UPDATE ON RESIDENTIAL LIFE FOR FALL 2020

As health officials loosen restrictions to allow responsible restarts for the fall, we are planning for residence halls to be open in August for any student who chooses to return to housing. We will continue to assess and reassess the plans as we follow recommendations from the CDC hall guidelines for campuses regarding COVID-19.

Residence Life staff are implementing measures to meet new public health standards in our campus environment to minimize health risks, including accommodations for vulnerable members of our community. Students are always encouraged to take their own safety precautions as well. Here are some frequently asked questions and responses:

What are some of the new health standards going to be for fall?

Based on the Higher Education guidelines provided by the State of Ohio, the following will be implemented into daily practices on-campus:

  • social distancing at least 6 ft. apart
  • increased sanitization plans in high contact areas
  • wearing face coverings in public areas
  • checking our symptoms regularly 

Any updates to these guidelines will be revised promptly and communicated directly through email.

Will residence halls be open?

Yes, residence halls will be available for students who choose to live on campus. Residence halls will be open at lower capacity, and we anticipate a higher number of people choosing single rooms. Shared spaces (ex. lounges) will be limited; based on necessity, location in building, size limits, etc. in cooperation with CDC guidelines. We will continue to model personal prevention practices (such as hand washing, staying home when sick) and environmental practices (cleaning and disinfecting). We will continue to administer a number of actions that lower the risk of spread of COVID-19.

What should I do if I have a medical vulnerability?

If you have a pre-existing medical vulnerability that may put you at a higher risk in the residence halls or classrooms, please contact Anna Meadows, Director of the Center for Student Success, at ameadows@malone.edu. We also encourage you to discuss any concerns with your medical doctor.

What should I do if I had COVID-19?

Malone University partners with Aultman Hospital for staffing. Becky Rodak, RN and our Student Health Center staff (Dr. Marvin, Dr. Johns, and Kelly Kenirary, NP) are designated staff responsible for responding to COVID-19 concerns for students. If you have been sick with COVID-19 symptoms, tested positive for COVID-19, or been potentially exposed to someone with COVID-19 (either in your community or through international travel) follow CDC guidance to self-isolate and/or stay home.

Students should notify the nurse at the Student Health Center if they had a confirmed case of COVID-19. You can email Becky Rodak, RN at rrodak@malone.edu. She will have further specific guidance for you as we get closer to August, and please do not forget to include your contact information and student I.D. in the email.

What do I do if I develop symptoms before I return to campus?

We request that you delay your return to housing and campus if you experience symptoms prior to arrival. We would encourage you to contact (1) your medical doctor and (2) the Student Health Center or the Office of Student Development for further instructions and procedures. You can email Becky Rodak, RN at rrodak@malone.edu. She will have further specific guidance for you, and please do not forget to include your contact information and student I.D. in the email.

What will I do if I develop symptoms after I am on campus?

In August, students will receive step-by-step instructions on what to do if they are symptomatic along with when to stay home or self-isolate. Becky Rodak, RN and our Student Health Center staff are designated staff responsible for responding to COVID-19 concerns for students (see question 4). Anyone who has had recent close contact with COVID-19  will be encouraged to stay home or self-isolate in designated living quarters. Students will still have virtual learning capability, telehealth options, and those living in quarantined spaces on campus will have meal deliveries and laundry services provided.

Do we have quarantine rooms?

Yes, we have spaces that have been designated on campus for students who need to quarantine or isolate. They can participate in the classroom through the remote learning option, meals will be delivered, etc. Students will also notice an increase in informational signs posted on campus reminding us how to stay safe in communal spaces, what to do if they develop symptoms, how to reduce stress, and other helpful information. 

Will COVID testing be required?

As of this documentation, there has been state encouragement to get tested in order to stop the spread, but there has been no mandated COVID testing for higher education institutions.

We anticipate that decisions by NCAA may request testing for athletes, but this is still unknown until official conference guidelines are released by the NCAA and GMAC divisions.

What if I need testing?

Should there be a need for testing, testing will require a healthcare provider referral which Malone Health Center staff are credentialed to do.

Privately-run sites in Canton may have different standards and requirements for testing. But typically, they will create the order on-site if you have symptoms, are in an at-risk population, or have been exposed to the virus. In other cases, they might require you to visit a doctor in advance to get an order – similar to an x-ray.

In addition, according to Governor DeWine, there are pop-up testing facilities in Ohio with no cost should someone desire to be tested. That link is found here. Further suggestions can be found here.

What will I do if my roommate or I have symptoms?

Each student upon arrival will be given a step-by-step infographic on what to do if they have symptoms. A student should stay home or in their residence hall room if they have symptoms, and contact the Student Health Center for next steps. We anticipate that a student will have to self-quarantine for 14 days as well as their roommate if they’re displaying COVID symptoms and been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID. Depending on the situation, this may be in their permanent room or isolated rooms we have prepared on campus.

What about early arrivals in August?

Some students return to campus early if they’re affiliated with an organization that is required to do so, such as our fall sport athletes. Students who have been invited to participate in pre-season practices for a fall sport or activities will be contacted by their coach directly (or by the adviser of your group) to learn about arrival details. We will do our best to accommodate early arrivals in increments as a precaution to prevent overcrowding and to follow social distancing guidelines. Returning residents will still plan to move in on Saturday, August 22, with more details to come about procedures for arrival — such as group sizes and signing an emergency medical form, so we have the most up-to-date information, etc.

Will I need to have a special assessment if I am out-of-state or an international student from an “at-risk” country?

We are awaiting further guidelines from state officials. The status varies from location to location, and state officials are updating guidance frequently. Check with your state authorities where you are, along your route, and Ohio guidelines to learn about restrictions in place during this time.

In the meantime, international travelers can consult: 

Returning from international travel

Travelers Prohibited from Entry to the United States

Can I still get a single room?

Returning students have had priority in housing since April, and they will continue to have priority until June 15 when we start housing incoming first year students. We are trying to accommodate every request for a single room. Costs can be found here, and you can request a single room here.

At this time, we also recommend a single room for anyone with a medical vulnerability; if you have questions about medical vulnerabilities and single rooms, please contact Anna Meadows at ameadows@malone.edu.

Should I bring a face covering?

We anticipate that students will need to bring some type of face-covering (mask, bandana, etc.), and it’s recommended that you have more than one face-covering. We will have a limited supply available for purchase at the Health Center.

Will we have Orientation?

Yes, although it may look a bit different based on state health guidelines. We will be making a request in June (via email) for a limited number of volunteers to return to campus a few days before Orientation to help us provide a very special welcome for our first year students.

Will we have SFOs?

Yes, the Office of Spiritual Formation has prepared different types of SFOs for varying group sizes, based on current guidelines from health officials. We anticipate an increase in small group gatherings. You’ll get more details on this later in the summer.

What about other events/programs?

We will host a variation of small gatherings, events and meetings, if possible, and promote social distancing of 6 feet between people and limit group size to the extent possible. We will promote ways that reduce risk of transmission of COVID-19 to participants. We will make use of outdoor events as long as we can in Ohio!

Will our common space areas be different?

As of now, we are making determinations on each common space area in residence halls. We are anticipating guidelines to promote staggered use, size limits and social distancing. Some common spaces will be available and operational with modifications (such as distanced space seating or smaller events in larger rooms).

There will be an increase in cleaning and disinfecting schedules for shared areas (such as laundry facilities, kitchens). Cleaning supplies will be available to care for each area after use with proper handling instructions posted. We anticipate having limitations on the number of people allowed at one time in these spaces, so that people can be socially distanced. We continue to encourage students to not share personal items such as eating utensils, cell phones, bath towels, makeup, personal care products like lotions, breath mints, toothpaste, hair products, over the counter meds, eye drops etc. Shared bathrooms will be cleaned according to CDC guidelines in traditional residence halls. Residents will be instructed that sinks could be an infection source and should avoid placing toothbrushes directly on counter surfaces. Totes could also be used for personal items to limit their contact with other surfaces in the bathroom.

What about the dining commons and food services?

The Dining Commons and other eating areas will be operational, and they will also be following guidelines in barriers, hand-washing, food safety, crowd sizes, social distancing, and taking other precautions as communicated by the local and state officials. Carry-out meals will be an option.

What about other campus facilities?

We are planning for all of our facilities to be operating according to and in compliance with health guidelines.

What about travel?

We are considering various options for limiting non-essential travel in accordance with state and local regulations and guidance. We encourage students, faculty, and staff who use mass transit to consider using other transportation options (e.g., walking, biking, driving or riding by car — alone or with household members only) if feasible.

What if there is a second wave, secondary peak, or resurgence of COVID-19?

Experts do communicate that a resurgence is possible. We must be diligent to continue frequent hand washing, cleaning surfaces often, and using protective equipment while continuing to follow social distancing guidelines. Remote options have been put in place for continuing education, and we will continue following appropriate guidelines by state officials if/when this time comes.

What if I want to delay my return to campus housing?

If you do not feel ready to return to the residence halls in August, Residence Life will accommodate you in whatever way we can. You are always welcome to move in at a later date, if you feel that is the best decision for you. Dr. Miller shared the remote instructional model that is available, so you can participate in class and not fall behind.  

We are currently planning training for staff and student leaders on safety precautions for this fall. We encourage you to take a break from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media, if you are feeling overwhelmed or distressed. In the meantime, eat healthy, get some sleep and find time to unwind. If you need support, the national distress hotline is: 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746.

If you have further questions or need to talk, you can always contact the Student Development Office. Phone contact: 330-471-8273.