By Kait Bedell – News Editor
Three Resident Assistants (RAs) have drafted a proposal for the COVID-19 task force to allow residential life restrictions to be lifted enough for students to be allowed to congregate with a few other students within their dorms.
During their recent training session via Zoom prior to the start of Spring semester, several RAs, including sophomore Spencer Fulone, expressed their concerns regarding students not being able to socialize in a normal way.
“Us RAs, we totally understand what everyone is going through on campus and they’re not alone because RAs themselves are going through it as well,” Fulone said. “We all have singles for the most part so we have the same feelings towards this as most other people.”
Head of the COVID-19 task force, Dean David Hennessey, was on the Zoom training session with the RAs and encouraged those concerned to bring forward a proposal to the task force.
Hennessey said although Lasell wants to keep campus as safe as possible, the task force also recognizes that the social aspect of college life is important.
“We’re social animals, this is hard for people,” Hennessey said. “And this just isn’t the experience that you all came here for.”
The concern that the task force and RAs have with lifting some of the residential hall restrictions is the possibility of a spike in COVID-19 cases. Since the holiday season, Lasell, as well as other nearby schools, has seen a rise in cases as expected, which is why the Task Force has tried to stay proactive.
Although the possibility of new, looser restrictions is something in the works, Hennessey said the school would first have to see a decline in case numbers. In order to see a change in the residential halls, Hennessey said the students will have to do their part by cooperating with the rules that are in place.
“The safer the campus is—the easier it is to make changes,” Hennessey said.
While the RAs and the task force say they want to see changes made, their first priority is to keep campus safe and cases low.
Fulone says the RAs had to consider a way to smoothly transition into fewer restrictions, and that safety played a part in the design of their proposal. “We don’t want to come up with something that is too drastic that would most likely cause a spike, so we had to bring that into the proposal itself,” he said.
One of the possibilities mentioned is the idea of using a pod system. Students would be allowed to place a few names of close friends on a list who they would be allowed to have in their room. This would make contact tracing easier and help manage cases.
The task force first saw the proposal on Tuesday, February 16, and reviewed it again on Monday, February 22.
Hennessey said there likely won’t be any decisions made for some time. This is an ongoing proposal that will require much discussion and adaptation to the constantly changing circumstances.
“We understand our students,” Hennessey said. “At some point, we want to be able to say yes to this.”