Jessica Yang/Production Assistant
Housing is still a problem for many as in-person classes are set to commence
Prior to the 2021 winter break, students began to search for housing for the 2022 school year when McMaster University announced plans for a near full return to campus. This meant upper-years were looking to sublet rooms for the winter semester and first-years were looking to sign year-long contracts.
Now, with in-person classes beginning for all students on Feb. 7, some students still find themselves in the process of house hunting.
Mario Panza, a fourth-year student who struggled to find housing before the break, gave an update on his search for housing this semester. With more listings, availability has gone up, but Panza stated that landlords have taken to increasing prices during this season of demand.
“I was seeing 700 [dollar] minimums,” said Panza.
Fortunately, upper-year students now have McMaster residences as another option this year. Holly Gibson, manager of marketing and communications at housing and conference services, said residence is currently accepting applications from all years.
“This is not a typical year, so we had the opportunity to open up space for all levels,” said Gibson.
Gibson also mentioned that a great way for students to get in touch with the residence team to ask questions is through their Instagram.
Residence buildings reopen as of Jan. 14 and winter residence applications continue to be reviewed beginning mid-January.
Zara Khan, a first-year student who was also struggling to find housing before the winter break, said that students were told residences would open a week into the semester due to a rise in the Omicron variant during the holiday season.
Khan also said there were some worries among students about adding additional residents when moving out for the winter break.
“Before we all moved out, there were speculations that more people were moving in . . . There’s kind of that COVID scare. There’s more people on the same floor using the same things,” said Khan.
Since Oct. 18, it has been mandatory for students and staff to be fully vaccinated before entering campus buildings and McMaster residences. With the vaccination booster rollout being accelerated due to an increase in the Omicron variant, anyone over the age of 18 is now eligible to book their booster as of Dec. 20. However, Gibson said there is not yet any requirement for boosters at McMaster.
“Residence is following MacCheck vaccination guidelines that the university has put into place. So, what the university is saying, that’s what we’re going to follow. There isn’t any talk about boosters in residence at this time, but we would encourage people to get the booster shot if they can,” said Gibson.
With residence accepting applications from all years, hopefully, many students will soon be ready to return to campus.