Hundreds of UAA students quickly move out of dorms, while some prepare to hunker down on campus

Cardboard containers are stacked in a vacant foyer at UAA’s East Corridor on Wednesday after college students shortly moved out of their dorms. (Tegan Hanlon/Alaska Public Media)

Keon O’Brien is a sophomore on the College of Alaska Anchorage, and he was at his pizza supply job at Domino’s final week when he obtained the message.

“I used to be at work, it was the center of the lunch rush,” he stated. “I see the e-mail, and I open it up and I see spring break is prolonged for every week, and I used to be like, ‘Sure, one other week of break.’ After which I learn the second paragraph, and I used to be like, ‘Oh, no.’”

That second paragraph stated college students throughout the College of Alaska system needed to transfer out of their dorms for the remainder of spring semester in an effort to sluggish the unfold of coronavirus. Like different universities throughout the globe, UA is shifting most of its lessons on-line and shutting down almost all of scholar life on campus. It’s one of many many precautions taken because the coronavirus state of affairs develops at a dizzying velocity.

Associated: Coronavirus forces University of Alaska to move classes online, extend spring break

About 1,600 college students dwell in dorms throughout the UA system, together with roughly 500 on the Anchorage campus — about 4% of the coed physique within the metropolis. Practically all of them needed to shortly pack up and transfer out. However some have nowhere else to go.

“The following factor I did was name my dad and mom,” O’Brien stated.

Keon O’Brien is a sophomore at UAA who lately moved out of his dorm. (Tegan Hanlon/Alaska Public Media)

O’Brien’s dad and mom dwell in Anchorage, however they gained’t for for much longer. His dad is within the navy and has been assigned to a base in Nebraska. Now, O’Brien will go together with them.

“There’s a variety of uncertainty and a variety of chaos,” he stated. “And I feel the sensation of tension is fairly common, not only for residential college students, however all college students.”

In only a couple days, O’Brien packed up his bedding, his books, his garments and his PlayStation and left campus. So did about 300 different UAA college students. They fluctuate broadly in main, hometown and age.

“We now have college students who’re 17, we’ve got college students who’re 60, who dwell on campus. So we actually do serve a variety of individuals,” stated Ryan Hill, the interim director of residence life at UAA.

Ryan Hill is the interim director of residence life at UAA. (Tegan Hanlon/Alaska Public Media)

Hill labored all through final weekend serving to college students transfer out of their rooms. By the center of the week, lots of the college buildings had been quiet and largely empty.

Read more of Alaska Public Media’s coverage of the coronavirus.

At East Corridor on Wednesday, stacks of cardboard containers had been piled within the foyer and a set of scholars’ undesirable gadgets crowded one other nook: towels, a lamp, a fan — the remnants of a rushed evacuation.

Hill stated the college is doing every thing it could to assist college students get dwelling.

“It’s actually vital that they go away,” he stated. “That is an unprecedented pandemic that we’re coping with. And what we’re listening to from public well being officers is that we’re simply at the start.”

The gadgets that college students left behind at UAA’s East Corridor after they moved out of their dorms. (Tegan Hanlon/Alaska Public Media)

In response to Hill, UAA is shopping for college students aircraft tickets dwelling if they will’t afford them. It’s refunding college students for his or her housing and eating charges for the a part of the semester they’ll now not be on campus. Additionally, if a scholar can’t make it again to campus after spring break, workers will field up and mail their belongings.

On the identical time, Hill stated, UAA can also be weighing college students’ requests to remain within the dorms. Some don’t have anyplace else to dwell or can’t get dwelling.

“Not solely is UAA college for our college students, nevertheless it’s additionally, for a lot of of them, their dwelling,” he stated.

A dorm room at UAA {that a} scholar moved out of after the college system requested college students to depart on-campus housing in an effort to sluggish the unfold of coronavirus. (Tegan Hanlon/Alaska Public Media)

A kind of college students is Antonia Soto. She’s a 22-year-old junior at UAA and a graduate of Anchorage’s East Excessive College. She stated when she heard she needed to transfer out of the dorms, she instantly known as her mother.

“We had been identical to, you realize, freaking out collectively about the place I used to be going to go,” Soto stated. “She was like, ‘I don’t know the place we’re going to place you. What’s gonna occur?’”

Soto stated her mother’s home is packed. Her aunt and three cousins lately moved in after their trailer dwelling burnt down. Her brother and sisters additionally dwell there.

Antonia Soto (left) and Mandie Stoll each acquired exceptions to remain of their on-campus dorms on the UAA this semester.(Tegan Hanlon/Alaska Public Media)

So when she obtained the UAA type about exceptions to shifting out, she stated: “I stuffed it out as quickly as doable. I used to be like, ‘Yeah, I don’t have anyplace else to go.’”

UAA granted Soto’s request to remain on campus. In addition they stated 20-year-old Mandie Stoll may keep. Stoll is from Hawaii, and she or he stated she frightened about flying dwelling. She has put Anchorage as her everlasting residence since she moved to Alaska in 2017.

“That is the place I name dwelling now,” she stated.

About 120 others, together with worldwide college students, may even hunker down in UAA buildings and experience out at the very least a part of spring semester, if not all of it.

“I’ve by no means lived by way of something as severe as this,” Stoll stated. “So I’m positively scared, however I feel the college has executed an amazing job in making an attempt to calm us down and to maintain us knowledgeable.”

Associated: Berkowitz issues an emergency ‘hunker down’ order for Anchorage residents, effective Sunday

Soto stated she feels grateful. However she additionally feels a little bit responsible about all her buddies pressured to maneuver, together with those that needed to go away their Anchorage jobs behind.

Hill stated UAA workers will proceed to feed college students. They’re changing a eating corridor to a take-out service. In the meantime, professors are within the technique of determining tips on how to ship their lessons remotely beginning subsequent week.

Associated: What are your questions about the coronavirus in Alaska? What do you want us to know?

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