Jordan D. Brown
On Thursday, the Office of Residence Life and Housing sent on campus residents a letter from Kevin Banks, the Vice President for Student Affairs, that permitted students to retrieve their belongings and check out of their dorms while practicing social distancing guidelines.
In March, ORLH suspended all housing check-outs as a result of Maryland’s stay-at-home order proposed by Gov. Larry Hogan to curb the spread of COVID-19.
But while students were relieved by the opportunity to retrieve their belongings, others were concerned with the late notice. Thurgood Marshall Apartments, Baldwin Hall, O’Connell Hall and Harper-Tubman House residents only had a 3 day window.
Students were allowed to move out on their designated days from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. with the assistance of no more than two family members. Everyone who entered the residence hall had to wear a face mask and take a health screening test. Only ten families were allowed in the building or on a floor at once.
Each residence hall had a check out station in the lobby area where students completed the express check out form and returned their room key in an envelope.
To limit the amount of people on campus at once, ORLH assigned different check out dates for each residence hall, starting with Thurgood Marshall Apartments, Baldwin Hall, O’Connell Hall, and Harper-Tubman House from May 1 to May 3.
Because they received this information a day before the check-out process began, most residents felt like they were notified at the last minute.
“I felt that it was way too short of a notice,” sophomore nursing major Hasana Simeona said. Because she lives in Maryland, the trip wasn’t a problem for her but she did worry about completing her assignments for the day. “I am happy I can finally get my items, but it’s so last minute. I have to worry about finishing my remaining assignments and moving out,” she said.
The check out dates raised concerns for out-of-state students who had to quickly plan their campus return.
Alabama native Sydni Demby lives 13-hours from Baltimore and her parents had to secure a rental car to make the drive.
“Finding out we had to move out this weekend was really inconvenient for me,” said the freshman multimedia journalism major. “We have to get a rental car and see if our parents can get time off of work and things like that.”
The Office of Residence Life and Housing is aware of the challenges this check out process proposed on students.
Lawrence Lockett Jr., Residence Director of Harper-Tubman House, said that his team is making “special accommodations” and working with the families of students like Demby.
Rawlings Hall and Cummings House will begin their check out process from May 5 to May 7 and Blount Towers will hold check outs from May 11 to May 17.
If students can’t pick up their belongings during their proper check out time, the Office of Residence Life and Housing is asking students to contact their Residence Director to reschedule a time.