, they’re gonna see, if you’ve been in that space before, [that] not all the typical furniture is going to be there,” Johnson said. “We worked to put markers on the ground, so our staff and students know where the furniture pieces should be placed, to make sure that they’re socially distanced.”
Another change to the residential experience is the guest policy, according to Johnson. Before the campus closed, if you were a resident in a campus apartment or dorm you were allowed within any other apartment or dorm. Now you are only allowed into your own building. Johnson said that this change is supposed to combat the number of people exiting and entering the building.
According to Assistant Director of Student Affairs and Assistant Director of Residence Life Ayla Wilder, the campus apartments and dorms are going to have similar experiences with some differences.
“So things like our exercise areas, our lounges, will look the same, things will be socially distanced,” Wilder said. “There’ll be a time and a place, or a time that students can work out. There’ll be extra cleaning to take precautions. Our guest policy is going to look similar to the residence halls as well.”
Johnson said that his biggest piece of advice for students is to follow the rules set in place as they were put in place for a reason. He said that all the information they are using is coming from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local health officials and that ResLife is wanting to make sure everyone is safe.
“It’s just really important things to know and it’s all going to be new to us,” Johnson said. “There’s no handbook that we can pull out that says ‘this is how to do residence life during COVID-19 or during a pandemic.’ Unfortunately, we don’t have that…. It’s going to be all of us holding each other accountable, coming together as a community to see what we can do, to get through these difficult times.”
CORRECTION: Aug. 19, 2020 at 12:43 p.m.
A previous version of this article incorrectly stated Ayla Wilder’s title. It has since been updated.