As people decide whether gathering for the holidays is safe, college students are put into a difficult position: is it safe to travel home? For the first time, select students are able to stay on campus over winter break, but only international students and homeless students qualify.
New College students were encouraged not to return after Thanksgiving break, instead to take their final exams online from their home with the rising cases of COVID-19. However, students with concerns for their health or their families were not able to stay on campus without medical documentation.
“Currently any international student who is unable to return home may request permission to remain on campus for winter break and any student who has verified documentation that they are homeless,” Stier said.
Stier says it depends if the financial aid office deems the student to be considered homeless. In the past, campus housing over winter break was not available to students.
“Due to COVID-19, we are making a special exception to allow students to remain on campus during this winter break,” Stier explained. “In the past, students with housing insecurity were provided information on local resources to assist them with their housing needs during the winter break.”
To apply for winter housing, students had to submit a request on the ‘Housing Registration’ tab through the MyNCF portal. Thesis student Grant Brewer is one of the students approved to stay over winter break. Brewer noted that the application process was not a hassle.
“Honestly, it was pretty easy,” Brewer explained. “I just had to explain my situation, which isn’t something housing hasn’t heard before. I just hope they keep providing this every year after COVID. There are housing insecure students on campus, myself included, who needed this option years ago.”
Students remaining on campus will not have access to the cafeteria for food and would need to provide their own meals. Regina Rodarte, New College’s case manager, said she is willing to assist students with resources in regards to groceries and other expenses. Rodarte encouraged students to reach out and apply for the emergency fund.
“Any student dealing with housing or food insecurity can email case management for support at firstname.lastname@example.org and, as always, I will do my best to support and advocate for them,” Rodarte said.