Life in the residence halls will look quite a bit different in the upcoming fall semester than it has in the past. With precautions being taken to limit the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on campus, students will have to adhere to a number of new procedures and protocols.
While Buffalo State College has worked through the summer to make sure the campus and residence halls are safe to open for the fall semester, students will have to do their part as well.
Buffalo State will house just over 1,600 students this semester. The college has reduced its resident student population by one-third, and the campus will make use of all its residence halls to spread students out as much as possible. The following additional precautions will be taken throughout the semester.
Resident students attending Buffalo State College who come from a state on the Health Department’s restricted travel list will arrive on campus on Sunday, August 16. These students must undergo a mandatory 14-day precautionary quarantine period upon arrival. North Wing will serve as the quarantine hall for students from states on the restricted list. (North Wing will also serve as the designated residence hall for any students who become symptomatic during the semester.) Rooms will be single occupancy, and all meals will be delivered. After the 14-day quarantine period, these students will move into their permanent fall semester residence halls.
All other resident students will move into the residence halls based on their assigned times beginning Wednesday, August 19. Move-in will continue through Saturday, August 22. These students also must self-quarantine in the residence halls on campus for seven days as a precautionary measure. Meals will be delivered to the residence halls during this week.
Unlike in years past, the college will not provide carts for moving items, and students will be limited to one friend or family member to help them. Face coverings must be worn at all times by all individuals during the move.
Student responsibilities in the residence halls include basics like wearing a mask and practicing good hygiene. Signage will be present throughout the residence halls to remind students to wear their masks and maintain a physical distance.
“It is important that they wear a face covering whenever they leave their room, including when they go to the restroom,” Badaszewski said. “They should continue to wear their masks and keep 6 feet of distance whenever they’re interacting with students [other than their roommate], faculty, and staff on campus.”
Students should also avoid gathering in large groups, Badaszewski said. Common spaces such as kitchen areas, laundry rooms, and computer labs will also have reduced density. Signs notifying students of the capacity of a space will be posted. Non-resident students and non-students will not be allowed in the residence halls for the fall semester.
“We know that college is about creating community and bonds with people, and that all of these directives run counter to that, but we have a shared responsibility to keep each other safe and healthy, and doing these simple things will do that,” he said.
All students must self-monitor daily for symptoms of COVID-19 throughout the semester. A mobile application through the Weigel Wellness Center will allow students to self-report any symptoms.
“The Weigel staff will then follow up with any students as necessary and refer them for a COVID-19 test if needed,” Badaszewski said. “Students with positive tests or those that Weigel deems necessary will be moved to our quarantine hall [North Wing] for 14 days. Weigel staff will be in contact with those students each day to continue to monitor symptoms and handle any additional medical needs.”
All students will be required to vacate the residence halls before Thanksgiving this semester and continuing their classes online. The deadline to move out is Wednesday, November 25, at noon. All Buffalo State students will finish the final three weeks of the fall semester, including final exams, exclusively online.
Student Leadership and Engagement will provide virtual programming to resident students until the start of classes. Students are encouraged to monitor their Buffalo State e-mail accounts for updates. Campus updates and FAQs related to the coronavirus pandemic are also available online.
Lessons learned in the spring helped with the messaging and preparedness for the fall, Badaszewski said. And while it’s been a busy summer, he’s excited for students to move back onto campus.
“Our goal is always to keep our students safe, and that’s even more important now,” he said. “I hope our students are excited to move in and that they know Residence Life is here to support them academically and socially during this untraditional fall semester.”
Photo by Bruce Fox, Campus Photographer