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Discussing the current state of student life and potential changes in the future

(Photo courtesy of Lounging spaces are opened up for dorming students to use as Covid rates remain low. 

Merrick Tull Johnson
Connector Contributer

With things loosening up around campus, a lot of changes have been brought into consideration for the pleasure and safety for the students of UMass Lowell. The school incorporated rigid rules to make sure that being on campus is safe, yet enjoyable for students. These rules include no guests, weekly COVID-19 testing (with reprimanding if not followed), and daily symptoms checking.

Although the school is loosening their tight grip, guests are still prohibited to visit students, with no determination on when it will be lifted. As of Feb. 15, UMass Lowell decided to open the lounge areas to those who are in traditional housing. The areas are open from 7 p.m. to midnight, giving students the opportunity to socialize and do something outside of their dorms.

“Students said they were feeling isolated and were craving lounge space,” said Joel McCarthy, the associate dean of Student Affairs for Residence Life. “So we opened the lounging spaces so students can have more safe interactions that still follows CDC guidelines.”

The lounges will be free to use if the COVID rates on campus stays low, but if the rates go up, then the lounges will be closed immediately. McCarthy said he hopes that the school will bring the school back to what it was before COVID changed the script of what was normal.

“We will provide students with added emotional and academic support outside of the amenities we already offer. We will offer significantly reduced housing rates and we will offer more relaxed rules in hopes that it will make things more free,” McCarthy said.

While the future of things like the Solution Center and the availability of the Recreation Center remain in question, students will have more freedom in the fall while still adhering to the CDC guidelines that keep others safe. According to McCarthy, students will be able to pick if they want to be by themselves in singles, or be with friends or roommates if they want to have more social opportunities instead of an isolated campus experience.

“Our housing application and occupancy went live on website, but hasn’t been marketed, and it is going to start marketing for students for fall,” McCarthy said.

The school conducts weekly COVID testing, but they are by appointment only. Students are required to do a daily symptoms checker where they must report if they have symptoms of the disease.

In the case that a student does contract the virus, the university has set up ways for students to isolate themselves so others can safely and securely partake in the community. They have been conducting  isolation and will continue to do them at the Inn & Conference Center, where students must quarantine for two weeks until they test negative for COVID.

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