CHICAGO (CBS) — Colleges are debating how they can safely house students in the middle of a pandemic.
One local university is already warning they will not allow students to share bedrooms on campus.
CBS 2’s Tim McNicholas learned that could mean some major changes.
Blocks away from the Loyola University Chicago campus in Rogers Park, sophomore Sami Ackerman and her mother were coming up with a backup plan this week. They were apartment shopping, because they were not sure if the school would have a dorm available for Ackerman.
“All the apartments are getting taken very fast, and we still don’t know what the school is doing; how many classes are going to be in person; if it’s worth being there in person,” Ackerman said.
Loyola says if students return to campus in the fall, they only plan to allow one student per bedroom. So the traditional dorm setup with two beds per room is now off limits.
The school said in an email to students that they will have enough space for freshmen, but “any remaining on-campus space will be extremely limited.”
They will have room for some sophomores if their permanent address is too far, or, as the email says, “not commutable.”
“I don’t know what ‘commutable’ exactly means yet,” Ackerman said.
The Ackermans are from Bolingbrook. But with details still being worked out, they’re not sure if it makes the cut for being “commutable.”
“I know Loyola’s in a tough spot, but we feel we could get a little bit better information and know how many classes are going to be online,” Ackerman said.
Loyola is not alone in that tough spot. The DePaul University website said there will be campus housing in the fall, but they’re still working out plans, “including reduced occupancy in our buildings.”
The University of Illinois said it is also deciding, and will have more details soon.
“It’s very stressful,” Ackerman said.
The email Ackerman got also says the specifics are still being worked out. It said Loyola juniors, seniors, and grad students will automatically lose their fall housing contracts.
The school plans to help those students find other housing options.
Loyola students who made prepayments on their contracts will be refunded. The email also says Loyola will prioritize students granted an accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act for housing.