The number of students living on campus has increased as more classes return to in-person and UCF resumes full operations for the fall semester, according to school housing officials.
Meredith Varner, the associate director of housing administration, said the number of students living in dorms this semester is close to 8,000, in comparison to 6,300 students last fall. She also said the safety protocols have changed due to the pandemic.
“We have increased the frequency of cleaning in high-touch areas like elevators or door handles,” Varner said.
Varner said more students were willing to have roommates this semester, compared to last fall.
Some students said they were apprehensive about moving into the dorms, like Chris Santiago, a freshman and digital media student. He said this fall semester was his first time living in a dorm.
Santiago said he had to move into the dorms regardless of his concerns that transmission numbers in Orange County are still high. With the new measures put in place, he said, he is beginning to feel more at ease.
“I feel safe right now living in a dorm because everyone has either been vaccinated or has taken the proper precautions in my dorm,” Santiago said.
Varner said students were required to use a COVID Self-Checker this semester to show they were healthy enough to move in.
The COVID Self-Checker is an online tool for students, faculty and staff to screen themselves for symptoms of the pandemic virus.
"(They had to) display the screen showing they were cleared to be on campus in order to received their room key,” she said.
Students who were not cleared using the self-checker were then required to take a rapid COVID-19 test at Student Health Services, Varner said.
Regardless of COVID risks, she said, UCF housing does not expect to lower the capacity of residents for spring semester.
“We will see a small dip in the number of students living on campus in spring, due to graduations and cancellations, but we also will welcome new students for spring to fill up those spaces," Varner said.