UNA restricts visitation inside residence halls


FLORENCE, Ala. — The University of North Alabama is updating its visitation policy for residence halls—but it’s not just for outside visitors.

UNA Housing and Residence Life released Monday morning that students living in residence halls and campus apartments are not allowed visitors for the Fall 2020 semester.

Housing and Residence Life Director, Jennifer Sutton, said it’s to minimize the spread and risk of COVID-19. “It’s pretty conducive to what most universities are doing and it’s just to keep the residential students safe,” she said. “There’s usually a high amount of traffic in and out of the halls and this way we’re able to keep the areas cleaned a little bit better as well as to be able to perform contact tracing and know exactly who is coming and where they are and who they’ve had contact with.”

The policy also states that students can only interact with the students in their respective residence hall. Visiting other residence halls is prohibited. Overnight guests are also prohibited—even for residents of the same hall.

Students are already speaking out in support of the policy change and how UNA is responding to COVID-19.

“I think UNA is handling it pretty well, said senior, Angela Cope. “We want to keep your life going, we want to keep it—not just stop it, but there has to be precaution.”

Junior, Cullen Wicker said he supports the policy change but has concerns that not all students will take it seriously. “I think it’s a pretty good policy, but I’m scared on how much they’ll be able to actually enforce it because people can pretty easily get into other dorms if people inside those dorms let them,” Wicker said. “They can say a lot of the guidelines are mandatory but I’m just a little concerned that doesn’t mean people will follow them.”

Another change in the policy is that roommates cannot switch unless it’s an emergency.

Sutton said Housing and Residence Life will continue to evaluate their plans and make sure that they’re following CDC, state, and county guidance for the health and safety of everyone on campus. She understands the fluid nature of the pandemic and said this plan is subject to change and residents would be made aware of any updates.

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