1,200 rooms still contain student belongings as university weighs retrieval options

OHARE will communicate directly with students to schedule returns to campus to retrieve belongings, according to a May 1 email.

Sunlight+streams+through+tree+in+front+of+Cole+hall

Mattigan Kelly

Dozens of students who plan to live in residential halls like Cole Hall could end up displaced or face financial burdens if Vanderbilt changes its plans at the last minute. (Hustler Multimedia/Mattigan Kelly)

Emma Mattson, Copy Editor

In light of Nashville’s plans to reopen, Vanderbilt has begun weighing plans which would allow students back to campus to retrieve their belongings.

Nashville Mayor John Cooper announced on Thursday that the city would transition into Phase 1 of reopening. This decision lifts some restrictions in the “Safer at Home” order. For example, Phase 1 allows restaurants and retail stores to open at reduced capacity beginning May 11.

Meanwhile, in an email sent on May 1, the Office of Housing and Residential Experience (OHARE) announced they were finalizing a retrieval plan and hoped to begin the process in the coming weeks.

“Once the university determines conditions are appropriate, we’ll put a plan into motion that will allow access to students and their families, while following safety protocols such as social distancing, wearing of masks and ensuring limited density of individuals in any campus residence at one time,” a university spokesperson wrote in a May 8 email to The Hustler. 

According to the spokesperson, 600 student rooms have been prepared for use by Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) staff, but approximately 1200 rooms, unused by medical staff, still contain student belongings that have neither been packed nor stored.

OHARE will communicate directly with students to schedule time slots to return to campus to retrieve belongings, the spokesperson said, but students are encouraged to adhere to their home states’ specific guidelines and stay-at-home orders.

In the meantime, details remain uncertain for undergraduate on-campus housing in the fall.

“As we look at possible scenarios of holding in-person classes on campus in the fall, we are considering a number of housing options for students,” the spokesperson said. “No final decisions have yet been made. However, we have granted some requests for off-campus housing – as we do each year.”