After a long summer of tentatively planning to have a limited number of students on campus, Loyola changed its plans less than two weeks out from move-in, much to the frustration of some students.
With students set to move into single-occupancy rooms Aug. 17, the university announced its decision to halt housing Aug. 6, The Phoenix reported.
“With predictions of increased outbreaks in the coming months … we simply cannot put our on-campus residential students in harm’s way and risk further disruption to them and their families if they needed to move home mid-semester because of an outbreak,” the email — signed by Loyola President Jo Ann Rooney, Provost Norberto Grzywacz and other university officials — read.
The email cited the rising numbers of COVID-19 cases across the nation and in the Chicago-area on top of the “complex logistics” of having students from out of state quarantined for up to two weeks once on campus in accordance with a city-wide order.
Now, students are thinking ahead to what this latest change to college life will be like.
Miranda Lee was one of the 1,900 students who previously had housing contracts to live on-campus this semester. The first-year psychology major said she was “devastated” when she received the news about not being able to move on-campus this semester.
“[Living in a dorm] is something I’ve been looking forward to for a really long time,” Lee, an 18-year-old from Michigan, said, adding she even had a countdown going until she moved in.
Lee said she knows the university’s decision was good in the long run but she’s still disappointed about having to delay the experience of living on her own for the first time.
Tatiana Caballero, a 19-year-old sophomore who was set to live on-campus, was in the middle of driving from her home state of Florida to Chicago when the university suspended housing. She said she was coming to Chicago early since she would have to quarantine for two weeks due to Chicago’s emergency travel order.
“I did go through … that initial few hours of worrying and panicking, just feeling really overwhelmed,” the political science major said of not knowing where she would live for the upcoming semester.
Since the announcement, Caballero said she was able to secure off-campus housing in Chicago for the semester but is still holding out hope for on-campus living in the spring — otherwise she might have to move back to Florida.
A senior Resident Assistant (RA) — who The Phoenix isn’t naming — said she had already begun packing and buying groceries for her dorm room when Loyola halted move-in. Since this student is an RA, she was supposed to move in Aug. 10 before other students — just days after the email was sent out.
This student said she wishes the university had made a final decision about housing a bit sooner, but said toward the end of summer she “started to have a feeling” it wasn’t going to work out. However, since she wasn’t able to find last minute off-campus housing, the RA said she now has to commute from her hometown into Chicago for an internship.