University Housing allows students to move out during extended stay-at-home order

By Aliza Majid, Staff Writer

The stay-at-home order in Illinois was extended through the end of May by Gov. J.B Pritzker with alterations that would allow students at educational institutions to retrieve personal belongings from facilities as long as public health guidelines are followed. 

“We actually made a recommendation through leadership in University Housing to the governor to allow for move-out of the residence hall to take place, even if a stay-at-home order was extended through the month of May,” said Chelsea Hamilton, University Housing’s senior assistant director of communications and marketing.

This modification resulted in University Housing creating new move-out dates for students and emailing them about the new schedule and guidelines they must follow as they come to retrieve their belongings.

According to Hamilton, Housing was working on creating new move-out dates for the 2,000 students who had their belongings in the residence halls after the first move-out day in March. 

Ian Garvey, freshman in LAS, opted out of moving out during the first move-out date because of the potential dangers that could have occurred.

“We were all worried that there would just be a lot of people there, and it would be really chaotic” Garvey said. “That’s kind of an increased risk of potentially getting the virus or transmitting it if you come into contact with anybody. So, I just didn’t really seem like a safe idea to move out back then.”

All residence halls have certain timelines for students to retrieve their belongings based on the move-out schedule to ensure social distancing guidelines are being followed.

“We are really asking residents to only come during their hall schedule time because halls are locked and swipe access is not available out of their scheduled time,” Hamilton said.

In terms of move-out procedures, Housing will require all residents to wear a mask when entering the dorms, have a maximum of two people help moving out, only have one family at a time in the elevator and make sure roommates move out at different times if possible. 

“We’re really trying to keep social distancing in mind, keep the health and safety of our residents and families coming to help move along in mind as well,” Hamilton said. “Any carts that are used will be sanitized in between families from our staff helping to manage that process as well.”

Students who are unable to return to campus to retrieve their belongings have two options: request a peer as a proxy and fill out the proxy agreement form or request Storage Squad as their proxy and have University Housing move out their belongings.

“If a student said they want to have a Storage Squad store or ship their belongings, then University Housing will pack the belongings and turn those over on the Storage Squad,” Hamilton said. “When we do so, we have two staff members in the room packing up those belongings and then they also have to take photos of any valuables and we will share that with the resident as well.”

The dates Storage Squad will be arriving at the residence halls to help store students’ belongings do not coincide with the move-out dates listed in the email, in order to adhere to social distancing guidelines.

If students do not respond to the move-out request, University Housing will carry on the move-out process and box up their belongings. They will continue to try getting in contact with the resident and figure out what to do with the resident’s belongings.

“They have a couple choices: it could be that we need to store their belongings until they are able to come back to campus and in those circumstances and we will ask them to share with us a third-party vendor that we would be able to to drop their belongings at,” Hamilton said. “The other option would be that they would have the opportunity to donate their belongings and we would donate those personal belongings to a local organization here in town.”

The schedule for move-outs began on May 3 and ends on May 16, at the end of the semester.

Storage Squad was unable to comment before publication.

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