In light of COVID-19, students decide to stay or go

Kathy Webb (left) and sophomore Kate Frankowski-Webb (right) pack belongings into a moving trailer March 13 following UCA’s cancelling of in-person class due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Frankowski-Webb said she is moving back to Rogers, Arkansas, and will complete her classes from there.

After UCA made the announcement Thursday, March 12, to move classes online, many students loaded their belongings into their vehicles and left campus to finish the semester at home.

However, as of Wednesday, March 18, there are still about 1,600 students who stayed on campus.

UCA will not provide refunds to students who decide against finishing their stay on campus. However, the university will ensure students don’t lose dining dollars. Unused dining dollars from this semester will carry over to the summer and fall semesters.

Director of Media Relations Amanda Hoelzman said housing has no plans to reassign residents at the moment, but they have “identified a few necessary moves,” which means students remaining on campus should prepare to move to a different room or hall.

Even though dorms are typically small spaces, social distancing has not been challenging.

“As some students have chosen to move out, it has allowed some students in smaller spaces to move into larger, individualized spaces. This alone has helped with social distancing within the housing units,” Hoelzman said.

Housing has stopped visitation to the residence halls with the exception of students and staff with a Bearcard that allows them access to the halls.

Senior Yannick Nzinga, who is from Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, will finish his semester on campus, and he feels it will be challenging. 

“It sometimes feels depressing to be on campus when almost everyone is gone,” said Nzinga. 

As an international student, it is difficult being away from his family during this time. 

“I have to call my parents every day to prevent them [from] worrying too much for me,” Nzinga said.

Nzinga said the Student Health Center has been very helpful during this time.

With on-campus acitivities cancelled and classes being moved online, Nzinga has more free time on his hands and wants to use it as a learning opportunity. 

“I try to use this time to learn new skills online that I would not have been able to do with my busy class schedule,” Nzinga said.

Other on campus services like the HPER and Torreyson Library had originally remained open with modified hours, but they are now closed. The Christian Cafeteria is offering to-go meals only. Their new hours are 8-9 a.m.; 11 a.m.-1 p.m.; and 4-6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11 a.m.-1 p.m. and 4-6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

For more updates on closures and modifications of essential services, visit https://uca.edu/coronavirus/essential-services/.

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