University working on details for student housing and dining

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Sage Smith

Amid the COVID-19 panic, Iowa State’s Department of Residence and ISU Dining is working on the details of reimbursement, moving students out of residence halls, dining safety and more, while practicing social distancing.

Students currently living in residence halls need to fill out a form by April 1 to notify the university if they plan to move out or need an exception to stay. University apartments will remain open and continue with regular cleaning.

For those needing to stay, when they fill out the form they will find a list of exceptions of which they will select the exceptions applicable to them and their situation. The Department of Residence housing website has a list of criteria that would allow students to stay in their residence hall for the remainder of the semester.

Some exceptions include, but are not limited to, permanent residence being outside the United States and unable to travel to home country, home community under quarantine and not having alternative housing options.

“We’re definitely here for students who can’t go home or don’t have the ability to leave Ames for the semester, whatever that reason might be,” said Brittney Rutherford, communications manager for the Department of Residence. “So we want to be able to serve those students.”

During the move-out process, there won’t be people available to help meaning students should plan accordingly.

“The biggest advice would be really to remember that they have seven weeks to do this,” Rutherford said. “We realize and recognize that other universities are choosing to do time slots and things like that. We wanted to give students as much time as possible.”

Students’ doors to their rooms in residence halls will stay locked and they can move out at a time that works for them. The university will allow people to move out starting 5 p.m. March 19 but students have until May 9 to move out.

“If you choose to move out, we would essentially have people follow CDC guidelines with social distancing, frequent hand-washing, one family per elevator, no large-group gatherings, things like that,” Rutherford said.

Rutherford said they are working with university leaders to figure out what the reimbursement plan will look like.

“We need to take some time on that and keep processes and everything moving,” Rutherford said. “And we will share information as soon as that’s available and that goes for housing and dining.”

There is only limited carryout food service for students remaining in residence halls, university apartments and campus employees, as ISU Dining is following the no dine-in public health directive. In the dining halls, students are swiping their own cards, silverware is wrapped and food is provided in to-go containers.

“Any of our food facilities are going to follow all state laws, anything that would come down from the government,” Rutherford said. “So that’s when that change was made was when the state made changes.”

The changes in schedule of times and locations of ISU Dining can be found online.

People are encouraged to call or email the Department of Residence with questions. They can be called at 515-294-2900 or emailed at [email protected].

“We are thinking of our students,” Rutherford said. “We’re wanting what’s best for them in their online coursework, we’re encouraging them to support each other virtually and for those that need to stay with us, we will be here to support them in virtual ways with services.”