Residence halls mail students essentials before online classes

In response to Baylor's announcement restricting access to residence halls, the university's residence hall leadership team will mail residents their belongings for free through UPS. Brittney Matthews | Multimedia Editor

By Vivian Roach | Staff Writer

In response to the announcement that online classes would be extended through the rest of the spring semester, Baylor’s residence hall leadership team has provided a service to students in need by offering to send back essentials for free.

Laptops, chargers, textbooks, notes and medications are all considered to be essential to the transition toward online classes.

Students can fill out a request form to schedule a Facetime call with a leadership team member. During the call, they will be in the student’s dorm where students can communicate what they want to be packed.

Associate Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students, Dr. Sharra Hynes said, “We shipped about 800 boxes as of about noon today, many of them were shipped Thursday, Friday, and Saturday of last week, it was really on a request basis from students. They filled out the online forms as we worked with them on exactly what they needed from their residence hall room.”

Lees Summit, Mo. freshman Meah Wilburn said she used the service to retrieve items back on campus, and found the process easy and convenient.

“The email they sent out said they would only ship our school stuff, but they let me get some other things too,” Wilburn said. “I don’t know when it will get to me, but they said it should ship the next day.”

The service is helping out-of-state students the most, and those who can’t easily get back to campus, and hadn’t anticipated not returning to campus.

San Juan Capistrano, Calif. freshman Grace Hanlon said she left everything she owned in her dorm, even her supplies for online classes. She said the service is exactly what she needed.

“I only have about four outfits with me. So I’m using the UPS service to ship me back my necessary textbooks and notebooks for all of my classes,” Hanlon said. “I’m very thankful that Baylor does this because being from California, there’s not an easy way to go back to school to get all of my stuff, and I’ll need it for when online classes start.”

University President Linda Livingstone announced Monday that Baylor would be extending its class instruction online for the rest of the spring 2020 semester with restricted access to residence halls put into effect immediately.

Livingstone asked Baylor students living in residence halls to not return to campus to retrieve belongings until the university had a plan that was efficient and safe for both students, faculty and staff. The measure was taken to follow social distancing requirements.

As for residence hall team members who helped send back essentials, Hynes said her understanding of how social distancing practices were being followed by staff throughout the essential item send-back.

“They went in one at a time and then they would hand off the boxes to a career staff member and then take them to where UPS packaged them,” Hynes said. “I think it worked pretty well and pretty seamlessly. They had pairs of people on staff by residence hall, so they didn’t have lots of people in one hall at a time. I think it was pretty effective and complied with the distance recommended.”

Only a limited number of students with special circumstances are able to return to the dorms after the extended spring break. Hynes said more information would be coming regarding move-out after more analysis has been done concerning how many students still need to retrieve their belongings and how many only need to check out.