Qatar Foundation Student Housing emailed residents on April 4 about new regulations as Qatar faces a second wave of COVID-19. The regulations are, according to the email, in compliance with the latest country-wide restrictions. The email announced the cancellation of all in-person front desk operations in all housing villages. Instead, the services would be offered virtually. As a result, the email said, face masks would no longer be available at the front desk and reminded students to wear a mask upon leaving their rooms. The email also promised, for those who have not yet received it, a box of masks to help support students’ compliance with the new regulations. Additionally, maintenance in QF Housing will become limited to emergencies only, such as electric and water outage in rooms.
Kamilah Idris, a junior at Georgetown University in Qatar, who currently works as a front desk assistant, said that Student Housing responded timely to the positive cases happening in residences. “It’s been increasing because generally, people don’t act in the same way they did at the beginning of the pandemic,” said Idris.
As for the wider Education City regulations, the latest email announced the cancellation of all events and in-person activities on campus, as well as any events organized by QF, including hybrid classes at universities.
“The biggest challenge will be continuing my online classes in my room. I’ve been lately going back to school to check out equipment, or to study in school. I’m very stressed out because all the projects are being piled up as we are nearing the end of the semester,” said Nur Munawarah Hussain, a junior at Northwestern University in Qatar.
The precautionary measures are expected to last at least until mid-May.
The QF Primary Health Care Clinic will continue working on weekdays from 7:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. for emergency and laboratory needs only. Students can use telemedicine for any other services if needed. Also, shuttle services in EC will be on an on-call basis. However, scheduled grocery rides, such as the ride to Lulu Express, as well as regular shuttles to the EC Mosque, will continue operating as per normal schedule.
It is worth noting that another email from Student Housing had been sent out to the residents on March 18 reminding them of COVID-19 expectations and regulations as positive cases were on the rise.
COVID-19 cases have been rising in Qatar in the past few weeks, with authorities saying that the circulation of variants from the UK and South Africa are contributing to the rise in reported cases, as well as social gatherings. This has prompted the government to issue tighter restrictions to curb the outbreak of the virus, including the closure of dine-in services at restaurants and the banning of in-person social gatherings.
“I think it’s good that implementing greater restrictions on how students interact with each other because there are a lot more COVID cases not only outside of the dorms but also in the dorms as well. I was honestly very worried after seeing the emails [confirming the presence of COVID-19 cases in the dorms],” added Hussain.
The latest email reiterated that gatherings are not allowed in any area within the dorms, be it common spaces or even residents’ rooms. Residents were also reminded to wear face masks at all times once they are outside of their room, and that they should do so properly, covering noses and mouths.
All QF Housing staff have the authority to ask any resident who is violating the rules for their information, including their name and room number, in order to report them.
“Repeated non-compliance will be regarded as a breach of our Community Living Standards and result in notification to the student’s university and subsequent sanctions, which can include housing probation and removal from QF Student Housing,” read the email.
The Daily Q reached out to QF Housing for a comment on the number of safety measures violations in the dorms and the number of active COVID cases, but it has not yet received a reply.