Residence Life considering whether to keep residences open after May 1

Approximately 200 students were unable to move out by March 22 deadline, still living in residence amidst COVID-19 pandemic

Approximately 50 per cent of individuals still living in residence have a home address outside of Canada. 
Journal File Photo

While students were expected to move out of University residences by March 22, some were unable to leave Kingston and are still living there amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

At this time, there are approximately 200 students remaining in residence according to Kate Murray, director of Queen's Residence Life. About 50 per cent of those individuals have a home address outside of Canada.

Last week, residence staff reached out to students to identify their interest in remaining in residence after the end of the semester.

“Housing and Ancillary Services are working on a plan to accommodate students after May 1,” Murray wrote in a statement to The Journal.

Those who were unable to leave residence by March 22 needed to confirm with Housing and Ancillary services that they were staying. 

“[The main concern for Residence Life] is ensuring a safe and secure environment for the students remaining in residence, which includes ensuring physical distancing practices are in use,” Murray wrote. “The University is working closely with Public Health officials and takes their expert guidance to ensure a safe environment for students, staff, and faculty.”

To accommodate those who have stayed beyond the expected move-out date, all students in residence have been consolidated into three residence buildings on campus. 

According to Murray, a number of steps have been taken to make these living environments safe. All students have been moved to buildings where they have access to a private washroom, and they have been provided with a cleaning kit for use in their own bedroom and washroom. Shared spaces, like kitchens and hallways, are still being cleaned by custodial staff.

The residence front desk remains open 24/7, with staff employing physical distancing practices in all interactions.

As well, Ban Righ dining hall will remain open from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. every day until the end of April. While regular meal plans for students living in residence were refunded for those who moved out, Hospitality Services made an optional meal plan available for students who still require dining services.

Hospitality Services has also changed its operations to offer meals to go and has implemented clear signage regarding physical distancing measures in the dining hall. 

“[They have] encouraged students to come for meals outside of identified peak times,” Murray wrote.

Residence Dons still living in residence are virtually connecting with the remaining students to check in, provide support, and facilitate online engagement opportunities, Murray added. Students also continue to have access to regular embedded counselling services and the dietician. 

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