Harvey Mudd will allow 574 students to live on campus if college reopens

Harvey Mudd College will allow approximately 574 of its 821 students to live on campus in the spring if the college reopens. (Zoe Cowan • The Student Life)

Harvey Mudd College will allow approximately 574 of its 821 students to live on campus in the spring if the college reopens, officials announced last month.

If they return, all on-campus students would be housed in singles due to instruction from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. As a result, the college has designed a special room draw process for the spring to accommodate “limited” housing capacity, according to an email and attached document sent to students Oct. 23 by the Office of Housing and Residence Life. 

But whether the college will be allowed to reopen its campus will depend on Los Angeles County. Currently, HMC is not permitted to, but is “hopeful” that the county’s COVID-19 case count will decline significantly enough to be able to reopen. Los Angeles County is expected to provide an update after Thanksgiving, and HMC has said it will announce a final decision on whether students will return by Jan. 11.

In the meantime, the college is forging ahead with its on-campus housing plan, just in case.

Seniors, first-years, proctors, mentors and students currently living in campus-operated Arrow Vista apartments will be guaranteed housing on campus if they go through the application process, the document said. Students in extraordinary circumstances, including international students, those experiencing houselessness and students who must take an on-campus Mudd course, are also guaranteed housing.

After these groups receive rooms, housing will be available for juniors based on room draw number, followed by sophomores, if rooms are available.  

To live on campus, students must agree to the terms outlined in the Stay Safe @ Mudd site and submit a housing reservation form by Nov. 30. Students will be notified by Dec. 4 if they are approved to live on campus, and the room selection process will take place from Dec. 8 to 10.

The residence halls would be made up of “pods” of students, and each pod would share a bathroom to avoid student overlap. Pod members would not be required to maintain social distancing or wear face masks in their rooms or suites. 

Those with the best room draw numbers in each round will be able to “pull” students with lower room draw numbers into their pod. There will also be a “special round” of room draw for senior groups to “prioritize seniors in their last semester at Mudd,” the document said. 

Though pods would be “a large aspect” of social life at the college, the document said, students are not required to fill up a pod to receive a spot on campus. Unfilled rooms will be available to other students going through the room draw process. 

Students currently living in Arrow Vista Apartments, proctors and mentors who want to live on campus will be given room assignments prior to the room selection process. Participating seniors, juniors and sophomores will use the room draw numbers assigned to them in spring 2020, while transfers and first-years have been assigned numbers in the same way room draw numbers are typically assigned. 

Those not approved for housing will be placed on a waitlist, the document said. Residence life staff will also host programs to help students build their pods and understand the room draw technology. 

Pomona College recently announced guidelines for a spring return to campus, in which students would be limited to four people per bathroom. The college has not yet decided which groups to prioritize for housing. 

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