University Students Leave Dorm Life Behind During COVID-19 Outbreak 

Amy Popp

Due to the recent COVID-19 pandemic, housing at the University of Wisconsin-Stout recommended that students move out of the dorms and go back home for the remainder of the semester to prevent the spread of the virus. 

According to Kathleen Baker, the director of university housing, the UW-Stout realizes that there are some students who don’t have the means to relocate back to their homes. These students have received permission to stay in the dorms, but will be expected to follow the CDC guidelines. “Almost all of these students that are remaining on campus are also alone in their spaces without a roommate––which is good for social distancing,” she said.  

There are mixed feelings about having to leave the dorms before the end of the semester. Caroline Winkers, a senior majoring in Art Education, had a hard time with leaving. “I had to ask my dad to drop everything for the weekend to help me move all my stuff out,” Winkers said. “We were expected to get everything out with the one person you were allowed to bring.”

Senior psychology major Brianna Erickson didn’t mind having to leave the dorms. “I usually go home on the weekends, so it’s nothing really different,” Erickson said. “It’s a little sad that my last semester in the dorms with my roommate got cut short, but I’d rather be safe and secluded away from the virus than in a dorm.”   

The students weren’t required to clean their rooms before leaving.  “Most of the cleaning will not begin, even in common areas, until the buildings have been vacated for at least a week,” Baker said. Once the week has passed, the custodial staff will be provided with the appropriate cleaning products and personal protective equipment to keep them safe while they clean. 

While the university is taking proactive steps to keep students, faculty, and staff safe, many are unsure of what will happen over the course of the next few weeks. Caroline Winkers is worried about how some of her art classes will work now that they are online. “I am in a painting class and an art education class both of which require in person meetings to really be useful,” said Winkers. 

Erickson is crediting her professor’s hard work in this transition period. “My professors are trying to make it as easy and accessible as they can for us while we transition, which is great,” she said. 

The housing office is closed to walk-in traffic. Students and families who need to contact them should write to housing@uwstout.edu.