Many students have a certain notion of how their move-in day will go. (Think: parents begrudgingly moving suitcases up flights of stairs, tearful goodbyes, the excitement of meeting your roommate for the first time, etcetera.)
However, with the threat of another outbreak like a live wire under everyone’s feet, MUN officials have taken certain precautions in order to not trip and fall.
Grenfell, a MUN campus located in Corner Brook, states on their website: “Life in residence is a very rewarding experience for students,” quickly followed by, “However, the very things that make residence so engaging and fun (e.g. gathering in groups for social, academic, and leisure activities) also create opportunities for the spread of COVID-19.”
Accordingly, the need to take precautions to avoid further Covid-19 outbreaks has stripped this significant milestone down to its bare essentials.
For one, any farewells that are to happen between students and their families will most likely take place in a parking lot, as “support people may travel with the student to assist with unloading vehicles and saying their goodbyes however only one person will be permitted into our buildings with the student.”
Further, the same notion applies to any friends that may visit, as inviting outside guests into residence/chalets are “strongly discouraged” and absolutely no visitors will be permitted in any shared spaces, i.e. kitchens, lounges, laundry rooms, etc.
It is important to note that living in dorms is not only a significant right of passage for many students but also offers a myriad of social networking opportunities that cannot easily be replicated.
Therefore, without the promise of the social interactions that are supposed to last a lifetime, many students are strongly reconsidering whether staying in residence is the right path for them.
In fact, even the website mentions they “recognize that the current living environment we offer may not be for everyone,” and that students “can cancel [their] room space without penalty and [they] will receive a prorated refund from the date your housing keys are returned.”
Correspondingly, many students have decided to delay their admission into MUN for another year in hopes the pandemic would completely blow over by this time.
This is for good reason. “As we have seen this past year,” MUN officials recede, “things can change quickly. As we will strive to provide you with the best possible residence life experience, it still may look different than past years.”
Laura Drover, a soon-to-be Grenfell student majoring in Fine Arts, seconds this opinion. “I’m just worried about it all shutting down again because my program isn’t one where you can just switch online when cases rise.” She then adds, in terms of art programs specifically, “There’s a big chunk of class time that is designed to be in the studio hands-on.”
In fact, the main reason why Drover chose this campus in particular is that “it’ll make the trek to class in the winter a lot more bearable.” However, the guidelines that will be “strictly enforced” starting this September make next semester appear bleaker than any of the upcoming winter months.
Grenfell’s website states: “Our goal will be to enhance your on-campus experience so that you feel engaged and connected,” and yet, they did not elaborate on how they will manage to accomplish this feat from six feet apart.
For more information regarding Student Housing and new safety policies, please refer to MUN’s official website.