Pitt-Greensburg enacted a new dorm visitation policy this semester in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with the goal of making residence halls safer.
In College Hall and Robertshaw Hall, each room is only allowed one visitor. This is because of the more traditional dorm setup. However, in the Academic Village, Westmoreland Hall, and University Courts where there’s additional space, residents are allowed to bring in two guests at a time.
Everyone in the residence hall must wear masks and practice social distancing. Also, off-campus visitors are not permitted, including commuters. The full policy can be found here.
Troy Ross, director of Housing and Residence Life, believes that students need to hold themselves accountable.
“Each and every person should feel a responsibility to abide by these,” Ross said.
Community Assistants (CAs) and Resident Directors (RDs) are responsible for making sure residents abide by the rules. They have to ensure all of their residents are following the protocol and not sneaking people in.
Brian Root, assistant director of Housing and Residence Life, believes the CAs and RDs have a tough job.
“It’s a pretty tricky task that we ask our student staff to do,” Root said.
It is especially difficult for CAs and RDs in the Academic Village and University Courts to enforce this rule because of the layout of the dorms. Residents who live in these buildings do not walk by their CA on duty during the evenings. So, it would be possible for a student to break the visitation policy without their CA’s knowledge.
“I wish all our students abided by all of the policies like we want them to,” Root said. “I feel like I have seen some students step up a little bit and try to hold their peers accountable.”
If a student were to break these rules and get caught, there are consequences. First, the resident may lose visitation privileges, meaning they can’t bring guests over. On a second offense, students may obtain a Persona Non Grata, which means they’re prohibited from entering a specific, or all, residence buildings. The final consequence would be a reprimand or probation.
Ross and Root want the students to follow protocol so they do not have to be sent home. They both do not want what happened back in March to happen again.
Through all of this change, Ross still sees a positive on the campus.
“The vast majority of students are following the policy,” Ross said.
Root and Ross both said without hesitation that this policy will continue into the spring semester.
“I don’t see any indication that COVID is going away anytime soon. There is always the possibility of going back and not allowing visitors between the halls,” Ross said. “We hope that we do not have to add any additional restrictions to visitation.”
Ross and Root want to commend the students on how well they are following the rules and holding each other accountable on breaking protocol, too.
“I am thankful that most of our students are understanding that this is a community effort. That each and every person needs to take responsibility to watch out for each other,” Ross said.