Student News

Student Resources, Coronavirus Dorm Closures

Shawna Newman

March 20, 2020

Student Resources, Coronavirus Dorm Closures
Many college students living in dorms have been displaced due to Coronavirus-related closures. Some college students are currently on spring break with no shelter to return to; while others were informed their college, dormitories are now closed as the nation works to battles the COVID-19 crisis. For students out-of-state or international students this can be a scary time to have to navigate a life essential-shelter, as the Center for Disease Control has encouraged college administrators to “Limit events and meetings that require close contact.” Heeding the CDC’s advice, many colleges have closed their doors, moved to online learning and encouraged students to evacuate dorms for their safety; yet, some do not have the option to go home. For students that find themselves in this type of situation, there are resources and options that may offer help for stranded students looking for solutions and a safe place to stay. Looking for more COVID-19 student-impact information? Find it here.

What to Do If Your Dorm Has Closed Due to COVID-19

If your college resident halls are closed, be sure you reach out directly your campus’ housing office or student affairs office first. Many universities have contingency plans in place for students in special circumstances. Hopefully, they can provide you will all the resources you’ll need, even up to finding you a temporary housing solution. If you find you’re still struggling to find a place to stay, we’ve gathered a few ideas and emergency business resources that may help. • Reach Out to Local Friends/Friends’ Families: It’s heartwarming to hear about the togetherness a nation can reflect, even among the most troubling times. If they have the space, many friends wouldn’t mind your company. If your local friends don’t have space, ask if their family may have a pull-out bed or extra bedroom where you could crash during the quarantine. Offer to buy groceries, to cook or to help with household chores, such as cleaning, in exchange for a temporary place to sleep. • Contact Your University's Alumni Office: According to Buzzfeed, some college alumni “started crowdsourcing initiatives to help students who are low-income with housing or storing their belongings.” As this action was shared via social media, other college communities followed the same “we’re in this together” approach among their alumni communities.
A colleges’ alumni community typically spreads nationwide; there’s a possibility of many temporary housing options within your college’s alumni network exist. Contact your college’s alumni office to see if they can connect you with someone that could help. • Ask Local Charities/Humanitarian Programs for Help: Most university communities are full of many helpful charities and social clubs/programs. Leaders of these programs are typically willing to help out or help you find the right resources within their communities. From a helpful club member willing to host a displaced student to a charity willing to provide funding to help you find a place to stay, asking for help is okay. The American Red Cross’ Website provides an open shelter list for those enduring an emergency evacuation. Other community-focused charities and social clubs include: Rotary, The Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity, United Way and more. • Check for Room Rentals: Finding a roof to cover your head is important. If you’ve exhausted all resources, check popular home or room-rental sites close to your college campus. Although it’s no vacation, vacation rental sites such as Airbnb, HomeAway or VBRO offer rooms for rent in homes, cottages or apartments.
You could also try camping in a safe location close to campus, such as a state or national park. Outdoorsy offers rentals of pop-up campers and trailers with the availability to search for RV and trailers by location. Camping is a great alternative to the typical home social-distancing or quarantine. A change in scenery amongst nature, will provide you with great ways to keep boredom away!

Food Resources as Dorms Close

Shelter is not the only concern of students displaced due to university closure. If you’re dorm is closed, it’s likely your cafeteria is as well. How will you eat? Many college campuses offer a food pantry. Be sure to check with your student services office to see if a food pantry exists on campus. Hope4college mentions, some of these campus food pantries may even prepare bags of food for easy pick up. You can also call the Why Hunger hotline at 1-800-548-6479 to find a local food pantry nearby.

Other COVID-19 Student Resources

• If you need to move from your dorm Penske Trucks rents to 18 to 23 year-olds and will include a 10% college-student discount. • Hertz announced it lowered the car rental age and is eliminating its young-renter fee through the end of May. According to Hertz’s Senior Vice President Jayesh Patel, historic disruptions from COVID-19 are making it hard for young students and drivers to return home. Have you experienced displacement from the COVID-19 outbreak? Are there other Coronavirus-related student deals or resources available we have not mentioned? If so, we’d love to hear from you! Please share in our comments section below or sent us a DM via Twitter.

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