Campus News

UB takes extra precautions in residence halls for fall semester

A roommate enters a residence hall room, still wearing their mask.

To lessen the density of students living together in on-campus housing, there will be no more than two students per bedroom. Photo: Meredith Forrest Kulwicki

By DOUGLAS SITLER

Published August 10, 2020

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headshot of Tom Tiberi.
“If all members of our community are committed to following the new policies and health and safety guidelines, we are confident that we can maintain the safe and welcoming environment that students have come to expect in order to succeed academically and personally at UB. ”
Thomas Tiberi, director
Campus Living

In order to help students living on campus stay safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19 during the upcoming fall semester, UB is taking proactive measures in its residence halls.

Leadership and staff in Campus Living, which oversees residence halls, have been working around the clock to help ensure that university life remains as normal — and safe — as possible during some very difficult times.

“We know that this isn’t the university experience that our students imagined, especially those freshmen coming to campus for the first time,” says Thomas Tiberi, director of campus living. “But if all members of our community are committed to following the new policies and health and safety guidelines, we are confident that we can maintain the safe and welcoming environment that students have come to expect in order to succeed academically and personally at UB.”

To lessen the density of students living together in on-campus housing, there will be a maximum of two students per bedroom and reduced density in shared bathroom facilities.

An extra layer of safety measures regarding students and visitors in the residence halls have been implemented to help protect against the spread of COVID-19 on campus.

Students may only enter the residence hall or apartment where they reside. Students will not be allowed to host anyone in their rooms, including other residents in their building that do not reside in their room or apartment. Off-campus guests, including non-residential university students, are not permitted to enter resident halls.

“We understand that some students would prefer to socialize with minimal restrictions, but we are prioritizing precautions that limit unnecessary exposure to others in their living environment as a means of maintaining students’ health while they fulfill their academic commitments,” Tiberi says. “Students will have the opportunity to see each other and socialize in small groups in designated common areas and outdoor spaces across campus as long as they are wearing face coverings and are physical distancing.”

Also, the move-in process to residence halls will take on a new look this year.

In order to allow for a safe distance while moving in, each resident will schedule a three-hour time slot on a specific date. Students will not be allowed to move in outside of their assigned time slot. Depending on student status, move-in dates will be Aug. 22-30. Classes start Aug. 31.

Students will be moving into residence halls and apartments on the North Campus only. Campus Living officials say the residence halls on the South Campus — Clement and Goodyear — have been closed for the upcoming semester due to decreased demand for housing. Goodyear has been designated as a dedicated quarantine space.

“The scheduled move-in process has been designed to be as contactless as possible,” Tiberi explains. “There will be a drive-up, central check-in location for key distribution, and then students and up to two helpers can move belongings into assigned rooms across a three-hour period. Since staff cannot assist with the physical move-in this year, we have enhanced digital and print wayfinding signs and maps. Staff will be on-site inside the buildings to help answer questions and troubleshoot any issues that may occur.”

For students who meet eligibility requirements, break housing will be available from Nov. 25 to Jan. 20, 2021. Students must submit a break housing application and will incur additional costs. During break, there will be limited services available, including dining, transportation and staffing.

Campus Dining and Shops operations will be modified to meet new state requirements for cleaning, physical distancing, customer limits and modified indoor seating. More than 30 campus locations, many of which are located in residence halls, will be revamped, including new grab-and-go sites, a zoned and time seating reservation system in residential dining centers and mobile ordering.

Changes to the academic calendar are creating new contract dates for on-campus housing. Contracts for the fall semester will be from Aug. 27 through Nov. 25. Spring semester dates will be from Jan. 20 through May 16. Summer session dates will run from May 16 to July 31.

Campus Living is using a one-rate structure for all residence hall rooms, which will also allow for flexibility with room assignment changes. The rates are lower than original projections for single and double rooms.

Partial refunds will be administered in the event that Campus Living is forced to terminate housing for the remainder of the semester due to public health concerns. The reimbursement schedule considers that university housing rates fund both fixed and variable costs to operate the residence halls and apartments. Upon reasonable notice, residents may be required to vacate residence halls and apartments on a temporary or permanent basis.

“Although we look forward to completing a safe and productive year on campus, we are prepared for the possibility that conditions may change and we could be forced to close the residence halls and apartments on short notice,” Tiberi says. “We want our students to be prepared for this possibility as well. We encourage students and their families to plan for what you would do if you have to return home quickly. We also recognize that some students may not be able to return home. In those cases, they will always have a place to call home on campus.”