With the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic affecting educational institutions, it’s safe to say the student housing sector has undergone some significant changes within the past year. Now, moving into the fall season, property managers of student housing complexes must continue to adapt to new changes as health and safety guidelines evolve. As the future of campus life at schools across the U.S. remains a bit unclear, property managers in the student housing sector can prepare by taking inventory of some lessons learned since the start of the pandemic. Here are some of the main areas of focus that have come to the forefront in the industry:
Internal health and safety updates. Though many housing complexes are new and already have relatively advanced systems, there are still areas of improvement for enhancing the health and safety of these spaces. Student housing properties have had to invest in upgraded HVAC systems to improve the air quality of their buildings. Other large-scale changes have also had to be implemented, such as touchless devices for doors, faucets, and elevators to decrease the spread of germs.
Flexible amenity spaces. With social distancing still being top-of-mind for student housing properties, there’s been a rise of flexible amenity spaces to give residents more room to study in common areas. Along these lines, the integration of technology tools like Zoom and streaming video has become more prevalent in providing students better access to virtual learning from their apartments. Additionally, housing complexes have been a movement to offer residents more outdoor amenity space, such as dog parks and volleyball courts.
Extended move-ins. Most student housing complexes have established extended move-in periods to accommodate social distancing guidelines to allow residents to move in over a more extended period of time (rather than on a single day). At many complexes, this is accompanied by new move-in protocols. Parents and students can “check-in” directly from their vehicle and follow a standardized procedure to move in one direction to avoid too many people congregating in one area.
Undoubtedly, the student housing sector will continue to experience changes as new COVID-19 guidelines are established in the fall. Student housing properties that are proactive in ensuring their policies adhere to the health and safety of their residents will be best at navigating the future of the industry.
Is your student housing property in need of staff to fill various roles? Get in touch with the staffing experts at The Liberty Group and learn how our property management staffing solutions can help.