Erin McHugh is worried about a spike in on-campus COVID-19 cases occurring when she and other students move from 1940 to Morgan Hall North.
“I’m not super happy, just because everyone’s consolidating so that could mean there could be a spike in cases again with everyone in the same general area,” said McHugh, a freshman technical production and management major.
Just under 400 students living in White Hall, 1940 Residence Hall and Temple Towers will be relocated to residence halls on the south side of Temple University’s Main Campus, said Olan Garrett, the university’s director of residential life.
More than 2,000 students canceled university housing between Sept. 3, the date Temple moved all fall classes online after reporting more than 200 cases of COVID-19 among students, and Sept. 13, the date those living in university housing had to move out by if they wanted to be fully refunded housing costs, The Temple News reported. Approximately 1,250 students remain in university housing.
Students were notified on Sept. 23 of the residence hall consolidation in a University Housing and Residence Life announcement.
As of Monday, there are 53 cases of COVID-19 among students and employees on campus.
Housing Operations, University Housing and Residential Life and Student Affairs held a virtual town hall Friday to answer questions from parents of students and students who are being relocated. Many parents had concerns about the relocation happening at the beginning of midterm exams, Garrett said.
Garrett is working with the Dean of Students, Stephanie Ives, to notify faculty teaching students who may be impacted by the relocation, he said.
Students have the option of relocating to 1300 Residence Hall, Morgan Hall North, Morgan Hall South or Beech International Village. Those moving were asked to complete a request form if they wanted to live in a specific residence hall by 5 p.m. Monday, according to the announcement.
University Housing will begin the moving process with students by Friday and will complete all relocating by Sunday. The university will offer move-in support for students during the consolidation process, according to the announcement.
Students are being relocated to have better residential communities with more people in one section of a building and for University and Residential Life to more efficiently provide services, according to the announcement.
Relocating students into fewer buildings will also help the university keep track of students and ensure their security, Garrett said.
Residents in 1940 Residence Hall and White Hall will be relocated to 1300 Residence Hall or Morgan Hall if they do not request a specific room change. Residents in Temple Towers will be relocated to Morgan Hall North or Beech International Village if they do not request a specific room change, according to the announcement.
Students will be assigned to single bedrooms within a quad or apartment style suite unless they requested to be with their existing roommates or to be assigned to new roommates on the request form, Garrett said.
Starting Oct. 3, all dining will operate out of Morgan Hall Dining Center, according to the announcement. Esposito Dining Center in Johnson and Hardwick Halls will be closed for the remainder of the semester.
Johnson and Hardwick Halls will continue operating as isolation housing for students who are quarantining after testing positive for COVID-19, Garrett said.
Students who will be relocated will not have their housing costs changed, according to the release. Housing fees for the fall semester cost 15 percent less this year due to Temple ending all in-person operations Nov. 20, The Temple News reported.
Nearly 130 resident assistants, graduate staff and professional staff will also relocate, Garrett said.
University Housing and Residence Life is planning how to restaff buildings with current staff, he added.
Vacant residence halls will be locked instead of being staffed with security guards, Garrett said.
“We are attempting to figure out our responsibilities and reshuffle our responsibilities to be equitable to everyone,” Garrett added.
McHugh decided against moving home because she feels more productive on campus. She and her 1940 roommates applied to live with each other in Morgan Hall North, so she’s hopeful they’ll be able to remain together.
McHugh is concerned about her plans for the spring semester, as she is unsure whether she will be able to afford to continue to live on campus.
“We don’t know if the rates we paid for 1940 are going to stay the same for when we move and during the spring semester,” she said. “I’ll guess we’ll see what happens at the end of the fall.”
University Housing and Residential Life has not made a decision about residence life in the spring, as Temple has not made an official decision about the format of the semester, Garrett said.
“We operate in the same vein as everybody else in the institution, working together trying to figure out what the best solution is for spring,” Garrett added.
Meghan Kelly chose to stay living on campus to keep her room at 1940 Residence Hall. When she found out she would have to move, she was upset.
“I just feel like it’s been one blow after another since I’ve been here,” said Kelly, a freshman early childhood education major. “More has happened in my first month here than I think in my entire life.”
James Chung, a freshman finance major who lives at White Hall is looking forward to moving because he feels it will give him the opportunity to meet more people.
“There’s not a lot of people in my dorm right now so I’m hoping everyone is more closer together,” Chung said. “I wanted to dorm and this is great, but meeting more people would be good, too, so I do enjoy this.”
Chung feels more comfortable staying on campus now that he’ll be moving into Morgan Hall North.
Chung doesn’t have plans to leave campus this year, regardless of the university’s plans for the spring semester.
“It might affect my decision, but probably not,” he said. “If there’s still dorming, then I’ll dorm.”