by Nevaeh Rush Vice President
Residents on campus have had to make adjustments this school year because of guidelines and policies set by UMF in regards to COVID-19.
There are many new policies that have been set in place for on-campus students that have changed their everyday lives.
The biggest change has been the mask wearing policy—masks must be on correctly unless you’re in the bathroom, off campus or in your own dorm—but it seems most people have been compliant. “It is something that is very new and you have to get used to,” said Duncan Farley, a Community Assistant (CA) living on campus. “You still see people occasionally forget to wear their mask when leaving their room, I myself have done it.”
Residents must also follow a new guest policy to ensure safety during the pandemic. “Normally you can have guests over during the day, basically whenever,” said Farley. “At the start of the semester they did not allow anyone [in the residence halls] for two weeks.”
Since the two-week period ended on Sept. 13., only UMF students who are a part of the UMF community have been able to visit each other—no outside guests. “The students must be enrolled in the fall semester and live in Farmington to be referred to as the UMF community,” says Farley.
Students living in the dorms this semester tend to feel isolated in their rooms, but meal times tend to lessen that. “We sit outside for lunch and dinner because there is not enough space in the North Dining Hall, but it is getting cold so I have been eating more in my room,” says Emily Thompson, a sophomore living on campus this semester.
Even though meal times are a good way to socialize, students can’t help but notice the difference of the indoor dining spaces on campus compared to before campus closed in March. “Going into these spaces like the Dining Hall and the Beaver Lodge is kind of depressing,” says Thompson, “we used to sit in there and eat and socialize and now they are so empty.”
Although the amount of changes everyone is enduring, CAs are still trying to make residential life as normal for students as possible and give that socialization through physically distanced programs. “Programs and events are either ‘grab-and-go’, where you can grab them and go to your room and do them independently, over Zoom, or outside where you can properly social distance,” says Farley.
Although we cannot change the policies, as they are keeping students safe, it is not always easy. “The best word to describe it has been strange,” said Farley. “The whole environment is all very new, which is to be expected.”