University begins to let students back onto campus for move out, albeit with a few precautionary rules
Managing News Editor
The university announced that campus was closing down just over two months ago.
Even though students had no idea when they would be let onto campus again, they still packed up, perhaps unsure of what to take and what to leave. Some were already home for spring break and had only packed for two weeks or so. Their belongings sat in their rooms as they waited for the pandemic to subside in some way so they could access their possessions.
In early May, in-state students got the opportunity to select an appointment to move out of their dormitories and university apartments. Out-of-state residents selected their appointments a few days afterward.
This semester’s proceedings had quite a few more regulations stacked on than in previous years, where one’s main responsibilities were to empty out the room, return a moving cart and check out. The university took measures to prevent against the hordes of people one may see when traditionally moving out during finals week.
Residence Life and Housing (RLH) sent out an email to all residential students on May 8 in order to update their housing statuses. If a student was wary of the outcome of the pandemic and already moved out in March, they were instructed to check out electronically in the provided Spring 2020 move out form.
In the common event that a student needed to return to campus to collect their possessions, the university provided a date range of May 12 to May 31 for in-state students to visit. May 17 to May 31 was designated the date range for out-of-state students. The initial email to in-state residents specified slot offerings between May 12 and May 17, presumably to offer a chance to stagger move outs.
Before returning to campus, students and up to two guests were instructed to complete a pre-arrival health assessment that featured three screening questions.
One could only qualify to return if their temperature was under 99.4F, they did not experience any symptoms of respiratory infection (muscle aches, shortness of breath, cough or fever) and had not been in close contact (within six feet “for more than a few minutes”) with a person with a “confirmed COVID-19 infection.”
RLH noted that they “designed [the] Move Out process to be contactless,” with no face-to-face contact at any point with any staffers. Any assistance needed would be available only by phone.
They took the precaution to “maximize social distancing” by disallowing students to be on the same floor at the same time and encouraged those choosing their appointment times to “avoid selecting back-to-back appointment times to allow for custodial staff to disinfect public spaces, door handles, etc.” Additionally, there were no move out carts offered, but dumpsters were made available.
Students gain access to their buildings and rooms when their UD ONECard is activated to do so, solely within their two-hour timeslot. Students were also instructed that there would not be a way to extend access beyond their scheduled time. This raises the question of what would happen if a student ran out of time when appointment windows are being strictly enforced — specifically by the University of Delaware Police Department.
Another option, to designate a proxy, was offered to students that could not return to campus within the offered time frame, regardless of residence. This choice included designating another person (another student, family member, university staff member or friend) to complete their move out on behalf of them. Professional moving companies were only allowed if accompanied by a student or proxy.
RLH specified they were working in accordance with Delaware’s emergency declarations and said that all guests must wear a mask or other face covering over the nose and mouth at all times.
After the two hours of moving out, the student must then return their key and complete the electronic checkout form. Once the form is submitted, the process is considered complete.
The university and RLH have implemented these measures to ensure that spring move out goes smoothly and will not harm anyone in the process. It falls on students and guests to adhere to the enforced rules in order to be as safe as possible during this time.