Logan Irwin, Correspondent
Students at Jacksonville State University received word on Wednesday, April 1 that university housing would close for the remainder of the spring semester, effective April 7.
This came as a surprise to some, while others expected the decision to close housing would be made amid the rapid spread of COVID-19 throughout Alabama and the United States.
“University residence halls and apartments will close Tuesday, April 7,” said Don Killingsworth, the acting president of JSU, in an email to students. “Students with extenuating circumstances may apply for an exemption if unable to vacate at this time.”
Freshman student Madison Brooks said the process of moving all of her belongings out in a short time window was quite stressful for her and that the entire experience was “awful”.
“I believe I was given a couple of days to sign up for a move-out time at my dorm,” said Brooks. “Arranging this in such a short time was stressful because I had to arrange for my working parents to be able to help me. Not to mention they only allowed two helpers, and moving in I remember having at least 3 family members and 3 housing staff helping.”
Brooks said that she had some help moving out of her dorm in Curtiss Hall from her parents and couldn’t “imagine how those that live out of state whose parents can’t come help feel”.
“It felt bittersweet,” she said about moving out. “It was like freshman year ended the day I moved out even though we have online classes.”
Though Brooks was dissatisfied with her moving out experience, she felt that the decision to close housing was the right call.
“I think it was in the best interest of everyone that they close the dorms,” she said. “They made the right decision because communal living spaces harbor bacteria quite easily. Leaving them open could have put hundreds of students at risk to those who have been in contact with COVID-19 patients.”
Brooks said she would be moving back home with her parents to complete the spring 2020 semester, but having to do so has definitely affected the way she does her school work.
“On campus, I had access to a high speed internet, the library for resources, and easy-to-access teachers,” she said. “At home, it is hard to finish work with distractions and the wifi is terrible. Any option of fast wifi like coffee shops are closed to the public.”
Morgan Stout, who is also a freshman, experienced many different emotions when she learned she would be moving back home with her parents until next fall.
“I was definitely upset when I heard that the dorms were closing as it meant I would not be seeing my friends for a while,” said Stout. “I was also somewhat stressed trying to figure out how and when to move my stuff out.”
Like many students, Stout anticipated the closure of university housing and was ready in the event that the decision was made.
“I was already thinking we were going to have to move out so I did have some sort of plan,” she said. “However, I don’t think the people that were planning on staying were given enough notice.”
Abigail Curtis, a student who resided in Logan Hall, said that she was glad classes were being moved to online to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
“For the rest of the semester I am going to continue with my online classes as well as working at a nutrition store here at home. I work at Downtown Nutrition and since we sell meal replacement shakes, we are considered essential. So I have been going to work.”
Curtis said that her experience moving out was “simple” and that she believes she was given plenty of notice to move out.
“As soon as the school switched to distance learning I went home,” she said. “After being told that we would not resume in-person classes, I selected a day to move out of my dorm and turn my key in.”
On Tuesday evening, the university announced that it would adopt a pass/no credit grading policy for the spring 2020 semester, allowing eligible students to prevent their final grade this semester from affecting their grade point average.