Boise State has ordered all students living on campus to vacate campus residence halls by March 26 following the announcement of Idaho’s 23rd case of the coronavirus. Vice president for student affairs and enrollment management Leslie Webb and Housing and Residence Life director Luke Jones notified students living on campus via email on March 19, giving them a week to arrange plans to be off-campus.
Webb and Jones stated in an email to residents that state and local officials may implement a “shelter in place” order in the coming weeks. As a result, Boise State has decided to scale down the number of people on campus, resulting in the closure of campus dorms.
“Our primary concern is for the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff. It is possible and even likely that in the coming weeks, communities may be directed to shelter in place, with few exceptions,” Webb wrote in the email. “Should this happen, it may impact the university’s ability to continue to provide food and other basic services to students living in residence halls.”
The email stated that there will be several case-by-case exceptions made to the mandatory evacuation, including students that will be facing homelessness should they leave the dorms, students who will face visa restrictions and those who have health conditions that may be affected.
Students will have access to an exemption form until March 22 through their Boise State housing portal. All students being evacuated will be credited based on their move-out date and refunded through their student account, according to the email.
On-campus dining will also transition to a to-go meal model with reusable containers from Southfork.
Greg Hahn, Boise State’s vice president of communication and marketing, said housing faculty are making exceptions for students to stay on campus, but the number of people allowed to stay will reach a limit.
Hahn explained that the university is looking into other housing options for students unable to return home by the vacation deadline.
“I know [Boise State’s sponsorship director] reached out to La Pointe and Vista and some of the other [off-campus student apartments] to see if they had any unexpected openings,” Hahn said. “We assumed that people were leaving those private apartments to go home, and they were… I think that the biggest piece is those privates. There’s extra space in those privates and that should help.”
For students searching for on-campus resources to assist in the transition period, Hahn said the Dean of Students is considered “ground zero” for information regarding the next steps. He said the housing faculty are also available to assist students moving out of the dorms.
“If you’re in housing, you know, the housing folks are there to help,” Hahn said. “I mean, I know they’re even thinking about how [to]help somebody [who]needs help figuring out travel or figuring out how to get their stuff out of their apartment. They’re all there to help on that space.”
Webb and Jones also advised that those who are not currently on campus do not return in an attempt to prevent the vulnerable campus community and to limit the potential spread of infection among students and faculty.