MSUM’s Residential Halls Remain Open Despite COVID-19

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BY GRANT EVANS grant.evans@go.mnstate.edu

MSUM’s seven dormitories remain open this semester despite COVID-19. Residential halls are plagued by proximity, but Housing and Residential Life put protocols in place to mitigate the spread.

“If a student tests positive or has been exposed to someone who has tested positive, they are asked to submit a Student COVID-19 Report.” Heather Phillips, director of housing and residential life said. “A representative from the Dean of Students office follows up with the student to determine next steps and see what support the student needs.”

Heather Phillips, director of housing and residential life. Photos by John Hayes john.hayes@go.mnstate.edu.

If a student has been exposed or tests positive for COVID-19 there are isolation rooms in Nelson Hall. Students also have the option of returning home. In the event of on-campus isolation the student is brought necessities to their room by campus employees.

“We have provided basic supplies to students who need to quarantine or isolate on campus, and are delivering food and mail.” Phillips said. “In addition, Housing and Residential Life, and staff from the Dean of Students Office are checking  on students regularly.”

Jacob Mailhot, a sophomore film production major, who currently lives in Dahl Hall was quarantined in Nelson Hall after coming into contact with his brother who was symptomatic. Mailhot’s brother eventually tested negative for the virus. There were protocols Mailhot went through in the case he was carrying the virus.

Jacob Mailhot, a sophomore film production major at MSUM. Photos by John Hayes john.hayes@go.mnstate.edu.

 “I called the school. They said to wipe down everything in my room and they had me move everything I needed to Nelson on my own,” Mailhot said. “They said to limit the amount of trips I could take.”

As Mailhot was isolated, all of his classes moved online. He compared the quarantine to “jail” and said his online experience had been a mixed bag.

“It’s either really easy or super difficult,” Mailhot said. “I suppose which class you take, a lot of it can be done on camera. I have an acting class so I just submit videos, but my photography ones I can’t really go anywhere to take pictures.”

Mailhot said the university employees deliver meals to him and check to make sure he has clean sheets.

MSUM has taken steps to stop the spread of the virus on campus and in residential halls.

“Students are asked to follow the expectations that are part of the Dragons Care campaign, including wearing masks while on campus, physically distancing, hand washing, and staying home if ill.” Phillips said. “In addition, we’ve posted occupancy limits for community spaces, are limiting guests in students’ rooms, and are asking guests to use public restrooms.”

It’s halfway through the fall semester, but it’s only a matter of time to see if the school’s protocols regarding in-person classes and residential living will stop the spread of the virus.  

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