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Queen’s University to open residences to single, first-year students

Watts Hall, one of Queen’s University’s residence buildings. Kingstonist file photo.

Queen’s University is planning to open residences for single-occupancy and single plus rooms for incoming first-year students.

This is part of the plan to integrate first-year students into the Queen’s community while maintaining and upholding public health guidelines.

Because of this, the university will not be able to uphold their residence guarantee for all first-year students and are “currently developing a process for students to outline their individual circumstances that would support their need to live on campus in the fall,” according to a statement released by Queen’s to first-year students. The statement also said that the University is unsure when final decisions about who will be eligible for residence in the fall will be made. There will be a refund option for students who submitted a deposit and will not get a residence room.

For the 2019-2020 school year, residence prices ranged anywhere from $7,500 to $16,000, and for the upcoming school year, single-plus rooms, which include a shared washroom attached to the room are $16,605, and a single room is $15,607. While the cheaper, multiple occupancy options won’t be available, the university is “exploring additional price options for single occupancy at lower rates.” The statement also provided a link for financial assistance programs that the university provides.

As for dining halls, the Queens Hospitality Service is exploring a number of different operation changes for the upcoming year in partnership with the KFLA Public Health.

First-years won’t be the only ones coming to Kingston in the fall. Kingstonist spoke with several upper-year Queen’s students predominantly from Ottawa and the GTA, and all of them said they were planning on coming back to campus. Many of them cited the competitive housing market in the Queen’s area of Kingston as a reason they are moving back, and many of them signed leases for the following year long before the University said that it would be moving online for the fall.

Patrick Singal is a mechanical engineering student from Etobicoke Ontario entering his fourth year in September. Due to the lease he signed in February with five other housemates, he is coming back to Kingston for the fall semester. He also does not want to miss out on the “intangible aspects of university” that living with housemates will provide.

“There is absolutely nothing fun or deeply-rewarding about doing an online class. It’s just getting through the work,” he said

“You go to university to learn and really grow as a person, nobody grows by watching lecture videos on their computer.”

Queen’s is also a notorious party school and Claire Vandesande, a second-year biology student with a specialization in and residence don, is worried that her peers are not going to be respectful of social distancing.

She works at a hospital in Ottawa as a patient attendant working with COVID patients and has seen the impacts of the disease first-hand.

“I am worried about how social distancing is going to be practiced in a university setting. I think there’s going to be a lot of rules ignored because of the party culture,” she said.

“I fear that one person gets it and it is going to spread everywhere. Even if I am being super-careful, maybe one of my housemates isn’t being so careful.”

She is also worried about what the situation will do for relationships between housemates.

“You don’t only have to trust yourself that you aren’t putting others and yourself in danger, you also have to trust your housemates. and I think that could be a place for a lot of conflict because there are a lot of different levels on how seriously people are taking this,” Vandesande expressed.

According to Chief Medical Officer of KFL&A Public Health, Dr. Kieran Moore, there is a chance that Kingston will see up to 100 cases of COVID-19 per day in the fall however,

“KFL&A Public Health is working closely with post-secondary institutions in our region as they plan their next steps,” said Suzette Taggart, the Manager of Communications for KFL&A Public Health in a statement to Kingstonist. “We are working in partnership to ensure that the health of our community is protected.”

For more information on how Queen’s is proceeding with residence visit this site.

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One thought on “Queen’s University to open residences to single, first-year students

  • June 2, 2020 at 10:01 pm
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    Although I empathize with the students wanting the university experience, reading that they plan to return to Kingston for online studies is very concerning. I understand that some students are currently returning to continue their studies in health related fields and these students must follow strict guidelines. Many will be involved with vulnerable patients on placements and as a result will be subject to ongoing Covid screening. The other students who are returning for online studies could pose a significant risk. Not only upon their arrival from cities with higher rates of Covid 19, but with every trip to and from their home city. I wonder if the colleges and Queens could partner with KFL&A public health to encourage voluntary Covid testing for these students upon their return?

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