Campus Life is at a Minimum with 25 Students Living Under Housing Exceptions
As Elizabeth City State University administrators began implementing the UNC System’s guidance related to COVID-19, which included sending students home to continue coursework online, they knew there were students who may need housing assistance. That’s why housing exceptions were put in place.
Those exceptions include International student status, homelessness, significant financial hardship, the need for a safe environment, or other significant circumstances. If an exception was granted, those students are able to reside on campus for the remainder of the spring semester.
There are currently 25 ECSU students living on campus, according to Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Gary Brown. That means there are also ECSU staff members working on campus to assist those students with day-to-day life.
“We provided this option because we have students from a diversity of backgrounds that may have difficulties, and this is the institution’s way of supporting them,” said Mr. Brown.
The students are housed in the same residential hall and are living under the same stay-at-home orders as the entire state of North Carolina. Mr. Brown said they are being asked to practice social distancing, not congregating in groups, and to limit their activities to the essential needs such as leaving for food.
“In general, if they’re going to a place for food or the doctor, they can do that, “ said Mr. Brown.
Meals, he said, are being provided to them just as they would during a normal semester. The difference is, however, that these students are receiving take-out meals from the campus food services and returning to the residential hall.
While the ECSU campus is quiet and activity is at a low point, the home of the Mighty Vikings is still open. That means that although the majority of students are taking their courses online, from home, there a number of staff required to keep the campus operating day-to-day.
With 25 students currently living on campus, employees from food services and residential life are essential to operations.
“We have residential life staff on site for them,” said Mr. Brown. “We have staff with a limited presence if they need someone they need to see.”
Campus police is working around the clock to not only protect students living on campus, but also to keep the grounds and buildings safe. Facilities is also doing its part to keep the university running smoothly during a time when operations are at a minimum on campus.
Mr. Brown says that all students, whether living on or off campus, should download the app, Vikings Engaged app. Introduced last spring, the app gives students direct access to a number of services such as counseling services, he said.
“Every department at the university has a channel and they can push information to the students,” said Mr. Brown.
The university has also been working with students who do not have access to the technology needed to work online. If a student is homebound during this time, or living on campus, Mr. Brown says ECSU is committed to their wellbeing and their quality education.