Shortly after the stay-at-home order was issued in Lyon County, residents still living in the dorms at Emporia State had until 5 p.m. March 25 to move out. One week shorter than the previous move-out date of April 1, students frantically had to rush to move out.
One of my friends who lived in the dorms yesterday said that they woke up late to find numerous text messages and phone calls to move out by 5 p.m. The lack of warning not only affected them, but other students whose homes were states away.
I understand how things are unraveling each day, but the lack of warning is not okay. My friend also informed me of the kitchenettes, laundry rooms and stairwells being locked prior to being kicked out. On top of the kitchenettes on lockdown, at least the students were informed ahead of time that the cafeteria and Hornet Express would be closed. Students have to resort to microwaving what food they had or go out, risk infection, to get fast food.
My friend informed me about one of their friends, who lived in Texas, had to have the friends’ parents leave Texas immediately to drive up and help the student move out of the dorms before 5 p.m. This lack of warning negatively changed many students’ moving plans and rather rushed them.
As an out-of-state student myself, I could not imagine waking up to find out I would have had eight or so hours to pack up and move out. There is no way I could have done it. I did not have a car my freshman year. My family lives six hours away in another state. There would have been no way for them to leave work so soon to come get me.
I understand why ESU moved residents out so early, especially after the stay-at-home order was announced. However, I think now is the time to truly consider plans for every potential scenario. If there’s anything we have witnessed the past two weeks is the lack of communication is quite detrimental to credibility.
In my opinion, you do not have to have a full plan set in stone, but at least have some sort of communication channel open and be honest. If you do not have a plan, say so immediately, but say that a plan is being worked on. Let the public know when a plan will be known.