New Safety Precautions Put in Place as Loyola Prepares for Limited Campus Reopening

Zack Miller | The PhoenixLoyola has announced new COVID-19 precautions as it plans to welcome back a limited number of students on-campus in the spring.

As COVID-19 cases in Chicago continue to rise, officials announced Oct. 28 Loyola is set to increase on-campus classes and welcome a limited number of students back to live on campus for the 2021 spring semester. 

The Department of Residence Life also sent an email Oct. 28 to all students eligible for on-campus housing detailing safety precautions the university is taking as campus prepares to open. According to the email, all first-years who held an active housing contract as of Aug. 6 are now eligible for on-campus housing for the spring. 

All students living on-campus next semester will sign a new housing agreement that was sent out on Nov. 6, and review the expectations for living on campus for the spring, according to Deb Schmidt-Rogers, the assistant vice president and director of Residence Life.

“The university has worked really hard to develop a scenario that will allow students a full on-campus experience that is dependent on our ability to test, students being compliant and students honoring the student promise,” Schmidt-Rogers said.

All students who move on campus will have to participate in mandatory COVID-19 testing, according to Schmidt-Rogers. Testing will take place twice a week for all students who live on campus and will start at the time of move-in, continuing throughout the year.

“Our ability to test in a significant way is a big factor in the university allowing students to come back on campus,” Schmidt-Rogers said. “We want to be as safe as possible as we prepare to reopen.”

Every student will have their own room in the residence halls, according to Schmidt-Rogers. Loyola won’t be using residence halls that only use communal bathrooms, such as Mertz Hall. About a third of the students will share a bathroom with one other student, but most will have access to their own bathroom. Masks will be required when walking in the hallways, elevators and in residence halls, Schmidt-Rogers said.

Similar to previous years, Residence Life plans to take into account requests for roommates and put them in suites or neighboring rooms, Schmidt-Rogers said.

Residents also won’t be allowed to have guests in the residence halls for the first month, according to Schmidt-Rogers. 

“That means that no students from other residence halls are allowed in a residence hall they don’t live in,” Schmidt-Rogers said. “That will be revisited based on Chicago COVID-19 cases. If we are able to, we will relax those rules.”

There will be a 14-day move-in quarantine for any students on campus. This means students can’t leave their assigned residence halls unless they’re doing laundry, picking up food from a dining hall or getting COVID-19 tested. It’s not yet clear yet if students will be able to go outside to exercise or walk around campus during this period.

First-year Jeanette Ringer said she’s most looking forward to being able to move into the next stage of her life with living on campus. She said being on campus will allow her to be independent and make new friends, though according to Ringer, she still has her doubts after the email was sent.

“I won’t believe it until I am moved into my dorm,” said Ringer, an 18-year-old studying public relations and advertising. 

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