Zoe Khaitan, ‘21 moves out of her apartment on March 14, 2020, at Farrington Square, after receiving the news that Lehigh was transitioning to online. Khaitan was able to move out of her apartment, but some students could not move out in time, and still have belongings in their assigned rooms. (David Owolabi/B&W Staff)

Students’ belongings remain on campus post move to remote learning

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As Lehigh transitioned to remote learning for the remainder of the semester, many students had left campus for spring break, leaving their belongings behind amid the coronavirus outbreak.

For those unable to move out, their personal items and academic materials remain in their assigned rooms.

Associate director of Housing Services Kathryn Kresge, said 569 students currently have belongings on campus. 

Dave Jha,‘22, who is from California, said he had a flight booked back to Lehigh for after spring break, but could not justify spending money on a roundtrip ticket to and from campus to collect his belongings. 

Jha said he is unsure of when he will be able to travel back to the East Coast to retrieve his items. In the meantime, however, he has found ways around this challenge.

“My roommates graciously offered to ship me anything that I needed so I didn’t have to fly back to Lehigh,” Jha said. “That, in coordination with the risk of flying during a rapidly escalating virus, solidified my decision to stay home.”

Despite Pennsylvania’s active stay at home order, Kresge said students are still on track to move out in May after final exams if they haven’t done so already. However, if this order is extended, move out would have to be pushed back based on recommendations from state and local governments, she said.

Director of Housing Services Ozzie Breiner said they have a greater window of time to allow students to move out, given the school has made all of its summer classes and programs remote. 

“We won’t have a large number of summer camps and conferences that we have to contend with… We will have the ability to extend moving out and provide more time for students to pick up their belongings,” Breiner said.

He said all students must plan to have their belongings moved out. However, Housing Services will work with those who can’t possibly make the trip back to Lehigh by providing them with options to move their items off of campus. 

Breiner said they likely will provide options for students to work with third party vendors who can store students’ belongings during the summer months. He said all students must move their things out eventually, so ABM can clean the rooms and prepare them for the fall semester.

Lily Wojciechowski, ‘22, lives in North Carolina and said she has not yet returned to campus to collect her belongings. 

“Living out of a suitcase hasn’t been ideal, but my mom has been nice enough to let me steal half of her wardrobe,” Wojciechowski said.

To prepare rooms amid the coronavirus outbreak, a deep cleaning of each room will occur just as it does every summer.

“ABM, our custodial contractor, will be going through the residence facilities to make sure they’re fully cleaned as best as they possibly can be,”  Breiner said. 

Housing Services said they will continue to provide additional information in the coming weeks, offering further details to students.

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