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Universities prepare for students to move in on campus during pandemic

This year will likely look different for most students at universities across central Ohio.
Credit: Ohio Wesleyan University

DELAWARE, Ohio — One of the biggest steps many people take in life is moving out from mom and dad’s and into a college dorm on campus.

This year will likely look different for most students at universities across central Ohio.

10TV talked with Ohio Wesleyan president, Rock Jones Ph.D., who explained how they are moving full-steam ahead to move students in this fall but with a few adjustments.

“It will be a different semester for sure,” Jones said.

Some of the changes the university has in store include,

  • Asking students to wear facial coverings everywhere but inside their residence hall rooms and restrooms.
  • Ohio Wesleyan will reserve about 50 rooms in separate spaces to be used if a student falls ill or needs to quarantine.
    • Jones explained the university is able to do this because, of their roughly 1,400 enrolled students, about 175 applied to be remote for whatever reason this fall, which alleviates some of the pressure on housing.
  • The university has developed and enhanced their cleaning protocols for all facilities on campus
  • Students will be provided with a health kid, including a thermometer, mask, sanitizer and wipes that can be replenished throughout the semester.
  • Students will also be encouraged to stay on campus when possible.

“We think that we increase the chances of a safe campus by keeping people on campus as much as possible,” Jones said.

Jones also tells 10TV that he believes it is on everyone to keep campus safe.

“When we do the things that each of us needs to do individually, we're doing them not so much for ourselves as we are for other people who are more vulnerable,” he said. Maintaining social distance, washing our hands, wearing our masks, cleaning our surfaces, ensuring that we're following the guidelines and then also, I suggested to students that we need to have an extra dose of kindness.”

Being able to keep students on campus is critical to the overall college experience, Jones said, adding that he believes what students learn and do in their residence communities, enhance their academic lives.

It’s in those residence communities where lifelong relationships are formed and great ideas are explored,” Jones said.

“We want to ensure that the residential experience remains robust and vibrant even as we are keeping a little more distance among ourselves, we’re wearing masks, which means we can’t see the smiles and the other facial expressions. And yet, we can still have that experience of being in community together in a residential setting.”

Other universities across central Ohio are also adjusting their dorm life experience out of safety precautions during the pandemic.

Capital University, for example, is decreasing how many students live in their traditional residence halls, according to their website

Denison University leaders asked students to limit their exposure by self-quarantining starting August 1. 

 And over at Otterbein University, they are asking that only residents of individual dorm rooms enter the room, keeping all visitors out.