Loyola sophomores entering the 2021-2022 school year will now see a change in housing options after the Department of Residence Life announced the lift of the residency requirement, according to its website.
Before this change, first and second-year students at Loyola were required to live in on-campus housing and purchase a meal plan. Students had to spend four semesters in dorms, not including summer terms, according to the Residence Life website.
But now, as COVID-19 rolls into its second year in the U.S., Residence Life is removing the requirement to live on campus exclusively for upcoming sophomores.
Director of Residence Life Deb Schmidt-Rogers said the decision correlated with the uncertainty about the fall semester, including the progression of vaccines and evolving public health recommendations.
Residence Life is continuing to uphold the requirement for incoming first-years, who will live in both community/suite style housing or apartment style, according to Schmidt-Rogers. The university will allow roommates beginning in the fall and all roommate requests must be mutual, she said.
Makenna Warnkes, a 19- year-old first-year majoring in visual communications and business management, said she thinks the university is taking the right step with this decision. Warnkes, who has been living on-campus during the spring semester, said she believes having only first-years live on campus will allow things to run smoothly.
“Living in the dorms this year was very strange and definitely not the normal dorm experience, so I feel like it will be a better experience to live in an apartment for next semester.”First-year Makenna Warnkes
Another first-year, Olivia Mitchell, has been living in an apartment for her first year at Loyola and said she thinks this decision is very realistic and makes complete sense following this year’s housing.
“Most of us signed leases that last a year and it makes sense that we would just renew them,” Mitchell said. “Dorms serve as a kind of transition between just moving out and living on your own, and those of us who live off campus don’t really need that transition anymore.”
The change in policy will be a one-time thing for 2021-2022, according to Schmidt-Rogers. The Department of Residence Life hopes that by the fall of 2022, the residency requirement for first and second-year students will be back in place.
Loyola opened up housing to a limited number of freshmen for the spring semester. Students on campus are currently living in single dorms and must follow all COVID-19 guidelines. Loyola has had a successful spring so far and that the positivity rate remains low, according to Schmidt-Rogers. Residence life has now been able to open kitchens and lounges for student use.
Schmidt-Rogers said current first-years still have the option of living on campus next year. Students who are interested will be required to fill out the housing application for 2021-2022, which should open some time in March. Current first-years who want to take advantage of the lifted requirement and move off-campus next year should simply not fill out the application.