Stevens asking students to move out of campus housing by next week as COVID-19 precaution

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The Stevens Institute of Technology has asked students to move out of campus housing by next week a strong precautionary move during the COVID-19 pandemic, an action that Mayor Ravi Bhalla doesn’t agree with.

Photo via thebestschools.org.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“This communication applies to students in campus residence halls, Stevens-owned Greek houses, the Lore-el Center and CARE House or in one of several off-campus buildings in the Stevens leased housing (SLH) program,” Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs Sara Klein wrote in an email to Stevens housing residents yesterday.

“Students in these buildings are being asked to move out by Friday, March 27th, which allows a 10-day period (from the original announcement) in order to stagger appointments and limit the congregation of people who are moving out in any particular time period.”

She further stated that that students who plan to move out but cannot meet the March 27th deadline by filling out an extension request online.

For those traveling a significant distance and do not have the option to move back home or return to campus can have their belongings packed and kept at a local storage facility until August – or have them shipped home – with the university covering the costs.

Students seeking exceptions have also been asked to complete a form online in the next 48 hours to be considered.

“Please note that the decision to implement a move-out policy for students in the Stevens housing program was made expressly with the goal of reducing community spread COVID-19 in the weeks and months ahead,” the email also says, noting that they understand the order is coming after Hoboken declared a “self-isolation” policy.

In response, Mayor Ravi Bhalla said in a Nixle alert to residents that he “asked Stevens to consider alternative arrangements.”

While that did not happen, he reiterated that Stevens will consider allowing students to stay on campus if they put in a formal request, as well as not requiring students already home to come back to school.

“I strongly suggest those students and parents make that direct request to delay moving out if they so wish, due to COVID-19 concerns,” Bhalla wrote.

“I urge Stevens in the strongest terms to consider the very legitimate health concerns of those students who wish to remain in self isolation, at home or on campus, and not be forced to move out at this time.”

Stevens has been extremely proactive in preparing for COVID-19, cancelling upcoming “large discretionary gatherings” in the beginning of the month before switching to online classes on March 11th.

There haven’t been any confirmed cases of the coronavirus at Stevens as of this writing, but the city has announced 13 positive cases as of last night.