Residential Life looks to loosen COVID-19 restrictions in fall semester


Cristian Orellana

Biever Hall stands tall on a muggy morning on Feb. 6, 2018. As the first home of many freshmen on campus, it develops its own unique culture. Photo credit: Cristian Orellana

Emma Ruby

As COVID-19 cases in New Orleans drop and vaccination rates rise, Residential Life is anticipating a change in precautionary measures against the virus for the fall semester.

According to Chris Rice, director of Residential Life, plans for the semester are still in development but will ultimately be guided by city and state guidelines. Some of the changes students can expect for the fall are more relaxed visitation and social distancing rules, Rice said.

Rice also said the university will continue to keep empty dorms in Buddig Hall that will act as quarantine dorms for students who test positive or are exposed to the virus, but it will be a reduced number of dorms from the spring.

Isabelle Kelly-Graham, an incoming Loyola freshman, said she looks forward to joining the residential community in the fall, but staying conscious of the virus will remain at the forefront of her mind.

“I don’t have any concerns about living on campus considering I will be vaccinated and always wearing my mask,” Kelly-Graham said. “Cleaning and sterilizing my space will always be a priority for me.”

Kelly-Graham said she plans to live in Biever Hall, an all-freshman dorm on campus. Biever Hall has relied on triple residency dorms to reach maximum capacity in the past, but Rice said the decision to bring back triples in the fall has yet to be made.

“Residential Life is continuing to work with the Public Health committee to determine whether or not triples would be implemented next year,” Rice said. “Communication will be sent to incoming first-year students around the announcement of the final decision on whether or not to have triples.”

Kelly-Graham said she would feel comfortable living in a triple dorm in the fall as long as her roommates also took necessary health precautions.

The fall semester will also welcome upperclassmen students back onto campus “as space allows,” according to Rice.

A decision about vaccine requirements for on-campus residents has not yet been made, Rice said.

Rice said he hopes that when students return to campus in the fall they continue taking action to prevent the spread of the virus.

“We are looking forward to a bit of normalcy and more active student life on campus, though restrictions will still be in place,” Rice said. “With the return of more students, and more people in circulation, however, we will need to remain vigilant to ensure that no one unintentionally spreads the virus. We will all have to work together as a community to protect one another and ensure we stay healthy and safe.”