Written by: Paige Riding, News Writer

The new school year brings in new and returning students from around the world to SFU Residence, but this year’s proceedings will not be the same as those of the past. 

Residence and Housing Communications representative Leon Kalligerakis elaborated via email on what SFU plans to do for its current and newly arriving residents in the Fall 2020 semester. They are following guidelines from the Provincial Health Authority and operating with limited services and at limited capacity. The summer term had just over 500 students living on campus. For the fall, Residence anticipates 800 or more students.

“Fall-term occupancy is likely to be approximately 50% of normal levels in buildings with shared washroom and kitchen facilities and higher in buildings with self-contained suites,” begins Kalligerakis. “All incoming residents have expressed a need to be living on campus for the fall term.”

With strict social distancing rules, there will be restrictions with off-Residence guests and the amount of residents in any one area at a time. Residence Life staff, those on the front lines ensuring the safety of residents, will have online orientation and will offer no in-person events.

Zoe Woods, Director Residence and Housing, spoke about Residence Life staff in an emailed statement to The Peak.

“Residence Life staff remain a vital link in our community and keep us connected to the pulse of our residence halls. We are so fortunate that they choose to call SFU home and continue to live and work within our SFU residence community.”

There is enhanced cleaning in “high touch areas” in living quarters like shared bathrooms and kitchens, and on door handles and elevator buttons. For those seeking support, the Residence and Housing office has newly installed plexiglass at the front desk, has heightened its cleaning procedures, and limits the amount of people inside at any one time. They encourage residents to phone or email for help whenever possible.

According to Kelligerakis, housing works with various SFU partners including Health & Counselling, Fraser International College, Campus Security, and International Services for Students “to offer support and resources to current and prospective resident students.” Kalligerakis also commended the efforts of Facilities Services working behind the scenes to keep spaces functional and clean for those on campus. 

With move-in scheduled for the first week of September, residents must reserve an appointment time over the three-day move-in period to head to their new dorm. 

“This will help to ensure that we are continuing to provide a safe environment during move in which includes social distancing measures,” the email continued. Students will receive information about moving in and COVID-19 measures implemented. Residence will continue updating their website and social media channels around new procedures as they develop. During move-in days, signs and staff will be around to guide residents where to go.

Residence and Housing’s website notes that, should a second wave occur any time during the school year, they will “encourage students to move out as early as they can, if this option is available to them, to reduce the risk of possible community transmission for health reasons.” This echoes what happened during the Spring 2020 semester; as the pandemic resulted in the province’s quarantine orders, Residence and Housing offered partial refunds for students who moved out before the end of their terms.