During an average school year, Long Beach State Housing and Residential Life would host 2,722 students.
All four of the university’s residential colleges would be open, students would be sharing rooms with others and they’d be able to spend time with friends without any restrictions. None of that is happening this year, though, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Corry Colonna, executive director of Housing and Residential Life, said he wanted to keep the dorms open for those who needed a place to stay.
“Highest priority were students who would otherwise be homeless or had high-risk home situations, including abusive ones,” Colonna said in an email. “Then we had people who needed to be on campus for in-person classes or that needed resources that wouldn’t be available otherwise [such as] higher level science classes and some of the arts classes.”
In addition to these high risk students, those who had a strong need to be on campus were also approved to stay on campus this semester.
“Then we had lesser risk, often students who had very serious reasons why studying from home would be difficult, [which] included international students who were already here and couldn’t return home and students who had very challenging home lives,” Colonna said. “Then we had students who had other obligations to the university, [which] included athletes and honors [students].”
This semester, only 328 students were approved to live on campus. Approximately 70 of those on campus residents are student athletes waiting to find out when their competition season will start.
First-year student athlete Addison Kostrencich, whose major is undeclared, lives in a Parkside College dorm by herself. Even though this isn’t the experience she anticipated, Kostrencich said she is still happy she decided to dorm this semester.
“I actually love it. I’m actually really happy that I did it,” Kostrencich said. “There are two of my teammates here so it’s giving me experience like knowing some of the other girls, which I’m happy about.”
Kostrencich, a member of the women’s softball team, doesn’t anticipate her season to start until February. Until then, she has been waiting on any further updates from the school.
All fall sports have been postponed to start at a later date with shorter competition seasons. Men’s and women’s basketball, however, was the only sport approved to begin practice in early October but has since pushed back its scheduled start date due to a recent outbreak on campus.
With the limited amount of space available for on-campus housing, Long Beach State athletic director Andy Fee wanted to make sure student athletes were close to campus in case some sports were approved to begin practice during the semester.
“The case that we put forward for student athletes is that while it might not be at the beginning of the fall semester those teams will be returning to training,” Fee said. “We said there is a need for those student athletes to be on campus.”
Since not all teams are scheduled to begin practices anytime soon, many have found alternative ways to stay in shape. For Kostrencich, this means working out by herself and, when safe to do so, with her teammates.
Living on campus, Kostrencich works out five days a week, keeping up her conditioning by running and practicing field work.
Once selected teams are approved to resume practice, athletes will have to uphold social distancing measures and safety standards in accordance per National Collegiate Athletic Association guidelines.
Prior to the pandemic, athletes were given towels and were able to get water from a water jug shared by the team. When practices resume, though, none of these services will be available.
Earlier this month, President Jane Close Coneley announced that CSULB will continue with remote learning for the spring 2021 semester, in accordance with California State University Chancellor Timothy P. White’s statement. As the athletics department remains hopeful that sports will resume in the spring, student athletes will still be permitted to stay in the dorms.
Kostrencich said she has decided to continue dorming during the spring semester.
“I’m having a good time now, so I figured why not stick with it,” she said.