• Rawan Abhari

University COVID-19 Housing Policy Brief

Updated: Nov 18

Rawan Abhari

Student-driven research for better campus policy.

<Key Takeaways/Brief Overview>

  1. Florida State University has altered its Return to Student Life Guide for Fall 2021 procedures to reflect full University Housing capacity. Due to state guidelines making all COVID-19 precautions voluntary, testing, proof of vaccination or proof of positive COVID-19 test in the last 90 days is strongly encouraged, but voluntary.

  2. Students living on campus who test positive will need to return home or find their own isolation space off-campus, as FSU has limited isolation beds available. The University is not offering on-campus isolation beds to all who test positive but has an off-campus isolation center.

  3. Fully vaccinated and asymptomatic students will be exempt from any quarantine requirements and may continue regular activities.


<Analysis> On August 4, 2021, the University sent out an update about the Fall semester’s COVID-19 policy. To move into University Housing this fall, students were highly encouraged to receive clearance to move into their room by presenting proof of vaccination, proof of positive COVID-19 test and recovery in the last 90 days, submitting to a COVID-19 test at the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center, or receiving a medical exemption. Many University Housing policies have returned to their former iterations with additional COVID-19 precautions.

  • The guest policy has returned to its former rules which states residents must agree to their own visitation policy with their roommate, however guests are not permitted to stay more than 3 days out of a 30-day span.

  • There is no restriction of the University Housing lounge capacities or other common spaces in the halls; however, to reduce frequently touched surfaces, University Housing has removed microwaves from kitchens, disabled ice machines and covered water fountain spouts (leaving only the bottle filling stations active).

The CDC recommends closing or limiting the capacity of communal, shared spaces such as dining areas, game rooms, exercise rooms and lounges to decrease the mixing of non-cohort students who are not fully vaccinated. They also recommend considering limiting the use of communal, shared space to people who are fully vaccinated.

The policy for positive COVID-19 tests for on-campus residents has changed as University Housing was permitted to resume full capacity. When COVID-19 is detected via testing the positive student must isolate immediately. The student may not participate in any in-person University activities until they are cleared by the Florida Department of Health or the Secure Assessment for FSU Exposure Response (SAFER) team on campus. The University is not offering on-campus isolation beds to all who test positive but has an off-campus isolation center. The isolation center could house roughly 100 students if need be. That of which has never met full capacity this semester and currently is housing zero students. University Health Services staff will maintain contact with students who are isolating, and students may also use Telehealth to obtain medical assistance. Assistance to these students includes providing meals and health checks.

Students housed off-campus are unaffected by these policies.

Vice President for Student Affairs, Amy Hecht, has been responding to student concerns on this new policy via Twitter.

  • We find out any positives, whether they test at FSU or not, it just takes a bit longer. We don't know who people were in contact with in Leach though. I'd use the FMC which REQUIRES masks while working out and everywhere in the building (health care facility)”

  • There is isolation housing for on-campus residents that test positive. Roughly 20 people using those isolation beds as of last night. We provide a bag of groceries, a number to call for meal plan info on a case-by-case basis”

The University emphasizes there may be updates to these guidelines and expectations, as circumstances are fluid. These changes will be included in updated versions of the Return to Student Life Guide and will be communicated to the university community when applicable.


<References>

Return to Student Life Guide

CDC Guidance for Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs)


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