With COVID-19 changing everyone’s lives in some way, Boise State Housing and Residence Life has taken the precautionary steps to ensure student health and safety while living on campus. Executive Director of Housing and Residence Life, Luke Jones, spoke about the new policies put in place for the academic school year.
Students must wear face masks anytime they are out of their rooms and there will be limited occupancy in certain facilities such as restrooms, lounges, and elevators. There will also be a max occupancy number posted in every room to maintain social distancing practices, as well as increased cleaning protocols as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
According to Jones, student housing has set aside 100 bed spaces for quarantine and self-isolation purposes, if necessary. While student housing is doing everything they can to ensure student health and safety, Jones urges students to take personal responsibility.
“Students [need to] take the personal responsibility of protecting the health and safety of other people.f we want this university experience, if we want to have our campus open, every student, every member of our community is going to have to do their part and help make this happen. If we don’t do that, then I worry our campus won’t remain open,” Jones said.
Compared to the 2019 housing enrollment, fewer students have applied for housing this year, according to Jones and he believes the reasoning behind it is related to the uncertainty for the fall semester.
Merritt Brossia, Communications major, has decided to live in Clearwater Suites for the year. Brossia was also unsure how student housing would be conducted, however, safety regulations regarding student health have been communicated to those living on campus.
“They have made it abundantly clear that as soon as you’re leaving your room, you’re wearing a mask,” Brossia said. “They are not allowing any guests in the rooms, and of course, have rooms set aside if anyone needs to quarantine.”
Senior and Multidisciplinary Studies major, Beth Manor, originally decided to live on campus but withdrew her application due to lack of communication and the unknowns and increase in coronavirus cases in Idaho.
According to Manor, she applied for student housing in March but did not get off the waitlist until the day before the student housing deadline. With only 24 hours to decide to live on campus or not, Manor had a negative experience with the process.
“I wanted to be in official campus housing just to have the environment, the protections, the regulations that come with campus housing. chance to connect with other students more, to take part in more events, more clubs, study groups and things like that. I still will have access to some of those, but not as much as before,” Manor said.
Manor understands that her experience depends on the responsibility she takes for it and how to maximize the most out of the semester.
“I think that becomes even more challenging when there are less events and less resources that you have access to, and not having a lot of answers,” Manor said. “Everybody has those questions, you know, ‘what exactly am I paying for this semester?’”
Manor says she is prepared for the possibility of leaving the Boise State campus in the event of a spike in Coronavirus cases.
“It’s an adjustment and not everyone is ready to make that adjustment,” Manor said.“I feel like there is definitely going to be a spike, and people just need to be prepared for that. The decision to go back and to live in student housing was based on the fact that they might shut down at the end of September and you gotta pack up and go.”
Overall, Manor remains optimistic and trusts Boise State to provide a safe semester.
“I absolutely love Boise State, and I really wish that things were a little more cut and dry right now right now and making a decision about, pretty much anything, was easier. But, I think that we have a really good president at BSU and that she is going to do everything she can to keep us safe,” Manor said.