Prentiss-Lucas hall has opened again for the 2020-21 school year due to new COVID-19 regulations.
Prentiss-Lucas originally closed after the Spring 2019 semester due to decreasing enrollment rates.
Housing and Residence Life Director Paula Scheevel said they looked into closing other residence halls before closing Prentiss-Lucas.
“[We chose] Prentiss-Lucas just because as you looked at the task to-do list in each of the residence halls, the task list was longer,” Scheevel said. “It needs a new roof, it needs tuck pointing for the bricks outside, it needs new windows, all very expensive items.”
Housing and Residence Life decided to open Prentiss-Lucas again due to the pandemic.
“When we knew that COVID was going to be part of our world in the fall, we were trying to determine what was the best way to help our students in the safest way possible,” Scheevel said.
“It seemed to be two things: one was to limit the density of the buildings overall and to limit the density of the bathrooms, and then to minimize the number of roommate’s shared space.”
Prentiss-Lucas in a normal school year houses 400 students. But during COVID, it houses 200 students due to each student having their own room.
“Generally, on the floors, you would have 50 people, and right now we have about 25, which is a really nice sized community,” Scheevel said.
By limiting housing to only single rooms, Housing and Residence Life are hoping that it will slow or stop the spread of COVID.
“[By having single rooms] you wouldn’t run into the situation where one roommate might be adhering to COVID social distancing and practices, and then another roommate who might not, then be exposing the other roommate,” Scheevel said.
In Prentiss-Lucas, students must adhere to the same COVID regulations that are on campus. Students are required to socially distance and wear a face covering when necessary.
Some students that were playing volleyball on campus were not adhering to these regulations.
“They had to wear masks while they played, and they just wouldn’t do it,” Scheevel said. “The volleyball nets are down now. No one student suffered the consequences of that, but the community did.”
Students who live in the dorms are trying to adhere to the regulations, but there are also students who are ignoring the regulations.
“I know that there are some students that are trying really hard, and I know some students have tremendous anxiety about this. They are working diligently to make sure everything is just right and they’re following all the rules,” Scheevel said. “But there are just way too many students who are at the opposite end of the spectrum that just don’t seem to care.”
Housing and Residence Life hopes that students will hold each other accountable.
“If people truly want to stay on campus, then they truly need to encourage their friends and neighbors to comply,” Scheevel said.
The opinions expressed in this paper are not necessarily those of Winona State University, the Minnesota State Colleges and University system, or the Winona State University student body.