Breaking: Students have ‘through April’ to fully move out of dorms

By Blaise Mesa, Executive Producer

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Students who were living in Columbia’s on-campus residence halls before being sent home because of the coronavirus pandemic will be able to collect whatever belongings they left behind beginning April 6.

On Wednesday, March 18, the college told students living in the dorms they had four days to move but should “plan on taking only items with which they can travel by end of day Sunday.” Two days later residents were told “not return to campus to collect their items and move out while the ‘Stay-at-Home’ order is in effect.” Today the college notified students who lived in the dorms to arrange a time to pick up their belongings this month, despite the stay-at-home order remaining in effect throughout April.

“We are keenly aware of your desire to return to campus to claim your belongings from your living space,” said Residence Life staff in a Friday, April 3 email sent to residents. “We have been working to make this happen as soon as possible. We have worked out a system that will support small numbers of people gathering to ensure that we are complying with the Illinois Stay at Home ordinance.”

Move-out dates begin Monday, April 6 and last “through April,” according to the email. Lambrini Lukidis, associate vice president of Strategic Communications and External Relations, clarified to the Chronicle that the end of April is not a mandatory cutoff date, and if students need more time—like move-out dates in May—the college will work with those students.

“We are not trying to make an already stressful situation worse for people,” Lukidis said.

According to the email, in an effort to comply with social distancing recommendations, Residence Life is allowing a maximum of 20 to 30 students to move out each day. Lukidis said the number of students allowed in a building was determined by what the property companies were comfortable with.

Campus Safety and Security will be on hand to “ensure appropriate social distancing,” and housekeeping staff will also be in the buildings “conducting ongoing cleaning of surfaces while students are moving out,” according to the email.

Students must book a two-hour move-out appointment for The Flats, University Center, Dwight Lofts, 30 E. Balbo and The Arc, but Lukidis said students may be able to stay past the two-hour mark.

“It’s not like we are going to have counters,” she said, “if people need a little extra time we are going to work with them.”

Residents can only bring only one additional person to help move out, and access to carts will be limited, according to the email, but students were told they can contact Residence Life if they need more help. Students away from campus can also request a proxy to pick up their items.

Residents were told to get rooms “as close to move-in condition as possible,” but the college “does not expect a thorough room cleaning” during the two-hour time frame, according to the email.

Students will be able to drop off their keys using envelopes that can be found in their dorm lobbies as part of an “Express Check-Out process.”

As reported by the Chronicle, students will be given account credits for the unused portion of their meal plans and housing contracts. Students with a resulting credit balance are encouraged to set up their CCCPay section on the MyColumbia portal in order to receive a resulting refund through direct deposit as early as April 10.

“We are trying to do our best in an unprecedented situation,” Lukidis said. “This is really an effort to respond to what has been a lingering question to a lot of people.”


Check back for more updates.