More freedom on campus

Spring brings some loosened restrictions for campus residents

Mary Bruggeman, Staff Writer

As this spring quarter begins, on-campus COVID-19 regulations are loosening up a little bit to allow more in-person gatherings, according to an email sent out to campus residents by Dean of Students for Community Life Chuck Strawn.

Students are now allowed to gather outside in groups of up to fifteen people. Wallace field, Tiffany Loop, and the Ashton basketball court are some spaces Strawn mentioned where these groups may meet up.

Some additional lounge spaces in the residents’ halls will open but resident’s buildings are still closed to students from other halls. Signage will be placed with the occupancy limit.

This quarter, Campus Housing and Apartments residents are allowed up to two visitors, but they must be other CHA residents.

SPU is working to make more study space available in the Student Union Building.

However, many other regulations are still in place.

Students still need to continue wearing masks and maintain social distancing. Inside, groups may be no more than five people and if a student feels any symptoms of COVID-19 they are to contact the Student Health Center.

Dining requirements have returned to how they were last quarter; people may eat inside, maintaining a six-foot distance.

Like before, one visitor from the same floor is allowed in a dorm room, but everyone must be wearing masks and the dorm door must be left open.

Students may sign up to use the Royal Brougham Weight Room but the exercise rooms in residence halls are still closed.

Strawn said in an interview that residence life regulations are so restrictive because of the nature of living in this sort of community.

“If someone in Arnett [for example] gets sick, it’s possible that that could impact a whole lot of people,” Strawn said.

The University of Washington’s infection rate doubled a week ago from 0.6% to 1.3%.

“As the case numbers creep upwards at many other Washington universities, we have to be diligent,” Strawn wrote.

While this means more freedom for students, Dean of Students Chuck Strawn emphasized the importance of maintaining safe COVID practices while being in spaces with others.

“Our ability to share life together in the future requires that we each take responsibility for our choices and actions in the present,” Strawn wrote.

According to Strawn, preventing the spread of COVID-19 must remain a campus-wide effort.

He said he is thankful for the people who help encourage safe COVID-19 practices in the residence halls and hopes residents will continue to be able to find ways to safely connect.

“I’m hoping there’ll be opportunities (for more reopening) that come up. But if there’s not, that’s fine. I’d much rather have us be safe and healthy and be able to make relationships and build commitments as best as possible with what’s left of this year so that we can continue to roll forward and get that momentum going in the fall,” Strawn said. “I’m excited and hopeful for where we’re going and if we have to continue a bit slow that’s fine by me.”