UMD dorms, on-campus apartments release more information about fall housing

Oakland Hall is located on North Campus. (File Photo)

University of Maryland students set to live in on-campus dorms or apartments for the fall semester received further insight into what their living situations will look like in a Wednesday morning round of emails.

The emails, sent by the Department of Resident Life and the management teams for South Campus Commons and Courtyards, provided additional information about the availability of on-campus housing, as well as new procedures that will be implemented in the fall to prevent the spread of the coronavirus — adding onto the details provided by university President Wallace Loh earlier this week.

Late Monday night, Loh announced guidelines for students’ return to campus in the fall, explaining that the university will be able to house more than 75 percent of the students who applied for on-campus housing and that dining halls would implement new social distancing procedures. Wednesday’s updates added that The Courtyards and South Campus Commons will be open near normal occupancy.

[Coronavirus updates: The Diamondback’s ongoing coverage]

Students living in campus housing will participate in an online coronavirus training and awareness program that will likely culminate with students pledging to follow guidelines that will keep themselves and peers healthy, according to the emails. The emails also clarified that the expectations of students while on campus extends to dorms — students are expected to wear face coverings within dorms whenever they are outside their rooms and to comply with university policies for physical distancing, hand-washing and self-monitoring.

The update also reiterated Loh’s announcement that all dorm triples and quads will be converted into doubles and that lounges will be closed or converted to student housing to promote physical distancing. The lounges in The Courtyards and South Campus Commons will likely also be closed, the email to residents in those complexes read.

The cleaning of high-touch facilities, such as elevator buttons, door handles and water fountains, will also be increased in all on-campus housing, the emails read. Cleaning procedures for community bathrooms in dorms will also be increased, according to the Resident Life email.

The housing update also included further information for dining halls; while the Dining Services will release a finalized plan in the coming weeks, Wednesday’s email from Resident Life informed students that all dining hall staff members will wear face coverings, physical distancing will be enacted and carry-out options will be included in meal plans.

Both emails encouraged high-risk students to consider their personal circumstances and consult with their medical providers when deciding if living in campus housing will be safe for them.

All on-campus housing offers options for students who wish to cancel their housing or transfer their lease, the emails read.

[UMD announces updated guidelines for fall semester]

To cancel on-campus housing without penalty, students must email the Department of Resident Life by July 17 with their name, university identification number and their reason for canceling. Canceling on-campus housing will not impact students’ status for on-campus housing next year, the Resident Life email read.

Students who wish to transfer their lease with Courtyards or South Campus Commons should begin the re-leasing process as soon as possible, according to the email.

“We are all navigating together the challenges posed by the current pandemic,” the South Campus Commons and Courtyards email read. “We will need everyone to work together to protect oneself and your fellow community members.”

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