As the University undertakes move-in week from Sept. 1-5, Queen’s residences are once again housing students.
This year, according to Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs Ann Tierney, just 1800 first-year students will be living in residence. There will also be approximately 100 residence dons interspersed in the buildings.
The University has arranged for between 400 to 450 students to move into residence each day of move-in week to stagger the number of people accessing the space at any given time.
“It’s a very different move-in at Queen’s this year,” Tierney said at a press conference at Richardson Stadium Sept. 1.
Students have also been assigned to specific three-hour blocks of time on their move-in day, ensuring only about 150 individuals are moving in during each period.
“That’s part of our practice—to keep everyone distant, avoid the large crowds that are normally accompanied with move-in day,” Tierney said.
In previous years, students would move into residence in a single day. Each student would line up in their car directly outside of their residence building and pick up their room keys from a desk located in the entranceway of the building.
Students who are moving into residence this week have been asked to pick up their keys at Richardson Stadium, where the University is operating a contactless key pick-up system.
Students are required to stay in their cars and wear masks when they receive their keys from a Queen’s staff member through the window. They’re only permitted to bring two individuals with them to help with move-in.
“Part of what we’re doing here is releasing people from this central place when there is a parking spot right in front of their building,” Tierney said, explaining how students are further staggered when moving into residence.
The plan was developed by Residence Life, in consultation with Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington (KFL&A) Public Health and the City of Kingston.
Once in residence, students will be expected to follow a stricter set of health and safety guidelines focused on preventing the spread of COVID-19. For example, no guests will be permitted into any residence building this year.
“Dons are an important part of the enforcement process, but it’s an education model that we use and we’ve done a lot to try to communicate expectations ahead of time,” Leah Wales, executive director of housing and ancillary services, told The Journal at the press conference. “The dons are there to help guide students through, give those gentle reminders, and make sure the rules are being followed.”
In the case that a student demonstrates unsafe behaviour, Wales said they’ll be “talked to by staff about their behaviour and what’s expected and given the opportunity to make those corrections.”
According to the Residence Contract 2020-21, students who continue to violate the rules can be asked to move out from residence and would still be required to pay for the entire year of accommodations.
“We’re talking to our students about being responsible,” Tierney said. “We’ve got to make sure that all of us follow the guidance from public health around physical distancing, handwashing, masking.”
Tierney said it’s the University’s “hope” that students will be mindful of those kinds of practices.
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