How will student housing handle COVID-19 cases?

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BYU students have questions about what will happen if one of their roommates contracts the COVID-19 virus during Fall Semester. (Photo illustration by Addie Blacker)

The Daily Universe is answering student, staff and parents’ questions about how the coronavirus will impact the BYU community during Fall Semester 2020 in a series of stories. Submit questions at durecptionist@gmail.com

Concern about new COVID-19 outbreaks have arisen at the prospect of students moving back to Provo Fall Semester, but what will happen if one or more students in an apartment contract COVID-19?

A statement from the BYU Off-Campus Housing Office said students living in off-campus housing who are diagnosed with COVID-19 or exposed to the virus are encouraged to work with their landlords and follow the direction of local health authorities.

Vision Real Estate manages hundreds of units across dozens of communities in Provo. President Jeremiah Maughan said if a tenant contracts COVID-19 and is sharing an apartment with others, the sick roommate is not required to move out of the apartment. In fact, the Utah County health department’s policy is that the sick roommate stay put and quarantine in the apartment.

Since students will likely be exposed to the virus if their roommates test positive for the virus, they will also be required to quarantine in the unit, according to Maughan.

However, if a student was not living in the apartment at the time the roommate was sick and is then unable to live in the property during the roommate’s quarantine, they will likely get a rent credit for the portion of the time they could not be there, Maughan said.  

He added that while it would be nice to allow roommates without the virus to relocate to another unit, the challenge is they’d have to go into the apartment where the sick roommate is to get their belongings.

The Daily Universe reached out to several other management companies. Legend Real Estate and Rockwell Property Management declined to comment, Redstone Residential and Aspen Ridge Management did not respond, and Mountain View Management said there are too many unknowns at this time for them to answer questions.

According to a statement from the Office of Residence Life, if someone living in on-campus housing contracts COVID-19, they will not be required to move.

“Each case will be reviewed and arrangements will be made to isolate or quarantine individual students as requested,” the statement said.

The statement from Residence Life also said residents who want to leave on-campus housing due to COVID-19 may or may not be released from their contract. All situations will be looked at on a case-by-case basis. If a student desires to get out of their contract, they will need to complete a petition for agreement release.

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