So, what’s the deal with fall housing?

A break down of Res Life’s recent email regarding safety procedures for the upcoming semester

Emily Teixeira

Pace’s fall 2020 semester promises to be an unprecedented experience for students. While the university has announced that campus will be operational come August, policy changes made to minimize the risk of COVID-19 will alter daily life. Here’s what dorming students can expect upon their return:

The Move-In Process:

  • It will begin in early August to reduce the number of families on campus at one time.
  • Res Life expects to have the move-in appointment sign-up sheet available on My Housing by the weekend of July 18.
  • Move-in appointments consist of 3-hour time slots, available first-come first-served. Roughly 45 students will be allowed to move in per hall per day. Students who have issues getting their desired slot may contact [email protected], however, they ask that students try to be as flexible as possible.
  • Move crew volunteers will not be provided this year. Students are allowed to bring up to two people to help them move in. Those two people must wear face coverings and be out of the residence halls by 8:00 p.m.
  • Since some classes will be remote, a student may move in as late as August 30 if their schedule permits it.

Precautions Upon Arrival:

  • Students coming from out of state may be subject to a COVID test upon arrival.
  • Students coming from areas other than the New York/New Jersey/Connecticut tristate area may be subject to a quarantine period upon arrival. The specifics for this type of quarantine are still being worked out, and they will be sent to students as soon as they are available. However, Res Life wishes to assure students that they will be safe and well-provided for, and all measures will be taken in accordance with the state and the CDC’s recommendations.
  • Pace will issue reusable cloth face coverings to students upon arrival.

Within the Halls:

  • According to Alerie Tirsch and Nilam Kotadia of Res Life, Pace has reduced 1/3 of the triples within the residence halls (not all triples), and overall occupancy within the halls has gone down 10 percent. However, they still expect to be able to house everyone who went through the room selection process.
  • Face coverings will be mandatory in hallways, elevators, stairways, and common spaces. The only place students are allowed to be without a covering is inside their individual dorm. Roommates are considered members of a “family unit,” and, therefore, students do not have to cover their faces or abide by social distance policies within their own rooms.
  • Guests will not be permitted within the residence halls. Students may not enter a building that is not their place of residence, nor may they enter a room other than their own. (However, these rules are subject to change should the COVID-19 situation improve.)
  • Common spaces, such as lounges, kitchens, and laundry rooms, will have maximum occupancy signs posted at the entrance to prevent overcrowding.
  • Communal bathrooms will be cleaned several times a day. Students may be assigned specific rooms, sinks, and stalls to further reduce cross contact.

In the Event of a COVID-19 Case:

  • If a student has been exposed someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, they will be quarantined along with their roommates.
  • If a student tests positive for COVID-19, they will be placed in an isolation room in Alumni Hall. A staff member will be assigned to the student to check on them daily and arrange for the delivery of food and other needed services.

Programming within the Residence Halls:

Tirsch and Kotadia stated in an interview that Res Life programming will go virtual. JoAnna Verlezza, Assistant Director of Community Development, will be working with RAs to create events, and help new students acclimate and form connections despite the lack of in-person contact. According to Kotadia and Tirsch, Res Life has “really worked hard at creating different ways of engaging students and is confident the students will still have an enjoyable experience in the residence halls.”

What if I decide I no longer want to live on campus this semester?

Students can opt out of fall housing and still return to live on campus in the spring. Returning students who wish to opt out have until July 15 to do so without penalty, while new students have until August 1. They can access the cancellation form in their My Housing portal.