Coronavirus sent most Colorado college students home, but some have nowhere else to go

College classroom
Posted at 11:31 AM, Apr 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-03 13:31:21-04

DENVER — Thousands of college students across the Denver metro area have returned home from school following the statewide stay-at-home order. But not all students can go back home and many remain on their college campuses.

Michael LaFarr, executive director of the Health and Counseling Center at the University of Denver, said they have about 250 students who are still living in residence halls.

“Students are with us for a lot of different reasons," he said. "There are some students who can't go home for financial purposes."

International students can't return home because they can't get on flights, he said.

“There are other students who have chosen to stay with us because Denver is a place that's safer for them than perhaps some other cities," he said. "New York City, of course, is being hit hard and so is New Orleans."

The University of Colorado - Denver has 81 students on campus and Shawn Bosley, a music business major, is one of them.

“We actually split the whole apartment in half to where my roommate now lives on one side and I live on another side,” he said.

Bosley depends on the university for housing, meals, and work.

Even though the university is doing it’s best to keep everyone safe, as more coronavirus cases are reported, the scariest part of remaining on campus is all of the unknowns.

"We're coming in and out so often and we're carrying so many germs," said Bosley.

He's still working on campus but because students are done and business is slow, employees' hours are getting cut.

CU Denver has multiple safety measures in place for the students who are still on campus. According to a statement from the school:

"Daily sanitizing efforts are in place. We are working with our dining and housekeeping contractor, Sodexo, who is a nationally recognized vendor, to provide sanitizing of all common touchpoints (door knobs, handrails, common study lounges, elevators, etc.) daily. We are then able to ensure that even with a reduced occupancy, we aren’t missing any areas of the building that a student might want to use and enjoy.

Both the Cyber Café and Dining hall remain open and operational. However, we have transitioned both venues to take-out only options as of March 19, 2020. Both options also close down every 30 minutes to sanitize all touch points, and staff continue to meet social distancing requirements. These service shifts support our primary focus of providing a safe and data-driven approach based upon what we know keeps our community healthy."

DU said their school has similar policies in place.

LaFarr said they are also providing mental health resources as well.

“One of the things we have known well before coming into COVID-19 is that folks are feeling, you know, socially isolated and disconnected,” said LaFarr.

To combat that, the school created creative social meet-up opportunities through Zoom and other video platforms.

“We’re giving students opportunities to connect with their faculty in ways that they haven't otherwise," he said. "So the importance of not feeling alone and feeling connected to one another is even more important now."

Bosley said he appreciates the resources universities are providing for students like himself. But he said students will need even more resources when social distancing measures are finally lifted.

“Students are struggling. We are going to need mental health resources after this. We're going to need student loan forgiveness,” said Bosley.

He said he hopes temporary measures won’t have a lasting impact on current student's college careers as many are struggling with campus life amid the pandemic.