Berea College students debate new Covid-19 housing restrictions

BEREA, Ky. (WTVQ) Meet Jessica Powell, she’s a single mom of two and sophomore at Berea College.

She’s one of 30 students who live in the echo village, a section of campus reserved for those who are married, have children or are over the age of 23.

Back in October these students needed to sign a housing agreement to live on campus with certain rules to follow.

When they returned for spring semester, they discovered harsher restrictions were being put into place.

“I know it’s going to be different because of Covid but I didn’t expect it to be an isolating as it has been,” says Powell.

Some of these rules include restricting outside campus visitors, like Powell’s dad who last semester would help out with her daughter while she was in class.

“I had classes on campus that I had to drop out of and just do online only my daughter does have daycare but I just need more assistant,” says Powell.

Another rule even prevents the students on campus from leaving the City of Berea unless they get certain permission.

“Say that I wanted to go to roger instead of Walmart, I would have to ask them a week in advance and they could still say no if they wanted to,” says Powell.

Berea College President Lyle Roelofs responded to my questions about these concerns in a statement saying in part …The students signed the agreement to come back.

He also feels the rules create a Covid-19 safe environment, however, the students argue, they didn’t get enough notice.

“We were given about a 28 hour notice before spring semester classes started,” says Powell.

Powell say she’s frustrated by the way this semester has started up and she says she hopes the students and the school can work out a middle ground.

“What we would like is just a seat at the table when they’re making these decisions and these restrictions we would just like our voice heard,” says Powell.

Berea college President Roelofs Says he is open to inviting the students to become a bigger part of that decision, at this point however, the students say they are skeptical.

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