Off-campus student housing to change COVID-19 safety protocols in the fall

This illustration shows housing for students within a large COVID-19 virus. It represents how conjoined COVID-19 precautions and housing situations are.

Adam Figgins, News Contributor

The future of COVID-19 safety for off-campus housing is unclear, but future developments will be guided by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and residents voice what they are looking for. 

The major off-campus housing options for students are made up of the Sierra, the Domain, the Union and 7th Street Station. 

As of now there is no announcement at these housing centers for next year’s COVID-19 safety precaution. As specified on each company’s website, CDC guidelines are the guiding factor for what amenities are open and what mask use looks like in their facilities.

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The Domain has “increased the frequency” that common spaces are sanitized and based on their website, masks are strongly recommended in public areas and while moving in. Staff are required to wear face masks. 

A Domain resident and OSU student, Emma Richards said off-campus housing is better than on campus because you have more freedom and more outdoor locations.

“Masks work and I think [mask use] should continue until we [see] more herd immunity and vaccinations,” Richards said.

The Union and 7th Street Station have listed similar approaches to COVID-19 safety on their websites. Mask use is required in public areas and around amenities. Six-foot social distancing is also encouraged along with amenities being sanitized by staff.

Like the other housing options, the Sierra has seen closure of amenities, however recently this has been due to individuals who are not following the Sierra’s COVID-19 guidelines,  said Gus Rich, another OSU student who lives at the Sierra.

“The pool got closed a week after it finally opened because people without masks crowded the pool twofold beyond its current COVID-19 capacity of 15 people. This infuriated responsible residents since we temporarily had our favorite amenity taken away,” Rich said. 

Rich said moving forward with vaccination will help him feel more comfortable next year. 

“The only way we can return to normal is if people actively seek to vaccinate themselves and prevent any further transmission/deaths from COVID-19,” Rich said. “I understand some people are hesitant to be vaccinated because they feel the vaccine was rushed or adulterated by some political agenda. However, the science supports both the safety and efficacy of current COVID-19 vaccines.”