By Karen Kelly

Over the coming week, more than 3,000 students are moving into residence buildings on the Carleton University campus, making use of a new drive-through system to check into their building. After adapting to the ups and downs of the past year, Laura Storey, the director of Housing and Residence Life Services, is excited to welcome them back.

Laura Storey

Housing and Residence Life Services Director Laura Storey

“We are very prepared for any changes going forward,” says Storey, whose team developed FAQs to answer student questions.

“We’re hoping the vaccine requirement will allow us more freedom to provide an exciting experience where students can feel fully supported and part of our community.”

Under the current restrictions, students will be able to eat in the cafeteria and hang out in student lounges in small groups. But Storey knows that could change very quickly and her team will once again be supporting students with either limited ability to socialize or those who are totally isolated in their rooms.

“At one point last year, we were supporting 120 students who were confined to their rooms, either because of travel quarantines, exposure or infection,” she recalls.

“Creativity was born out of necessity. We would get calls from someone who just wanted a banana or a bag of chips. So we created care packages for everyone in isolation for more than four days. We also made a Harry Potter-style cart with all kinds of treats and snacks that would roll through the hallways.”

Harry Potter-style cart

While helping students stave off boredom, Storey and her team also had to address the serious physical and mental health challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

They now have a building set aside for quarantine and isolation. Each room is equipped with linens, a microwave, kettle, cleaning supplies and meal delivery. Her team will also support the delivery of any academic supplies a student might need.

The residence team works closely with Health and Counseling Services to provide virtual nursing and mental health support, including a 24/7 help line.

Last winter, a resident who had tested positive for COVID-19 at a hospital and could not find a cab or Uber driver to bring her home. After helping that student, the Carleton team arranged a shuttle service that will provide transportation for any COVID-positive residents.

“There was a lot of worry and stress over the past year, but we proved that we are adaptable and good at managing things in a crisis,” says Storey.

“I’m proud that we were able to keep our students and staff safe.”

A hooded sweatshirt on display in the Carleton University Bookstore

More Stories

Tuesday, August 31, 2021 in , ,
Share: Twitter, Facebook

More Stories