SALT LAKE CITY — Dorm life on a college campus once meant crowded spaces with students crammed in and sharing a community bathroom. It meant working out packed next to each other inside a sweaty gym and cooking, dining together in a kitchen. Not anymore.
So what will dorm life be like during a global pandemic?
Dr. Lori McDonald, vice president of Student Affairs at the University of Utah, joined Dave Noriega and Debbie Dujanovic to discuss what the return to the U. in the fall involves for dorm dwellers.
“Walk us through what dorm life is going to look like in COVID-19, if you don’t mind?” Debbie asked.
McDonald said the U of U is looking forward to welcoming students to the residential halls in the fall, but the university is taking precautions for social distancing and “a lot of education about public health.”
No more triple rooms on campus
“Is there still going to be multiple people in rooms?” Dave asked.
McDonald said the architecture of residential halls on campus has changed for the better. She added the more modern design features suites with a shared bathroom as opposed to a long hallway of rooms with a large bathroom that everyone uses.
“In the past, we did have a few triple rooms and a few quad rooms where four people could live. In an effort to de-densify the population living on campus, we are only offering singles and doubles this year,” McDonald said, adding two roommates would share a private bathroom in the suite.
Cleaning protocols for the new dorm life
“Will there be some kind of sanitation requirements in the dorms, and how do you make sure the students follow it if there are requirements?” Debbie asked.
“There have always been a lot of cleaning protocols in terms of high-touch areas, and we’re increasing those. Also [we’re] doing a lot of education for our students about what that looks like, and how to work with roommates,” McDonald said. “We will be working very closely with students on cleaning protocols and what’s most appropriate for living with other people.”
McDonald said that will include wearing face coverings when outside the room, social distancing and checking in with students on a daily basis about how they are doing in their classes and how they are adjusting to college life.
“We really want to support their holistic being,” McDonald said.
“It will be a learning experience,” added Dave.