Stephen F. Austin State University has made changes to campus housing guidelines amid COVID-19, including the lifting of a requirement for freshmen to live in on-campus residence halls.
As reported by local new affiliate CBS 19, SFA plans to offer face-to-face classes and full housing and dining options. But campus housing will now lift a requirement that previously saw incoming freshman or underclassmen with less than 60 credit hours required to live in campus residence halls.
“We currently have approximately 3,500 students assigned,” says Carrie Charley, Director of Auxiliary Services at SFA. “We recognize that in this time students may be more comfortable not living in a residence hall environment, so we want to be as considerate and as flexible as possible.”
The freshmen housing requirement joins other changes designed to prevent the spread of the virus within residence halls. The university will still have 11 residence halls available for students to live in.
Each residence hall will have its own full-time custodial staff that will work both days and evenings to clean common restrooms and other high traffic common areas.
SFA is also reducing the amount of seating in every dorm’s common spaces and limited use of other public areas like kitchens. Student residents will also be provided with hand sanitizer.
“Residence halls are special-purpose buildings and are not open to the general public,” says Charley. “Visitation privileges have been amended to allow no more than two extra people in a room or suite at any given time.”
The university will also offer single bedrooms, and is currently working on a wait list to manage the assignment of single rooms. A plan has also been formed for students who become sick, with an immediate protocol for isolation, testing and contract tracing.
"If the student is required to self-isolate due to possible COVID-19 exposure or a positive test, he or she may be required to temporarily move to a different location during self-isolation until the CDC guidelines for returning to his or her room are met," says Charley. "We have two of our smaller buildings kept off-line and are reserved as isolation quarters for this year.”