Quinnipiac University announced the addition of allowing prospective students and families into designated “showrooms” within the Irma and Commons residence halls during campus tours, the first university-sanctioned allowance of non-Quinnipiac students in residence halls.
Chief Experience Officer Tom Ellett sent out an email to the Quinnipiac community on March 21, to describe what these adjustments look like.
“As we prepare to welcome who we hope will be the newest members of our Bobcat family entering as part of this Fall’s incoming class, we are structuring campus tours specifically for accepted students,” Ellett said in the email.
Reserved tours for Quinnipiac’s class of 2025 are structured at a maximum of nine participants who must complete a prior health form and temperature check in addition to wearing masks during their time on-ground. Four participants are allowed into the residence halls for five minutes at a time, while the rest of the group waits outside.
“We have chosen a ‘show room’ room on the first floor that is closest to the exterior entrance/exit door so tours will not walk the hallways of the residence hall,” Ellett said in the email. “Tour participants cannot use the restroom in the residence hall or travel to any other part of the building.”
The changes align with the university’s recent steps to slowly reopen activities corresponding to the state relaxing some of its COVID-19 guidelines. However, some students within the Quinnipiac community are actively voicing their opinions about the university’s recent decision.
Julia Cogan, a first-year law in society major who lives in Commons, said by the time she received an email regarding the restructure, there were already tours occurring in the building.
“While I understand opening up is important for the economic component for the school, it’s easy to critique when you as the student, are receiving less than nothing in return,” Cogan said. “Honestly, it’s hard to have an opinion because it’s happening whether we like it or not.”
In contrast to Cogan’s ideas, other students feel that these changes come conjointly and timely with the structure of campus restrictions and guidelines.
“I think that as long as it’s not a double standard and students are allowed in other residence halls as well, then these changes are perfectly fine,” said Maddie Denvir, a first-year English major. “These past few days with more restrictions lifted, it definitely feels a lot more normal than it did the first semester and we will continue going back to normal safely and efficiently.”
Despite the continuation of weekly COVID-19 testing in March and encouraging community members to receive the vaccine at their designated time, some students feel that this change will undo all of the work that the university has done thus far in protecting students’ health and safety.
“Personally, I feel this decision to allow campus tours in residence halls undermines the idea of the ‘Bobcat Bubble’ because we as students have worked very hard to keep ourselves as well as other safe while upholding Quinnipiac’s restrictions,” said Brianna Loguercio, a junior accounting major. “Allowing individuals onto our campus who do not attend the weekly testings puts myself as well as others at risk.”
In addition to jeopardizing conditions on campus, Loguercio said she fears new difficulties might arise if potential exposure from tour participants affect COVID-19 rates on campus.
“I do fear that this could increase the risk of COVID-19 because individuals who are potentially not taking proper caution are now allowed to be on campus,” Loguercio said. “Additionally, I fear this new lessening of campus tour restrictions could send the wrong message to the students that are on campus, which could possibly sway the attitude of keeping the ‘Bobcat Bubble’ safe.”
Similar to Loguercio, other students are concerned about how these adjustments will come into play with COVID-19 rates on campus and more specifically, how the university would react to those situations.
“I do think that if these tours were to be the source of an outbreak in Commons or Irma, the school would not be prepared,” said Melissa Beretta, a first-year media studies major. “I am worried about my building going into specialized quarantine again because someone else brought (COVID-19) in.”
Beretta emphasized that she is optimistic about a sense of normalcy on campus, but said she feels that this decision should align with current students’ situation about allowing visitors on campus.
“I understand that the students need to see the dorm rooms before moving in, but there’s a reason they filmed tours of all the dorms on the school’s YouTube channel and should be promoting them,” Beretta said. “Parents are paying large sums of money to send their kids here and should be allowed their own touring system where they sign up for a time slot and are allowed to be in my room for a short period like the new prospective students.”
Ellett said students are encouraged to welcome prospective students to the QU community if they see them touring campus.