Colleges discuss living arrangements as fall semester nears


INDIANAPOLIS — Colleges and universities across the Hoosier state are rolling out plans of what life on campus could look like this fall, leaving many parents and students with questions about where they’ll live. 

“I think it’s an adjustment for a lot of folks, students and parents. So we’re already still on the wave of trying to adjust to graduation celebrations being canceled, and so from prom to graduation,” said Kahlilah Shabazz.

Shabazz is the mother of Brooklyn Payne, an incoming freshman at Indiana University in Bloomington. She says when they learned about IU’s plan Wednesday to return to campus, her daughter was thrilled because she thought COVID-19 would ruin her freshman year.

“I think [it] was probably the biggest fear for her. And I feared that for her too because I wanted her to not have those moments continue to be stolen away from her and from us all as a family,” said Shabazz.

She says her daughter is okay with following whatever protocols and procedures are in place and that she plans to stay on campus and has a roommate. She says if her daughter decides to pursue a roommate, she has her own plans before move-in to ensure both families are on the same page. 

“Make sure I connect with the parent and we can all four have a conversation about the expected behaviors and health things that should be in place with them as roommates,” said Shabazz. 

Chuck Carney, media relations director for IU, said for the most part, dorms will be single occupancy to help with social distancing.

“We will be able to house everybody, even given the single occupancy. Students can request a roommate, and they will have to go through a rigorous process which is basically to make sure that everybody is healthy, and they’ll take personal responsibility to keep themselves and their roommate healthy if at all possible,” explained Carney.

Carney went on to say they do have enough housing for all students to return to campus and live alone. In addition, they have a downtown apartment complex for students. 

“Everybody that has applied for a contract for housing at IUPUI and IU Bloomington, they’re going to get a place to stay. We are not going to be seeking any additional housing off campus because we simply don’t need it at this point,” said Carney.

IU says things will be different on all of their campuses, with increased safety and health measures.

“As we go through this a lot of things will be different, but a lot of the things we will be emphasizing on campuses is the personal responsibility part of it and cleaning your own space. But also wearing a face mask and person-to-person communication, these are things that are going to look different this fall. And students are going to get a reminder all the time,” said Carney.

As for other schools:

  • Purdue University students will have enough square feet social distancing inside the dorms.
  • The University of Indianapolis is taking a more phased approach. They’re allowing students who can’t return to their permanent homes first, then opening with restrictions to adhere to social distancing and then fully open.
  • Butler and Ball State haven’t given specifics about living arrangements.

Despite all the information, there are still some questions lingering for parents as the semester nears.

“The immediate that came to mind is how is move-in going to work? Will we have to go get them all in there? Are there other things that I need to be thinking about in preparation for coming,” ask Shabazz.

All of the schools have the latest information about the fall semester on their websites.

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