Residential life in the age of COVID-19

How students are dealing with the pandemic and staying safe in their living arrangements at the same time.


Lucy Kamlewechi

After the outbreak of COVID-19 on Dec. 31, 2019 in Wuhan, China, there were drastic changes such as the closing of borders, businesses, restaurants, hotels, banks and college campuses. Although the cases of COVID-19 are still persistent, life must continue — especially when it comes to education. So, with regard to these, students over the world have returned to their campuses. For some, it is more like home.

For other students, returning to campus could be a little overwhelming, but they are willing to follow precautions for their safety while residing on campus. Students at Alabama State University are trying their best to adhere to the precautions implemented to have a thriving and healthy social life. These precautions include: 

  • Wearing facemasks while in public places
  • Practicing social distancing
  • Washing and sanitizing hands often

Unfortunately, some precautions may be difficult for students to adapt. For example, sometimes, people feel uncomfortable wearing their mask or have trouble with it due to their health conditions such as asthma. As challenging as it may be to adjust and get used to this,  students must find a way to adapt to these measures in order to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“Students are dealing with the pandemic in different ways. Many decided to take most classes online instead of in person. Campus life has declined due to more students choosing to stay at home. Many others think that it is just a joke and continue to live their best life,” said senior marketing major Bestie Alfaro. “However, whether we choose to believe it or not, our living arrangements have changed. The use of masks have become mandatory almost everywhere. The cafeteria hours have changed, and we can find gel sanitizer everywhere we turn. As the pandemic continues to take over, students have been forced to learn to adapt to a new education and health system.”

Another example of a precaution placed at ASU in order to contain the spread of the COVID-19 disease is knowing when to go out and when not to, as there is a 9 p.m. campus-wide curfew.  Since we are to avoid large gatherings, some students may feel anxious not being able to socialize the way they are used to.

Gabe Washington, a sophomore business management major, says he is dealing with living in a dormitory while being in a pandemic well.  According to him, you just have to follow simple rules and precautions. 

 “I always make sure my facemask is over my nose and every time I see a hand sanitizer, I make use of it. For my room, I bought a Lysol spray which I use everyday to disinfect my room,” said Washington.

Similar to Washington, a junior Biology Pre-Health Major, who prefers to be anonymous, says that during times like this, she does not go out often. 

 “I minimize my traveling and grocery shopping by buying in bulk.  I also disinfect my dorm everyday, and to cope with feelings of isolation, I play music, write, dance, and meditate,” she says.

Deborah Warmate, a junior marketing major, tries to find the good in the pandemic, saying that during these troubled times, she tries to connect with her loved ones. 

 “I try to spend time with my family and friends through texts or calls.  Also, If there is anything that I have to do while on campus, I try to do them in one day so that I do not go out often,” explained Warmate. I carry my sanitizers everywhere and I am always wearing my facemasks because you never know, COVID is not written on anybody so you never know who has it.  For my room, I try to disinfect it, but not regularly because I am the only one staying there. I just try to make sure that the surfaces are always clean.”

Since the start of the global pandemic, people no longer have to share personal things with their friends and relatives. After all, sharing is caring, but with COVID-19 underway, sharing has been limited.

Other things that students all over the world are doing to deal with the pandemic and keep their living arrangements in check include:

  • Disinfecting dorms regularly
  • Avoiding frequent touching of work surfaces or doorknobs
  • Quarantining when sick or exhibiting symptoms.

All these make dorm and campus life feel uneasy. However, there is no compromise when it comes to safety.