Students living in UC Berkeley housing consolidated to fewer buildings

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Students living in campus residence halls are being consolidated into fewer buildings to better utilize resources in response to the COVID-19, colloquially known as the coronavirus, pandemic.  

Residents in Clark Kerr Campus, Foothill, Stern and Unit 3 have been notified via email that they will be moved to Units 1 and 2, a more central location closer to dining and residential hall resources. If a student plans to fully move out before April 20, they will not be consolidated and can remain in their room until 5 p.m. April 20, according to UC Berkeley spokesperson Adam Ratliff. 

“We are currently planning to move some remaining students living in some residential halls to help ensure we are balancing the need for physical distancing (also called ‘social distancing’) and ensuring no one is alone,” Ratliff said in an email. 

Moves are expected to be completed between April 14 and April 17. The front desks of students’ current units will provide up to seven boxes to help them pack, according to Ratliff. Residential and Student Services has also arranged for a moving company to help move packed and labeled boxes to students’ new spaces.

Students will be moving into single-occupancy rooms to ensure distance in compliance with current social distancing guidelines.

According to Ratliff, the goal of moving students is to have a consistent residence hall staff member with each student community. He added that wherever possible, UC Berkeley is trying to keep communities intact, as maintaining friendships is especially important during this time.

“I recognize that in the current situation, we do have a limited number of RA staff, and I pay full respect to them in light of the situation here,” said campus freshman Ruomu Xu. “If students are distributed to more places, the number will be even more limited. With more people around, we can all help each other.”

According to Xu, residential life staff sent an email outlining virtual resources, but most of the time, resident requests require in-person attention, such as backup keys or asking someone to turn off loud music at night. He added that with additional people around, including residential life staff, this will be easier to manage.

Some students said they are concerned about the impact consolidation will have on social distancing policies, as there will be a higher concentration of students in Units 1 and 2, especially in shared spaces such as bathrooms and elevators.

Campus junior Cantika Sasono, who currently lives in Unit 1, said even with a few people on her floor currently, it is uncommon for her to see other people in the bathrooms or halls. She added that she does not expect to see any new faces on her floor, as there are already people living there.

“Our highest priority is to ensure our student’s living communities are managed in a way that minimizes transmission of COVID-19, and that students have access to critical services and dining,” Ratliff said in the email.

Maria Young is the lead student life reporter. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @maria_myoung.