Amid COVID-19, UNO students asked to leave Dodge Campus residence halls


Leta Lohrmeyer

Grant Rohan

Students are being asked to move out of Dodge Campus residence halls amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo courtesy of UNO Communications

Students living on UNO’s Dodge Campus housing have been asked to relocate due to requirements from the state of Nebraska, confronting ongoing health and safety concerns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cathy Pettid, assistant vice chancellor of student success and dean of students said the state of Nebraska has asked UNO and other schools in the NU system to provide assistance with residence halls and were asked to have the Dodge campus residence halls vacated as soon as possible.

Residents of University Village and Maverick Village received a note from campus housing on Monday, April 6 that they would need to vacate their residence halls and be fully moved out by 5 p.m. on Friday, April 10.

“Their date was a little more aggressive than what we thought was fair and possible for our students,” Pettid said.

Students were asked to give notice by noon on Wednesday if they planned to move back home or transition to the Scott Campus housing. If students chose to move into Scott Housing, there would be no incurred expenses, and they would pay the same rates as they would for University or Maverick Village. The students who chose to leave the dorms were refunded 60% of their remaining housing contract for the inconvenience.

“We are working as closely as we can with these students. We recognize this is stressful and this is not ideal, but everyone is leaning in and doing what we can during this pandemic,” Pettid said.

Administrators have also been working to provide help for students who have to make an unexpected move. Pettid said many students have reached out to her this week asking for arrangements to be made with their professors to provide flexibility with classwork during the move.

“We also have the support of senior vice chancellor Sacha Kopp and the deans in recognizing that these students are going to need some flexibility this week as they’re having to pack and move,” Pettid said.

Second year resident assistant, David Thomsen, who is speaking on behalf of himself and not UNO’s department of housing and residence life, is one of those students packing up and moving back home. He said he will continue to be an RA, but in a different capacity, to continue commitment to residents.

“Since students will not live on Dodge campus after this week, some of the duties of the RA role will no longer occur, like being on-call and working the desk,” Thomsen said. “However, I am still responsible for my residents who decided to move to Scott campus. I will virtually check in on their physical and mental health throughout the week and direct them to campus resources if necessary.”

Thomsen said he has seen a lot of residents moving out due to COVID-19 and that the housing staff is adapting to follow social distancing.

“UNO housing has been flexible and creative with its move out process, as residents are able to check out online and return their apartment key to their personal mailbox to avoid in-person contact,” Thomsen said. “In my opinion, the checkout process has been excellent for residents so far.”

Campus housing staff have also provided a limited number of moving vehicles for those who may not have a vehicle or access to people who can help them move. The university is also providing students face masks, bandanas and hand sanitizer to practice safe hygiene during their move.

Thomsen said he’s grateful for both Housing and his fellow RA team for their positivity during the stressful week.

“We will get through this and we will come out stronger when we do,” Thomsen said.