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Caronavirus impacting UAA housing plans for fall 2020

Published: Jul. 15, 2020 at 8:46 AM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) -

Moving into the dorms freshman year of college is, for a great many people who seek higher education, a right of passage. This year that experience will look a lot different at UAA.

As the fall semester approaches with Covid-19 concerns still right at the front of everyone’s mind the Anchorage based institution is still in what it calls “phase b.” That is its medium risk operational set up at UAA. Classes will mainly be online, staff and students will, for the most part, work remotely and the dorms will house significantly fewer students. They will not, however, be empty.

In a normal year, UAA has the capacity to handle about 1000 students in its on-campus housing. This year the University received only about 300 applications and due to it’s new Covid-19 related protocols they are only going to be admitting 260 of those students. Just who gets those rooms is based on a number of exceptions, needs, or special circumstances as David Weaver, director of housing dining and conference services explains.

“We’re primarily giving exceptions for fall to those students who would otherwise be homeless, students with in person classes such as science lab, theater, set building labs, students from rural places where the internet is not adequate to support a virtual experience in learning and then students with a connection to the University in an in-person sense other than the classroom such as student athletes.” Says Mr. Weaver.

Fewer students in the dorms makes it easier for those that meet one of those exceptions to spread out. While in a typical year a college campus is a crowded and bustling place, this upcoming fall semester will look and feel different.

“We’re taking a number of precautions to prevent the spread of Covid across our campus and the biggest one is we’re only assigning one student for each of our apartment’s, town homes, and residents hall suits. Students will not have roommates, they will have their own suits, their own apartments, so for example we have 80 apartments and 20 town homes that typically that can can house up to four students each so that’s reduced down to one student.” Says Mr. Weaver.

UAA does have some experience in dealing with a smaller number of students in a riskier than usual health environment. This past spring about 100 individuals did remain on campus after everything shutdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Copyright 2020 KTUU. All rights reserved.

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