The University of Delaware will bring more than three times the number of students into its dorms next month for spring semester than it had in the fall.
UD rep Caitlin Olsen told the Newark City Council Monday night that the university intends to bring nearly 4,000 students into dorms.
It’s roughly 60% of the campus’s dorm population during a non-COVID-19 semester.
“That’s the plan,” Olsen said. “But we never really know who’s going to show up.”
In the fall, the school deliberately chose to allow only a small number of students in dorms because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of those invited to return were people who had to have in-person classes for their majors or didn’t have another living situation.
It’s been a fortuitous choice. There’s also been a surge in positive COVID-19 cases after the December holidays, and health officials fear a more infectious strain of the virus taking hold in the United States like it has overseas, as vaccinations begin.
Students living on campus will be spaced out in the buildings, Olsen said. Only one student per dorm room is permitted for the semester.
The school also plans to keep some of its dorm rooms empty for students who may need to quarantine during the semester.
The first rumblings of bringing students back to main campus came from UD President Dennis Assanis during a town hall meeting in October, during which Assanis detailed the school’s financial woes.
Those included revenues lost when students didn’t return to campus, such as food service and parking fees.
The school has said it will have more hybrid and in-person classes in the spring than it did in the fall. Many of the fall offerings were all online.
The university also has announced it will not dismiss classes for a spring break. That will help avoid students being exposed to the virus and bringing it back to campus, where more cases could spread into Newark and Delaware.
Olsen also mentioned during the council meeting that the school intends to full comply with the state on how to distribute vaccinations when the time comes.