Resident assistants have the responsibility of making sure students living in their residence halls are safe and following the rules put out by the University. This year, however, they have the responsibility of not only keeping them safe, but also keeping them healthy.
When it comes to living on campus, many things have been different this year; one of them being move-in day. This year, students living on-campus had a two-week period to move in, instead of one day like in the past.
“Everyone that moved in had a QR code on their phone, and [the RAs] had apps to scan them on our phones,” said Isaiah Pompo, a junior in biomedical sciences and a second-year RA. “You were able to scan the QR code and it told you what room they were in, what key they needed, and it was pretty seamless actually…”
There have been more adjustments to on-campus living than just move-in day, however. Now, living in the residence halls requires social distancing and face masks at all times when outside of personal living spaces. Contactless hall activities are free of any food items and there is a campus-wide restriction of visitors to anyone living off-campus, excluding sorority chapter meetings.
“In every residence hall, all the Auburn protocols are going to be followed,” Pompo said. “You have to wear a mask, practice social distancing, limit the people in the elevators, as well as only taking off your mask in your personal living space.”
Every year, RAs go through three weeks of on-campus training to prepare for the upcoming school year. This is usually when the RAs get to know one another, learn or refresh the protocols for on-campus living and build a mutual trust between each other, according to Pompo. This year, however, RAs were not given that opportunity, and instead had to complete a one-week training course, completely online, around the end of July.
“We decided that this year we weren’t going to do any face-to-face community building activities like we normally would,” Pompo said.
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According to Pompo, this was in order to keep all the RAs safe and prevent any unnecessary contact with each other before the start of the school year.
Although being an RA this year is different than in years past, complete with many more responsibilities due to COVID-19 policies, Pompo does not think it will be too much for him or his fellow RAs to handle.
“My job here is first to make sure that everyone living in the hall feels safe, and to still build community through that,” he said. “[The RAs] are here to trust the guidelines put out by the school and to relay that information to the people living on campus to make sure that everyone feels safe.”
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