On July 30, Rollins College President Grant Cornwell issued an announcement detailing an update to the school’s plans to repopulate campus for the 2020 fall semester. To reduce the density in residential facilities on campus during the COVID-19 pandemic, Rollins is transitioning to a single-occupancy model, meaning none of the residence halls will permit more than one student per room. This new model will reduce the school’s residential capacity and, therefore, cause some students to lose previously approved on-campus living accommodations.
“This has been an extraordinarily difficult decision, understanding as we do the role of residential living in the Rollins learning experience,” Cornwell said. “Our thinking has been motivated by guidance from our medical and public health advisors who have helped us shape plans around safety, risk reduction, and mitigation.”
The college’s Residential Life & Explorations team will give on-campus housing priority to new students, seniors, residential assistants, peer mentors, students with ADA accommodations, and international students or U.S. citizens coming from abroad. Other students interested in living on campus, even if they previously received a room assignment for the fall semester, will have to reapply and see if capacity restrictions allow them to qualify for a room. “We are hopeful that we can accommodate most students who wish to live on campus and urge all who are interested to apply,” Cornwell said.
Currently, the single occupancy model only applies to the fall semester. If COVID-19 subsides enough that conditions allow for the school to safely do so, Rollins will fill its residence halls at their typical capacity in the spring semester. Should that end up being the case, students who were not able to acquire an on-campus housing assignment for the fall will be able to reapply for the following semester.
Off-campus students are still welcome to engage in in-person classes, and all students will continue to have access to other on-campus amenities such as the Olin Library, dining options, and recently renovated Kathleen W. Rollins Hall, a centralized building on campus that acts as a center for students to collaborate and find a multitude of resources. The remainder of Rollins’ reopening plan, which was initially issued on July 10, remains intact. The college will continue to distribute information as circumstances evolve and the semester, set to begin September 14, approaches.
“The pandemic has challenged all of us in ways we could not have envisioned a few months ago,” Cornwell said at the conclusion of his statement. “Our faculty and staff have responded with creative solutions that honor our mission and respect the well-being of our community. The goal of our plan to reduce residential density on campus translates to a reduction of risk and exposure for the health and safety of the entire Rollins community.”