The New Norm to Dorm Living

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North Hall is taking severe precautions to keep COVID-19 under control and have residents living in safe conditions. Students are required to get tested twice a week at the Campus Center in room 450. Results come back within 24-48 hours. 

Michaela Driver, a Residential Assistant at North Hall, says she has a lot of new protocols to follow. 

“In regards to the COVID-19 guidelines placed here at North Hall, I do feel safe and have confidence that what we are doing to keep our community safe is working. Everyone is expected to wear a mask in all public areas of the building, and no outside guests are allowed in the building as well. We have limited the amount of people that can share a room, or be in a public dorm space with one another, and us R.A.’s also sanitize all high touch surfaces of the dorm every night while we take our duty walks.” 

Hosting events while following COVID-19 guidelines were and are still a challenge that Michaela is going through.

“The pandemic has changed my planning and implementation of events in many ways. For example, if I plan to have an event I have to limit the amount of participants present depending on the area I plan to have the event," she said.  "I would host events that would have 100 plus people in attendance, now I don’t even have an area in the dorm that can host 100 people while adhering to the dorm’s COVID-19 guidelines. It has also restricted the types of refreshments I can serve at my events. All refreshments must be individually wrapped and pre-packaged. This means that I can no longer host events with buffet style refreshments.” 

This affected Michaela’s mental health because she loves her residents and this doesn’t allow her to connect with her residents as she would like to. 

“One mental strain that I will share while dealing with COVID-19 as a R.A. is constantly feeling like I am not doing a good enough job. It is a lot harder to connect with my residents and to host successful events because of the pandemic, which has limited our day-to-day human interaction in many ways.” 

Enforcing rules have become harder for Michaela.

At times, it is hard enforcing these new COVID-19 rules," she said. "We often have to remind folks what they are and even sometimes we have to discipline those who refuse to follow the rules. People often get to go home and live mask-free lives, when living in a dorm with hundreds of other people you don’t have that luxury. You have to be mindful and wear a mask at all times.”

         Lauryn Smith is a IUPUI student living on campus now for her third year and she has learned to accept the rules that were put in place. 

“The pandemic changed my perspective on North Hall a lot," Smith said. "It’s not the same atmosphere it once was when I was a freshman although I like how cautious and safe, they are about trying to stay germ free. I miss the mask-less days like we all do.” I do feel safe with the protocols that are in place and I hope the university keeps some protocols in later semesters.” 

Lauryn said she tested positive for COVID-19. She shared what the next steps that she had to follow and what her thoughts were on the experience. 

“Being relocated to Townhomes or Riverwalk Apartments when testing positive for COVID-19 was actually a smart move in my opinion. Everyone is not from Indianapolis or surrounding towns or cities so if you aren’t able to quarantine at home you can quarantine at home you can quarantine on campus. 

 Finally, Lauryn talked about the decision that North Hall made to get tested twice in one week. “Personally, I really hate that we have to take two COVID-19 tests a week, but I understand that it’s for safety reasons. I want this pandemic to be over like everyone else and the only way we can get rid of this illness is by following protocols from the Control Disease Center (CDC).”

         Danilo Almeida is another Residential Assistant in North Hall. He describes from his point of view how has covid affected campus living. “COVID-19 changed events mainly because of capacity size. Rooms where we could have 30 plus people in now, we can barely have more than 15. It’s for safety of course, but it’s strange having to plan events in spaces that limit attendance.”

Almeida can sense people's mental health have been affected during this pandemic.

“Mental health has hit an all-time low around campus, and so I suspect from North Hall too," Almeida said. "I try to be supportive of my residents but it’s never good to assume what they are going through. Additionally, sometimes people just need time to themselves to figure things out while knowing there’s a person and resource they can count on if they need it.”

Almeida is always making sure his residents are always in good health and being there for them when they need it. 

 “Enforcing the rules is not hard, it’s people being willing to obey them," Almeida said. "Sometimes it feels like some people are more concerned with how they can get away with not following the rules instead of what they can to be a better role model. However, as I mentioned, IUPUI is handling COVID-19 very well, and so I suspect there are not many residents who are disobeying rules across campus.”  

           

 


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