Dileep Davis, a residence service representative, stands behind the front desk, ready to assist residence students. Photo credit: Roberto Iraheta

Despite the challenges of COVID-19, many students living on campus are managing well.

Currently Algonquin College residence is at 45 per cent occupancy, a drop due to the pandemic which typically is home for up to 1,050 students each term.

While the number of students living on campus has gone down, the overall mood of those currently in residence is a positive one.

“The last survey we did in November – we do one every term – the feeling was generally quite positive,” said Sarah Wills, residence service lead at Algonquin College. “They did say they miss their family, they miss their social aspects of things, but at the same time people did say they felt safe and that they understand why the certain restrictions are in place.”

Sebastian Solano, a resident advisor at Algonquin College echoed those sentiments.

“This year has been, you know different – not bad – just different in terms of you can’t see your friends as much, you can’t do group things with people and your friends,” said Solano.

“But in residence overall, even though things like having social distancing, and having to wear masks, residence has done a good job of keeping the social aspect going,” said Solano.

Because social interaction is limited, resident advisors organize and run virtual events specifically for residential students to meet and stay connected with others.

“Some of the events are like crafts, so we provide them with the materials and they can do the craft while we go through the steps over Zoom,” said Solano.

For others having a selected group of individuals works equally as good as a run in with a stranger.

“I got about eight buddies from my hometown that I get to chat and hang with so that’s been good for the most part,” said David Mathers, a bachelor of building science student.

Many of the student support services have remained accessible throughout the pandemic.

“We still have 24/7 front desk staff. If you need any mental health support, or any academic support, or you’re just having a problem with a roommate – all of that support is still there,” said Wills.

As vaccines begin rolling out across the province, Algonquin Student Residence staff will continue taking the appropriate steps needed to protect those living on campus.

“We take all of our guidance straight from Ottawa Public Health, so until they say it’s cool to open up, we are following their guidelines,” said Wills.