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Deadline looms for Cal Poly families to decide whether to send students to live on campus

Cal Poly campus alexa.PNG
Posted at 6:34 PM, Aug 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-27 02:19:07-04

Many incoming Cal Poly freshmen and their families are grappling with some tough decisions when it comes to the new school year.

The deadline to make a decision on whether first-year students will stay on campus or live at home is 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday.

Move-in begins next week with classes kicking off on September 14.

The start of college is already proving to be an unusual one for first-year Cal Poly student Joshua Rodriguez.

"I thought I was going to have a thing like where I move in and then I meet my roommates and we're all going to have a really good time," Rodriguez said.

The university, however, just announced the decision to house students in single rooms only.

It says that no more than 5,150 students, most of them new students, will be living in on-campus housing. This is compared to the more than 8,000 beds normally available in University Housing.

"I am looking forward to moving in but I'm a little bit scared also because they made all these different last-minute things," said Jaxson Davis, another Cal Poly freshman.

In a lengthy letter to students and parents on Tuesday, President Jeffrey Armstrong explained that all students living on campus are required to test negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours of arriving on campus.

"I just think their decision to require testing and the rigor behind what they're doing is they're slow," said parent Kirsten Luehrs. "I would have hoped they would have made this decision and this announcement earlier and that has caused some stress."

Luehrs and her daughter are leaning toward on-campus living but they're struggling to make that decision.

"The more recent interpretation that Armstrong's message was telling people not to attend versus are you encouraging them to attend. It's very hard to interpret that like if you want to do the right thing. It's confusing," Luehrs said.

Roughly 12% of the university's 4,300 Fall Quarter classes will be offered in person. Enrollment data suggests that fewer than 6,000 students will be taking at least one in-person class this fall.
"It was a hard decision, though, because it's expensive to go on campus," Davis said.

"At least to me it seems like it will put me in a better like working space almost," Rodriguez added.

During a press conference on Wednesday, President Armstrong said, "Students or organizations that engage in behavior that compromises the health and safety of the Cal Poly or larger community will be sanctioned, including potential suspension or expulsion from the university."

The university also said on Wednesday that it has a building for COVID-19 isolation on campus with 117 apartment rooms if needed.

Cal Poly says it has the capability to do more than 600 tests per day at the on-campus student health center.

On Thursday at 4:30 p.m., Cal Poly will host a live town hall discussion on the rationale behind plans for Fall Quarter. The online event will feature a panel of epidemiologists and public health officers. For more information, click here.