Alan Armes, father of freshman music major Brayden Armes, knew that move-out day at the Long Beach State dormitories would come sooner than later.
“We have family on the East Coast where some other colleges had to move out even more dramatically and quicker it seemed like,” Alan said. “Maybe because of that, we had this feeling that it would happen here too. We were bracing ourselves for it to happen a couple days ahead.”
Because Armes’ family hailed from North Hollywood, he was able to pick his son up the day after CSULB sent out an email Monday night encouraging dormitory residents to move out by March 27.
According to the email, if students had no alternative housing options, they could file a ‘Move Out Form’ to be relocated to another residence hall.
Juliana Ramirez, a first-year political science major, didn’t think she’d be leaving the dormitories so soon.
“I just left, but I took one small little bag with some clothes because I thought ‘Oh I’m coming back in two weeks, three weeks’ and then I got this email so I have to move out everything,” Ramirez said. “I only took the necessary stuff like my clothes, the stuff that would expire, my books, but now it’s everything like my bedding, sheets.”
Ramirez’s father came to help her pack her belongings.
“I don’t think it was enough [information],” Ramirez said. “I was so confused I emailed my friends, the RA just to get confirmation because I feel like that one email didn’t give enough reason.”
Anthony Cameron, a third-year mechanical engineering major, was on his way to the housing services office to discuss if him moving out would affect his financial aid.
“I don’t think anybody is communicating with anybody,” Cameron said.
Cameron, who works in Long Beach and is a tutor, said he was aggravated by the situation.
Mitchell Barron, a first-year marketing information major, lives just 40 minutes away from campus, so he said the move will be an easy one. However, he said that he and the rest of the students in his building just started getting close so he’s sad to have to leave it behind.
“I’m still going to live here for the last few days, that’s what all of [my friends] are doing,” Barron said. “We’re going to throw a little get-together and say our goodbyes.”
Mike Jiminez said he went on a walk shortly after receiving the email last night. The third-year political science major said he wished Housing and Residential Life had communicated more with the remaining students.
“I can’t really go home,” Jiminez said. “Part of the reason is my mom is immunocompromised, and I live with my grandmother who’s over 80 [years old].”
Students like Jiminez can file a ‘Move Out Form’ by March 20, where they can state their need to remain in the residence halls.
“We are going to be very flexible in approving requests but want to make sure that we will have the ability to fully service those students who stay if we would have a reduction of staffing in the future,” said Corry Colonna, executive director of housing and residential life.
The closure of campus amenities like the Student Recreation and Wellness Center and the adjusted hours of operation for places like the University Library prompted some to return home and bring their friends with them, including third-year criminal justice major Haley Meyers.
“I’m taking my friend who’s international,” Myers said as she and three other students packed their bags into her car.
Since the announcement on March 11 that in-person classes were moved to alternative teaching methods, many students living in dorms at CSULB have already returned home.
Angelica Quinoñez, a second-year studio art major, made that decision.
“I would be exposed to more people if I was in the dorms,” Quinoñez said. “I think they’d still be going out and think it’s safe to be going to restaurants or clubs.”1
In order to track the number of students that remained in the residence halls, Housing and Residential Life counted the number of students eating in the dining halls. According to Colonna, there were about 1,300 students in the dining halls on Thursday, March 12. There were 1,050 students on Sunday, March 15.
Karen Estrada, a third-year public relations major, also chose to return home after the initial cancellation of in-person classes. She said she felt safer there if new cases of coronavirus continued.
The decision came with a cost.
“It’s hard for me to do homework at home especially because I have a little sister,” Estrada said. “She’s 7 [years old]. I just don’t have the right mindset for homework right now. I know for sure my grades are going to drop.”
Now, Estrada plans to return to her dorm tomorrow to move out the rest of her belongings. For students unable to do so, Colonna said, via email, that Housing and Residential Life posted a FAQ page that will advise students on what to do.
According to a Residential Hall Association post on Instagram, some dining halls will begin closing this week and next. Parkside Dining will close March 22 after dinner service, Beachside will close March 27 after lunch service and Hillside Dining will remain open.
Starting March 17, the dining halls will be opened for limited hours.
“Truly several times a day we get new direction from our government officials, local, county, and national,” Colonna said. “Our goal is to get good information out rather than have to send several communications with corrections.”
For up-to-date coverage on coronavirus at CSULB, visit our live coverage page.