New housing exceptions for U of A freshmen due to COVID-19

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – When it comes to sending your child to college right now, precautions look different for everyone.

In order for you to feel as safe as possible, the university updated it’s housing policies for this year.

The University of Arkansas usually requires freshmen to live on campus, but, this year the school decided to exempt students from the rule if they felt unsafe in dorms.

Casey Carter is a freshman who decided to live off campus this year.

“It was mostly me that started like freaking out about coronavirus and I was like I don’t think I can live next to all those people and I don’t know where they’re going or if they’re being safe,” she said.

University of Arkansas spokesman, Mark Rushing, said, “We really ask incoming students to live on campus, it really helps them acclimate and get connected to all the resources they need on campus and kind of find their place on campus, however because of covid we realize that we had to be flexible.”

Though all of Casey’s classes moved online, she still wanted to live in Fayetteville to get at least part of the freshman experience.

Rushing says she is one of the few students who took advantage of this exemption.

“About 240 students took advantage of that but about 5,000 students are living on campus this semester which is pretty much very close to the number that were living on campus last semester,” Rushing said.

Casey’s mom, Fran Carter, says if it wasn’t for the exemption, she may not have let her daughter come to Fayetteville at all.

“If Casey had had to move into a dorm I’m not sure we would’ve taken that option if that would’ve been our only option she would’ve probably stayed home,” she said.

Casey says no matter where she lives she is playing it safe so she can stay at school.

“I don’t wanna meet as many people cuz I don’t wanna risk getting coronavirus,” she said.

From a financial standpoint, Rushing says the university has not lost much money because of government funding from the CARES Act. The Carter family says they have not seen much change in their payments, either.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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