Ashland University ResLife revamps protocols and training for COVID-19

Taylor Kaye has a Friends inspired board on the second floor of Jacobs.


Taylor Kaye has a Friends inspired board on the second floor of Jacobs.

Chante Rutherford, Reporter

As Ashland University continues to navigate campus with new rules and regulations for COVID-19, the faculty and staff have taken action to make sure each student is prepared with the knowledge and precautions necessary. For many, the thought of coming back to campus was up in the air when considering the chance of getting in contact with the virus. But for the Residence Life Office here at AU, they have taken further precautions to make sure that each resident will feel safe and comfortable while going through the semester.

 With the updates comes the training of new Resident Assistants. For each R.A. residing in the various housing across campus, additional training about COVID-19 had to be added. 

“In addition to previous Resident Assistant training we added in policy changes related to COVID-19. We also discussed how the new social distancing policies might affect the mental health of our students and how RA’s can assist those residents,” says Christy Grundy, Director of Residence Life and Student Conduct at AU said.  “We did have a couple of RA’s that were in quarantine due to travel advisories and they participated via Zoom,” she added. Facilities even had the chance to come and speak with the staff and students on the cleaning protocols that would be changing to accommodate for Covid.

If any student gets in contact with or becomes positive with Covid, AU offers “isolation dorms” and their needs will be accommodated. 

“We do have isolation spaces on campus. They would work with our Health Center and local Health Department on protocol for isolation. If a student is assigned to a space, Safety Services would open the room for them.  We would notify dining that the student needed meals delivered and a Care Team member would contact them,” Grundy said.

For the students who are RA’s, they are tasked with keeping their residence safe and making sure that they are following the rules put in place including following COVID-19 guidelines. 

Katie Snell, a sophomore RA in Clark, hopes this year goes well. She, like any other person, have her concerns with people following the new set of rules.

“I was concerned about how we as RA’s were supposed to enforce things like mask wearing and physical distancing because we can’t always be on top of our residents,” Snell said. “We just have to hope they’re doing the right thing.”

When RA’s take their nightly rounds though their respective dorm halls, there is an increased search for people not following the rules

“Even when we’re not on rounds we’re asked to still look out for people not wearing masks, people not physically distancing, and [we are] asking them to correct it,” Snell added.

Katie Snell has a fruit themed board on the second floor of clark detailing the rules and guidelines for covid this semester. (Submitted by: Katie Snell)

To help their residence stay aware, the bulletin boards each floor has gives them information which was given to them by the university.

“We had creative freedom with how the board can look but it had to include the COVID-19 and campus guidelines,”Junior RA in Kilhefner Hall, Caleb Crowley said. Crowley made sure to emphasize on the ways to stay safe. “From wearing your mask, to washing your hands, to doing the assessment on CampusShield, the resources we were given are here to keep you safe.”

Residents have even emailed their RA’s to ask questions about the safety of the floor.

“Some people emailed me before everyone moved onto campus and were concerned about how we were going to enforce the policies in the dorms,” Taylor Kaye, a second year RA in Jacobs said.  While the worries did arise, Kaye made sure that Ashland has protocols in place to ensure the year goes smoothly.

“The University is really trying everything to keep us safe. Yes, we are not testing everyone but they put in every possible measure to keep everyone safe and healthy.”

On the AU website, the “ Stronger Together, SaferTogether” campaign has material for not only students, but for their families and faculty too.