Earlier today, students across campus received a notice that left some reeling: all students living in any of Concordia’s three residences will need to leave their dorms in four days due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the statement, this move was made for the safety of students living in residence, as social distancing is proving difficult to practice. This decision affects all students living at the Grey Nuns Residence downtown and the Hingston Residence and the Jesuit Residence’s at Loyola. Over 800 students are currently living in Concordia’s residences.
According to the statement, “exceptional circumstances” may prevent some students from leaving by the March 22 deadline. In this case, students are advised to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Concordia has sent The Concordian a statement regarding the residents being asked to leave.
“We are seeking to protect the health of our community both as a whole and as individuals. We are currently working to identify those to whom exceptional circumstances apply, including students unable to return to their home. Accommodations will be provided to all those who need it. This is not a decision we took lightly and we understand the stress it is causing. Social distancing measures that everyone right now is aiming for are hard to maintain in residences and this decision was taken with the well-being of students in mind.”
Aurélie Garrone, a first year international student from France who currently lives in residence is one of hundreds directly affected by the situation. The psychology major student arrived in Montreal in January to begin her degree.
“If Canadian borders close, and assuming that I get repatriated, I’m not sure when I can come back to Concordia,” said Garrone.
Garrone said she has nowhere else to go. According to her, the university sent the students in residence emails about new rules but never mentioned the possibility of being kicked out.
“I feel anxious because I don’t know what to do or where to go, and if I have to travel to France I’ll be at higher risk of contracting the virus and passing it on to my family when I arrive,” said Garrone.
According to Armand Kabanga Ciowela, a first year aerospace engineering student from Senegal, the university assured students living in the residence that they would be able to stay in their dorms until the end of the semester. He said while he understands that evacuating from the dorms is important, because self-isolation is difficult as all of the students eat at the same cafeteria and use the same bathrooms, giving them only four days is not enough.
“We have to pack up while looking for a place to go to,” said Kabanga Ciowela.
Patrick Quinn, Academic and Advocacy coordinator at the CSU, said the decision is “rushed, irresponsible and outright cruel.”
“I’m not even 100 per cent sure if this is even legal or not, it really depends on what the leases of the students say, but from my understanding this might not be covered in their lease and students might have the right to stay,” said Quinn.
Quinn continued that rather than protecting students and minimizing risk of infection, this decision makes students more vulnerable and more at risk.
“We’re listening, we’re here for you, we’re fighting for you,”said Quinn.
According to Concordia’s statement, students will be eligible for a refund, both for their rent and meal plan as of the date they leave.
For more info, https://www.concordia.ca/covid19info/students/residence.html?fbclid=IwAR3KqIthU5rYoYoCF-3tHUfPZhCUMG3Bo-qyV9CuofbQwPqRlLTTHcyAok8
As this situation is developing, this article will be updated.