Senior Lindsey Rodgers is very happy that she is allowed to have her friend, who lives in a different dorm, over to study, after a year of resident hall restrictions that prevented students from visiting dorms they do not reside in.
“I was so excited when I found out that we could have guests from other buildings in our room,” said Rodgers. “I study with friends regularly, and we depend on each other’s help, so it made life really easy that we would be allowed to study together instead of over Zoom.”
The Coronavirus Planning Team sent an email on April 13 stating, “As a nod to students who have been extremely cooperative in following housing restrictions this semester, we are loosening our visitation and off-campus gathering policies.”
Many students say they felt relief after receiving this email, that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
“I was so happy to see some restrictions being lifted,” said junior Brendan Whitehead. “It gives me hope that things are moving in the right direction and things will be back to normal.”
The lifted restrictions went into effect on April 14, which include an increase in the maximum capacity for guests in all residence halls to one guest per occupant in first-year residential facilities and, in upperclassmen residence halls, 50% capacity of the designated occupancy, or up to 15 people in the room, whichever is lower.
Some feel that being able to visit other dorms will create a happier student body.
“I think students are adhering to the new regulations the university has set forth because no one wants to lose these privileges. COVID-19 has taken a large toll on the mental health of students because of strict restrictions, and I can already see how much happier everyone is that they can see their friends they have made throughout their time at SHU,” said Natali Maher, Residence Hall Director for Scholars Commons.
In addition, off-campus students can increase the maximum capacity of their gatherings from 12 to 15 individuals.
“Being off-campus, it is hard to get that sense of community like on campus, so I am happy that the number of people at gatherings has increased,” said junior Britney Jahrmarkt.
According to WTNH.com, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont announced on April 19 that some COVID-19 related restrictions for businesses will further be eased.
Starting May 1, restaurant curfews will be moved from 11 p.m. to midnight, outdoor restrictions will be lifted, alcohol can be served without food and there will be no table size limit.
“It’s nice to see that SHU is lifting some restrictions as more COVID related restrictions are being lifted in Connecticut,” said freshman Dylan Chizmadia.
Many students are also happy to hear that the state as a whole is easing some COVID-19 restrictions.
“I was especially happy to hear the curfew was being pushed back for restaurants, it gives me hope that we are working toward our new normal,” said Jahrmarkt.
The email from the Coronavirus Planning Team included that if the number of cases continues to stay low, the university will consider further lifting restrictions.
“Lifting these restrictions is a step in the right direction for this university. How students react to the lifted restrictions will allow the university to see the effects that fewer restrictions may bring in the following academic year, and through this change, the university will be able to mitigate any issues or questions that may arise in the wake of lifted restrictions,” said Maher.
Some students say they hope that more restrictions get lifted as the semester comes to a close.
“I hope if all goes well that the number of guests allowed per room increases and that we don’t have to wear masks outdoors,” said freshman Olivia Ford.
On the other hand, some students say they are worried that the lifting of the university’s restrictions will lead to an increase in COVID-19 cases on campus.
“I am a little worried that the restrictions being lifted could lead to an increase in cases due to more exposure to more people,” said sophomore Amanda Celentano.
However, other students are not worried that these restrictions could affect the low number of cases the university has been having.
“I’m not worried about an increase in cases since we are vaccinating on campus at good rates and so far, I see all of my residents following the Pioneer Promise. I think this is a great step since we are expected to be back to somewhat normal in the fall,” said sophomore Anthony Alliegro, Resident Success Assistant for Roncalli Hall.