Healthy Living: New policies and personal responsibility promote health and safety in residence halls

The Office of Residence Life has put in place a number of new measures designed to promote cleanliness, physical distancing and cooperating in residence halls this fall.

Elon University residence halls will welcome new and returning students to campus in mid-August, with routine repairs, painting and cleaning completed throughout the summer to create a comfortable and secure home for students throughout the academic year.

But that prep work was just the beginning this year. Elon is taking additions steps and enacting new requirements and protocols in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to help promote a safe and healthy environment in these spaces where students will spend a significant portion of their time each day.

Physical Plant staff have been disinfecting living spaces this summer in preparation for the return of students this fall.

“Things will look a bit different, but we are still hoping to provide you with a great residential experience,” said MarQuita Barker, director of residence life.

The Office of Residence Life has created new social norms for living on campus, with educational programs and agreements for residential students based on each unique living arrangement. This summer, the office has been communicating with students about these new expectations, including arrangements for roommate discussions and living agreements, and information about required room cleaning and regular health and safety checks.

Additionally, the Office of Residence Life has worked to reduce density in residence halls to increase physical distancing. Additional off-campus apartments and hotels may be included as housing options, if necessary.

Among the main steps the Office of Residence Life has taken to keep students and the campus community safe:

  • A new visitation policy prohibits overnight guests. This includes guests from within the campus community and those not living on campus.
  • Room changes will not be permitted. Students who have problems with their room assignment are encouraged to reach out to their neighborhood community director to discuss other options.
  • An enhanced roommate agreement process is in place. Roommates are being encouraged to undertake intentional conversations around topics including visitors, food sharing, hygiene and other aspects of community living. There will be an increased focus on handwashing, laundry and cleaning in the residence halls.
  • There will be an emphasis on Elon’s face covering policy. While students are not required to wear masks in their own rooms, face coverings are expected in other indoor locations including common areas and the hallways of residence halls. The university’s face covering policy is available here.
  • Some common areas will have capacity limits. Many indoor common spaces in residence halls will have a capacity limit of 10 individuals, which is in line with North Carolina state requirements during the pandemic.
  • Additional cleaning measures will be in place in all common spaces. The Office of Residence Life and Physical Plant are working together to help ensure and promote cleanliness. All students will also be responsible for cleaning their own living spaces regularly.
  • The university will have dedicated isolation spaces. In the event that a student needs to be isolated or quarantined due to COVID-19, Elon has dedicated space on campus and off campus to accommodate that need. More details about the quarantine, isolation, testing and tracing protocols is available here.

Before moving into residence halls, ALL new and returning students are required to complete the Schar Center Health Check-In. At the check-in, Elon staff will verify that students have completed their required PCR COVID-19 testing, completed their required health training modules, including the Healthy Elon Commitment, submitted their immunization records (first-year students only) and completed their daily Health Screening via the new Health Screening Web App.

“Residence Life is taking intentional steps to ensure your health and safety, but we need your help,” Barker said. “Each of us will need to take personal responsibility for the health and safety of our community.”

Learn more about what you can expect in Elon University residence halls this fall here. More information about Elon’s Ready & Resilient plan for the new academic year are available at