Students Rapidly Move Out of Residence Halls, Relocate for Remainder of Semester

Carly Greaves

Most students of Manchester University had to make a rapid evacuation from their residence halls during spring break due to the North Manchester campus closing for the rest of the 2020 spring semester.

This sudden closure was the result of the swift spread of COVID-19, also referred to as the coronavirus, an infectious disease that is contracted mainly through person-to-person contact. Since COVID-19 can potentially be fatal, schools and colleges around the country have been closing their doors to prevent spreading the disease. As spring break approached, many Manchester students were already preparing themselves for an extended stay at home.

Still, many students were shocked when they received an email on March 17 from David McFadden, president of Manchester University, announcing that Manchester would be transitioning to online learning for the remainder of the semester. Soon afterward, students received another email from Jordan McIntyre, assistant director of residential life, informing them that all students would have to be moved out of their residence halls by March 22 at 9 p.m.

“I could not believe that we were actually closing,” said Madison Haines (pictured above), sophomore and East Hall resident assistant, when describing what she felt as she read the email. “I thought that we would just extend break longer.”

First-year Makayla Combs was also shocked. “I was incredibly upset about not being on campus anymore because it meant I would no longer be around the people I had grown so close to,” she said. “I was also stressed because of how quickly I needed to get my stuff out of the dorms.”
Students were asked in the email to sign up for different time slots to return to campus and remove all of their belongings from their rooms. This was done to make sure that students were in compliance with social distancing practices for safety. “I thought it was strange not seeing anyone moving out at the same time,” Haines said. “It honestly felt like a ghost town.”

First-year Cole Nugent agreed. “Moving out just felt really somber compared to move-in,” he said. “The whole atmosphere on campus just felt wrong.”

While the residence halls were unusually barren of people, many students were not alone in packing up their things. They could bring their family members to help, provided that they registered them when signing up for a time slot. “I was very fortunate to have two family members help me move out,” said Jennifer Budd, first-year. “I really appreciated their hard work, and it made everything run smoothly.”

Despite this assistance, many students still had some difficulties in moving out. More specifically, some students struggled to move their larger possessions. “My futon had to be separated and squeezed through the door and down the stairs,” Haines said. “Very tricky business.”

Combs had a different but still challenging issue. “The most unexpected thing was that I realized I needed to dismantle my lamp in order to get it in the car,” she said. “So I was outside, taking my lamp apart for a good 10 minutes.”

The students of Manchester University have only been at home for a couple of weeks, but already are eager to return. “I am extremely excited to get back to Manchester,” Combs said. “I would give anything to be back on campus with my friends and awesome professors. Manchester is truly my home away from home.”