Displaced students stay on campus during COVID-19 pandemic
By CAT EDAHL (LCTV)
Nationwide, colleges and universities have shut down, sending students home to continue their semesters online in an effort to flatten the curve and slow down the spread of COVID-19. In an email from Loras College President, Jim Collins, the campus was notified that all students would need to vacate all campus housing by 5pm on Friday, March 20th. However, for 24 Loras students, going home was not an option.
Loras Senior, Matthew Golubski is among the 24 students remaining on campus. In an email interview Golubski, explains that,
“staying on campus was essential, as my parents are older and are apart of the “at risk” population”.
For their safety, he opted to stay on campus.
As for Junior Valentina Tafur, an international student at Loras, leaving wasn’t an option, as borders to Columbia closed before she could leave. Even if borders hadn’t closed, Tafur states “Staying here was the best idea because traveling was a risk I couldn’t take. I couldn’t risk being exposed and living in the same household with my parents and grandparents who are all over 50. It wasn’t a risk I was willing to take.”
Both students agree it’s hard being away from family during this time,
“In hard situations like this, all you want to do is stay with your family” Tafur added.
Both students are taking advantage of the amenities the school was able to offer to keep them occupied during this time. Both students mentioned that Resident Life supplied them with things like coloring books to keep them busy. Tafur explains, “I am not the only one here in my situation, there are many other students in the same boat and we hang out when the school work is done”.
Although no guests or visitors are currently allowed on campus or in the dorms, there are no restrictions for the current residents to socializing amongst themselves. “We just ask that they comply with social distancing recommendations”, explains Residential Life Coordinator, Katie Keheler.
According to the Residential Life Director, Molly Burrows-Schumacher, each of the 24 students have been given their own set of double rooms with a bathroom, or a suite with a bathroom all to themselves, so that they don’t have to worry about shared spaces. The only guidelines that these students must comply with while staying on campus is that “they will not be allowed to travel further than 10 miles from Dubuque, Iowa”, being that the majority of the students don’t have transportation to do so anyways, so all were willing to comply with this policy.
The biggest concern to Residential Life with students staying on campus during this time was where they were going to source their food. With most of the students not having a form of transportation, and campus dining services being shut down, Residential Life has created a food pantry.
“The campus food pantry has been relocated to Binz at this time to best serve the students located in this area; however, any student can obtain food pantry access by reaching out to the information desk”, explained Burrows-Schumacher.
Burrows also mentioned that the college is providing residents who checked into closure housing with a HyVee gift card, as HyVee offers both pick-up and delivery. Tafur also mentioned that the school also has been giving them a meal a day, and along with the gift card and snacks from the food pantry “there is no worry” in regards to having enough to eat.