Loyola University Chicago students move out of Mertz Hall in March after the COVID-19 pandemic shut the campus down. Now the school announced it won't open residence halls ths fall. (Zbigniew Bzdak / Chicago Tribune)
Loyola University Chicago announced Thursday it will not reopen its residence halls this fall because of continued worries about the spread of COVID-19.
About 1,900 students were expected to move in starting Aug. 17, according to spokeswoman Anna Rozenich. Students who paid deposits will receive refunds before classes begin.
“Evaluating current health conditions, and factoring for uncertainty in the months ahead, has led us to make the very tough decision to suspend plans to host students in on-campus residence halls until conditions are favorable,” according to a letter that went out Thursday, signed by President Jo Ann Rooney and several other administrators.
“Like you, we hoped that the trajectory of the virus would subside over the summer. In fact, it grew stronger,” the statement reads.
The campus leaders said that under Chicago’s emergency travel rules, 700 dormitory residents would be coming from “hot spot” areas and would have to begin a two-week quarantine upon arrival.
“With predictions of increased outbreaks in the coming months, and early reports of COVID-19 clusters at other higher education institutions, we simply cannot put our on-campus residential students in harm’s way and risk further disruption to them and their families if they needed to move home mid-semester because of an outbreak in one of our residence halls” or if the city reverts back to Phase 3.
“This is the most responsible path forward in these uncertain times,” the letter states.
The Rogers Park campus lists more than 20 residence halls on its website.
The school had already scaled back the number of in-person classes to be offered in the fall, with most now planned as online courses.