Campus News

RAs prepare for an unusual semester

Photo courtesy of @husmanhallxu on Instagram

WRITTEN BY ANDREW ZERMAN

This year, the RAs have been given the dual task of being students and making sure that their residents abide by Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines. As Xavier is embarking in unprecedented waters, RAs are among those who must navigate these uncertain times. 

Per reopening guidelines, students are expected to wear masks in the halls, with the exceptions of their own dorm and when they are eating. There are also limits on guests that on-campus residents can have over, and these limits vary among the residence halls. 

All of these new restrictions have led to some interesting scenarios, including online hall meetings and socially distanced movie nights. 

While RAs look to be friendly and personable, the job of Fenwick RA Emmy Rice is to ensure safety policies are followed. 

“The most difficult part of my job this upcoming semester will be reinforcing the mask-wearing policies and the guest limits, without a doubt,” Rice said. “Residents should be expecting a lot of social distance measures and strict rules on mask-wearing. They should also expect limits on social outings with large groups.”

There also lingers the possibility that a student working for the Office of Residence Life (ResLife) could contract the virus. If an RA is to become sick, the other RAs within the building would have more ground to cover until a replacement was found. 

“If an RA were to get the virus, it would not be much different than if a student were to get it,” Rice added. “(The RA) would be in quarantine and everything would be online. If an RA were to drop out, however, there is an alternate list of people to take their spot.”

Despite the protocols that Xavier and ResLife have set forth, stopping students from engaging in risky off-campus activities such as parties and other gatherings will be more difficult to enforce. 

“If any students are found to be partying off-campus without practicing social distancing guidelines or wearing a mask, that students could, among other punishments, face suspension or expulsion,” Buenger RA Andrew Geraghty said. 

Geraghty had a pessimistic tone, but still expressed faith in the rules and procedures that the university has put into place to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

“When looking at statistics, I believe that it is not a matter of if students will be infected on campus, but when,” Geraghty said. “Our policies and teams will likely have to be able to withstand multiple cases of COVID-19 on campus, but I have trust in ResLife to do their absolute best work to keep students safe.”

Geraghty highlighted the importance of putting others before yourself and associated this idea with Xavier’s values. 

“With a pandemic, the safety and health of all students supersede the right of others to gather in large groups,” he adds. “It is time to see if Xavier students can live up to ‘All For One and One For All.’”

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