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EMU answers questions about fall 2020 housing

Fall 2020 housing concerns addressed for EMU.

After dozens took to social media with concerns over Eastern Michigan University’s plans for housing, EMU Housing and Residence Life held a Q&A to discuss campus housing for the upcoming semester.  

Social media strategist for EMU TaQuinda Johnson facilitated a Q&A with Becky Janes, the university’s assistant housing director, to address concerns about housing assignments, the move-in process, safety measures, and other changes to residence life for the fall. You can watch the full Q&A here, or read the highlights below.

Move-in Procedures

Fall move-in will be extended to multiple days to allow for students and guests to abide by social distancing guidelines. Later this summer, residents will be assigned a specific date and time to move into their dorm. Each resident will be limited to two guests during move-in. Screening for COVID-19 will take place, but specific procedures have yet to be determined.

Housing Assignments

In the past, the housing assignment system has allowed students to complete their application, find and select a roommate, and select a room space. However, due to the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic, the dorm assignment process has become largely automated. This has resulted in some students ending up in a dorm with roommates or in dorms that they did not select.

However, according to Janes, over 2,900 students will live on campus in the fall, and less than 100 have had such issues. Housing staff are working with residents to resolve these issue on a case-by-case basis.

Students who no longer wish to live on campus are encouraged to email housing@emich.edu as soon as possible to cancel their contract.

Honors Dorms

This school year, Downing Hall is the only honors-only residence hall, but will not be able to house all honors students. Janes acknowledged that some doubles in Downing were charged as singles. Residents with this billing issue are invited to contact housing.

Updates on the “Single Room Guarantee“

As of the Q&A session, nearly all single rooms are full. Several double have been converted to singles, significantly reducing overall bed space for students who wish to live on campus. There is currently a wait list for singles.

Buell Hall and Phelps Hall were previously slated to remain closed for refurbishment. However, to accommodate the Single Room Guarantee, they will be open to residents in the fall. Additionally, all rooms in Wise Hall have been converted to singles in order limit how many people will be using the communal bathrooms.

Planning a safe and enjoyable housing experience

“Living on campus, we still feel, is very much an essential part of being a college student and that experience, especially here at EMU,” Janes said. “Students will be encouraged to wear masks, they’ll be encouraged to have physical and social distancing guidelines, but we’re not going to isolate students to their rooms, [not allowing] them to still live their lives.”

While the details have yet to be determined, she anticipates guidelines concerning the use of communal lounges and bathrooms, and what guests residents will be permitted to invite into their dorm. Lounges will likely have some furniture removed to allow for social distancing. Guidelines will also be in place for communal items like vacuums, brooms, and board games.

Plans for the REC/IM are still being discussed. Students may opt out of the REC/IM fee by filling out this form.

Janes also addressed concerns about students’ mental health in the midst of the pandemic.

“Not only are our hall staff very much rained in mental health awareness [and] how to help our students - our staff aren’t trained counselors - but we have a full counseling center here on campus that has appointments for students,” Janes said.

Janes’ biggest advice to concerned parents is to have your student email housing themselves. Due to rules in place concerning students’ privacy, parents and guardians who contact housing with individual concerns will likely be asked the have their student reach out instead.

TaQuinda Johnson told viewers to be on the lookout for another Facebook Live video featuring a Q&A with campus dining administrators. Further questions can be directed to housing@emich.edu.