SMC issuing housing refunds

DOWAGIAC — Some local college students will be able to recoup some of their COVID-19 losses.

Southwestern Michigan College is refunding $800 of spring 2020 housing costs to each hall resident since they were unable to receive the full residence life experience due to the unprecedented coronavirus pandemic.

While many students opted to return home during the online portion of the semester, college housing remained open throughout the pandemic for those who needed to remain in the residence halls. SMC also provided supplemental meals for three weeks, additional security and enhanced cleaning protocols while limiting visitors and gathering in common areas, with safety the top priority, officials said.

Classes had moved online as of March 16, and the spring semester ended May 1. Residence hall move-out was completed on May 8. The halls will be closed this summer, in preparation for what is hoped to be a limited re-opening this fall with additional safety precautions in place.

“Congratulations on finishing strong,” said President Dr. Joe Odenwald praising students in an email. “Your resilience is truly inspiring. I hope these funds will be beneficial as you adjust to the impacts of COVID-19. We anticipate being able to distribute these funds by the end of May.”

Odenwald added that he was grateful that SMC was able to pay all of itsstudent workers from the time the crisis began through the end of the semester, based on the average number of weekly hours they had worked during the semester. This includes 56 desk assistants and janitors who staff the three residence halls during normal operation.