The University of Connecticut will release 192 new beds previously used for quarantining into the spring housing pool. The rooms come from Charter Oaks Apartments and Northwood Apartments. These rooms were unavailable to students during the fall semester.
Dr. Pamela Schipani, the UConn executive director of residential life, spoke over the phone about the housing situation during the summer and how it can be used as a model for the spring.
“In the summer we used Mansfield Apartments for both quarantine and isolation and given our low number of students that have had to be quarantined in particular we feel we can use just Mansfield for both things again in the spring semester,” Schipani said.
“So that will free up the two buildings in Charter Oak apartments and they’re mostly four-four’s (four-bedroom, four student housing) but there are some two-two’s (two-bedroom, two students housing) as well as some two-fours (two bedrooms and four students) in Charter Oak Apartments. We also held some Northwood Apartments which is mainly where grad students live. There are some undergrads that live there as well and we do have some demand from grad students who want to live on campus and that’s the only place they can live and so we are releasing both the Northwood beds and the Charter Oak beds,” Schipani said.
Schipani said she realizes the apartments on campus are some of the most popular housing options available, and that she is excited to be able to provide them to students.
“Students who requested room changes to participate in that mid-year process, both will be available to them. Some of our most desired housing is apartments so we’re excited that we can be fully operational in both Northwood and Charter Oaks apartments,” Schipani said.
She also said with the opening of both apartment complexes to students there will be a trickledown effect in which more housing will become available for all students.
“And that will free up some other spaces on campus. There will likely be some seniors or juniors who live in suites who want to move to the apartments so there will be some movement that happens over break,” Schipani said.
When asked about a possible COVID-19 surge on campus during the spring semester, Schipani said she believes Mansfield Apartments will be able to handle any possible surge.
“We have 270 spaces in Mansfield, and that’s a lot of spaces, I mean that’s how many students can be housed there and typically what we’ve done is house one person in an apartment — one person in a bedroom in an apartment — but if we had a huge surge, we would house them together because if they’re positive, they’re positive. The good news is if you’re positive you only have to be in isolation for 10 days — quarantine is now only 10 days — it used to be 14, so that turnover can happen pretty quickly,” Schipani said.
Schipani also said in the worst-case scenario, the university can contract rooms from the Graduate Hotel like it did during the spring semester of 2021.
“We haven’t reserved the hotel, but we do have an agreement with the hotel that, if necessary, with three days’ notice we would get a contract with the hotel, and we could do a whole floor — because we would never mix — or up to three floors. So that is the other possibility we have in our back pocket,” Schipani said.
Finally, Schipani said she looks forward to welcoming more students to campus next semester.
“We do have some new students coming on board, some new admits, some new transfers, students who were on a study abroad or exchange program and they’re coming back, so there will be some new faces on campus,” Schipani said. “We’re pretty excited that our applications from spring are up from two years ago which is really good, and we have plenty of space because we started with less students on campus in the fall semester, so there will be new faces and new people to meet, so that’s exciting.”