Isolation dorms are just one example of new policies and practices that University of Arizona residential housing put into place during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure the safety of students and faculty.
David Ward, associate director of facilities operations, told the Daily Wildcat that many aspects of dorm life have changed in response to COVID-19. In order to guarantee the safety of students in these facilities, dorms require mask wearing in common areas, such as recreation rooms, study rooms and dining areas. Students who do not comply with these regulations are typically written up by the hall staff in their dorms.
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A write-up results in documentation of the violation and an informal letter of warning sent to a student’s UA email address. In some cases, depending on the severity of the violation, students may be asked to appear at a conduct hearing, according to the UA Housing and Residential Life’s Policies and Procedures for Hall Living.
However, students will not be immediately punished simply for not having a face covering. Ward said he reminds students that there will always be places where they can get a mask if they happen to forget one.
“If someone doesn’t have a mask, it’s okay for them to ask,” Ward said. “We have masks at the front desk and so please put a mask on; if you don't have one, we can help you get one.”
In isolation dorms, where students who test positive for COVID-19 live until they are cleared by a Campus Health professional, there are also many protocols made to guarantee the safety of students living within those facilities. The only isolation dorm on campus is currently Coconino Residence Hall.
Students in isolation have to follow most of the same rules that dictate life in normal dorms, but some regulations differ from the policies in typical residential facilities.
Bianca Corona, a freshman majoring in pre-business, experienced living in an isolation dorm, and observed the various policies in place that were meant to ensure student and faculty safety while in quarantine.
“The rules were very strict, but the [Resident Assistant] was very nice about them. We had a curfew at 10 p.m. every night, you had to wear a mask whenever you would leave your room and we couldn’t be outside for more than 30 minutes,” Corona said.
According to Luke Symington, isolation coordinator, students who break the rules established in the isolation dorms typically go through the system of write-ups standard for students living in any other dorm.
However, if the violations are serious enough or happen too frequently, the student responsible could potentially face fines or removal from the dorms.
“For the people who didn’t follow the rules and got caught, it was just a write-up, and if you had a certain amount of write-ups, they would refer you to the Dean,” Corona said.
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