Students living both on Gonzaga’s campus and in the Logan Neighborhood are awaiting information regarding their housing situations. Following the outbreak of coronavirus, President Thayne McCulloh sent out a statement concerning moving classes to online and postponing the resumption of the semester to March 23.
This decision was announced during the first week of spring break, leaving many students with a choice between returning to Spokane or remaining elsewhere in their respective homes.
“I feel like most, if not all of us, are going to be sick or infected at some point,” said former GU student, Bradley Barrett. “It’s something that we just have to prepare for, just being able to stay inside for two weeks and other than that there’s really not much to worry about. Especially, with our demographic, age group and average health of the denizens of Spokane or denizens of Gonzaga particularly.”
Students who currently rent homes in the Logan Neighborhood are still in contact with each other, despite most activities being canceled or suspended on GU’s physical campus. A private Facebook group comprised of GU students currently has roughly 1,100 members, with students discussing their living plans and concerns about the coronavirus situation.
According to a poll on the Facebook page, out of 202 voters 169 plan on coming back to Spokane immediately, 10 plan on returning in a few weeks, nine plan on visiting for a week and four are coming back to Spokane just to pack their belongings.
As of March 17 Spokane had three confirmed cases of coronavirus, which for the time being is far less than other larger cities such as Seattle or New York City.
“Spokane has a lot less cases of the coronavirus and it seems like [it’s] a lot more mellow place to be, rather than being in LA which is super apocalyptic and hectic at the present moment,” said GU junior Nick Arody.
Spokane is following the guidelines and ordinances of Washington State; however, additional measures may be taken in the future.
"Spokane is following state guidelines that have been outlined for us," said Spokane Councilwoman Kate Burke in an email. "However, I have been encouraging that we take bolder action as a city. This should include a moratorium on evictions, ending the shut off of utilities, expansion of paid leave for members of our community most drastically effected, and assisting our homeless and jailed population."
Landlords and GU’s Housing Department currently have expressed no intentions of requesting residents to vacate their homes in the Logan Neighborhood.
“[I would go home] in the state of a national emergency or if Gonzaga says don’t stay in Spokane,” Arody said. “Honestly, I see no reason to go back if I’m perfectly safe and comfortable here.”
Students can take extra precautions in their homes to help prevent the spread of the virus and lessen the impact on themselves and others. Small changes such as washing one’s hands frequently and sanitizing common spaces multiple times a day are recommended.
“I feel very comfortable and safe,” Barrett said. “In the situation that any of the housemates get it, instant quarantine I feel like is the most respectable measure that should be taken, because all housemates are potential carriers."
Social distancing through staying in one’s home in the Logan Neighborhood is also advised for lessening the speed at which the coronavirus infects people.
"Stay home as much as you can," Burke said. "It is important that we distance ourselves as much as we can to stop the spread of COVID-19. The best way to do this is to stop any person to person contact, and this needs to be continued as long as the experts advise this."
Students who currently live in GU owned off campus housing can contact the Housing and Residence Life office at (509)313-4103 with any questions requiring immediate response.