Signs of the Times

Photo by Brendan Felch, Illustration by Victoria Nicholson
Compiled by Sophia Bates and Grace Coughlan, Associate Editors and Meghan Hudson, Editor-in-Chief

The New Price to Park

Parking and Transportation Services has altered parking permits on campus. In TU’s Parking Portal, several different types of parking permits are now available for the fall semester. There is a weekly Stadium Lot permit (available Aug. 22) priced at $35.00 for eight days, a monthly Stadium Lot permit, priced at $75.00 for 31 days,  and a Fall 2020 West Village Resident permit, priced at $148 from Aug. 1 to Jan. 31. You may notice the prices for all of these permits have been cut compared to last year, and permits are only offered  per semester now. All of these parking permits are not valid on the main campus until after 3 p.m. . Also available are daily parking permits for students, faculty, and staff who are participating in TU’s hybrid course schedule, but don’t want to purchase a full semester parking pass. The Main Campus Parking permit is $6 a day for visitors parking spaces, while Faculty Staff Parking is $6 a day for faculty and staff parking. Core Student Parking is $6 a day for commuter students parking in core spots. Lastly, there are three different daily passes for overflow parking that are priced at $3 per day for visitor overflow, for faculty and staff overflow, and for student overflow. Daily parking permits can be purchased using the ParkMobile App and at the daily pay stations around campus. 

Roommate Etiquette Amidst a Pandemic

One of the most important things to remember when living with another person is to communicate! Communication on wants and needs makes living together functional. During these unprecedented times, every individual has to follow what they feel most comfortable with, and because we are all experiencing this pandemic together, we should respect the boundaries of others. Have a conversation with your roommate(s) about your boundaries, and talk about how you can take precaution in your own apartment or dorm. Make a list of cleaning supplies to bring. Discuss what surfaces should be cleaned in your dorm or apartment. Talk about what items can be shared between roommate(s) and what items should be kept for separate use. Also, get to know your roommates schedules so you know when one another will be on a video call. All in all, respect and patience are key during these times. 

Signs You’ll Spot

Navigating On-Campus Living

Living on-campus will look a little bit different this semester because of COVID-19, but that doesn’t mean that living on-campus isn’t as enjoyable! Barton House, Douglass House, Carroll Hall, and Marshall Hall will all continue to house students at full occupancy. While Towson Run, 10 West, Glen Complex, and Residence Tower will limit the capacity of students so that there are only two students sharing a bathroom. Prettyman Hall, Scarborough Hall, and Richmond Hall will be closed. The Glen and West Village Dining Halls will be the only two main dining halls open on campus this semester while Newell Dining Hall, Susquehanna, RecFuel and Enactus Café will all be closed. Glen and West Village Dining Halls will offer three different options for meals. Students have the option of dining in if space permits, or students can order pre-made refrigerated meals to pick up. Or, students can pay for a take out container and choose their food to go. These options can be payed with a meal swipe or with cash. TU will also be providing outdoor seating around campus to accommodate students who are taking online classes. 

Book your workout at Burdick Hall

TU’s Burdick Hall will be reopening this fall as a part of its phasing in process, on Monday, Aug. 24 at noon. Starting at Phase One, it’s new hours are from 12 p.m. until 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, while now being closed on the weekends. Burdick Hall will be functioning under appointments to ensure the aspect of social distancing and the safety of students on campus. Each appointment will be 50 minutes long and anyone waiting for their time slot must wait outside of the rec center in order to ensure the aspects of social distancing. Appointments can be made on the Campus Rec mobile app. When scheduling an appointment, students are only allowed to workout in one of the zones, floor one or floor two. They are not permitted to move back and forth between areas. Intramural sports and club sports, outdoor trips, team building programs and climbing clinics will be unavailable in Phase One as well as in-person Group Fitness classes and open recreational use of the gyms. The personal use of the equipment check out service, towel service, personal training service and locker rental service are also unavailable in Phase One. Guest passes and membership sales will not be offered. While the locker rental service is unavailable, the day use of lockers is offered to those who are attending a 50 minute appointment slot and students are free to bring day locks themselves. The Jungle and Group Fitness studios are not open. Because TU is a “mask-on” campus, anyone working out at the gym will be required to wear a mask. If someone needs to remove their mask for a short amount of time, there will be a designated area for them to do so, in order to protect others around them. Water fountains are unavailable during Phase One but water bottle filling stations will be opened. According to the Campus Recreation website, every hour fitness machines will be cleaned by staff, using wipes provided before and after use. 

Protection Protocols

This semester, Towson University has implemented a “Temporary COVID-19 Mask-On Protocol,” which requires anyone on campus to wear a mask. To further ensure your personal sanitation, sanitation stations have been placed throughout campus- there’s always a sanitation station nearby. If you are unable to wear a mask for a documented medical reason, the University requires you wear an alternate form of personal protective equipment. There’s lots of different forms of masks [or facial PPE] to be able to do it, but it has to provide protection in terms of transmission of the virus, it is expected,” said President Schatzel. The University has also placed capacity restrictions in closed spaces, such as elevators and classrooms. Be mindful of signs posted through campus, which direct you in terms of keeping a safe distance from other students. Additionally, all students, faculty and staff are required to complete daily Tigers Care QuickScans, which report to the University your daily temperature, possible COVID-19 exposures, and more. If you don’t currently own the necessary tools to follow these new rules, pick up a Tigers Care package.The kit consists of a mask, a thermometer, and hand sanitizer. The package is being given to all faculty, staff and resident students upon move-in, and is available for pick up to commuter students Aug. 19-23 at the Potomac Patio. In-store textbook shopping in the UStore has also been suspended. However, you can now get textbooks shipped to you for free, or you can schedule to pick them up from the UStore’s second floor patio entrance. Orders may take longer to process than normal due to COVID-19, so be sure to order your textbooks ahead of time.

What’s up with Uptown?

Although we understand that everyone is safer at home, sanitation and safety regulations have come quite a ways since March. Restaurants have figured out ways to remain open, and put safety at the forefront of their operation. That being said, Uptown Towson is still open for business! This past June, the Seats in the Streets” initiative was developed by the Towson Chamber of Commerce. It allows restaurants in Uptown to seat more customers outdoors, right on Pennsylvania Avenue on Saturdays from 11am – 9:30pm, and Sundays from 10am – 10pm. The street is currently shared between Nacho Mama’s and C&R pub. New to Towson, and also offering outdoor seating, is the Backyard Uptown, which was formerly the Green Turtle. And just up the street from the brand new Backyard is long time resident, the Rec Room, which is offering a special on Saturday and Sunday brunch on the Rec Room patio. Reserve your spot by calling ahead. All of these restaurants also offer limited capacity indoor seating. Up in Towson Square, On the Border, which was voted the best Mexican restaurant in Towson by The Towerlight 2020 “Towson’s Best” survey, is also open for dine-in and take-out. Likewise are its neighbors from around the fountain, Nando’s, BJ’s brewhouse, Bonefish Grill and Maimura Sushi Noodle & Korean BBQ. World of Beer is not open for dine-in services, but they do offer take-out. And of course we can’t forget about Towson’s best, literally. Towson’s Best Chinese and Sushi restaurant is not open for dine-in services, but they do offer both takeout and delivery services. If you have more of a sweet tooth, Insomnia Cookies offers both takeout and delivery. Finally, just to name a few more places still open in Uptown: Red Pepper Sichuan Bistro, Charles Village Pub, Sushi Hana and Pho Dat Thanh, all of which offer both dine-in and take-out. 

Maintaining your Wellness

At the request of the SGA and other student organizations on campus, Towson University has invested its mental health services. This summer the Counseling Center was able to hire more Staff Psychologists, and implement a new model of care called the flex care model. Under this model, students can seek immediate wellness care by selecting from a variety of new guidance opportunities. One of the most drastic changes is the center’s implementation of up to 100 appointment slots per day for students to sign up for a same-day one-on-one counseling session. Clinical Director Dr. Maria Wydra shared that short solution-focused sessions can be much more effective for students with limited time and an immediate need for guidance. Students should also look into the center’s expanded group opportunities. Some groups include a Psychotherapy Process Group, Complicated Grief Group Therapy, Sister-to-Sister: Women of Color Support Group, Generation One: Support Group for First Generation Students, and more. The Counseling Center also has mindfulness and meditation rooms. Students can sign up for guided meditation or use the space individually, or book a Relaxon zero-gravity massage chair by calling the counseling center. Another key addition brought about by the flex care model is increased workshops and programs. Some workshop topics include adjusting to college, anxiety management, body image, coping with depression, dating or domestic violence relationship issues, diversity awareness, and many more. All of these methods strive to empower individuals to take charge of their own mental health paths, and allow individuals to access resources that vary in comparison to traditional western-centric models of care. You can call the counseling center at 410-704-2512 to book your appointment. Or, for on-campus support after hours, you can call the Towson University Police Department at 410-704-4444. TUPD is able to reach Counseling Center staff as needed in an emergency. More resources are available on the Counseling Center’s webpage.

Safety on the Shuttles

TU Shuttle services will start up again on Monday, Aug. 24. Parking and Transportation services have released an info sheet advising students on the many ways they can protect themselves if they plan on using the shuttle. First and foremost, remember to have your onecard ready, as you’ll still need to swipe in when you board. Masks must be worn by all passengers riding the shuttle, and must cover your nose and mouth. Students are advised to properly clean or discard their masks after use. Remember if you need to cough or sneeze to cover your mouth, even in a mask. In the section “Doc marks the spot,” it states that the shuttles will have marked seats to enforce social distancing procedures on the shuttle. There are occupancy limits on the shuttles, so be advised that you will need to plan ahead during peak times to catch a spot on the shuttle. Don’t forget to download the TURIDE app to track your bus route and view estimated arrival times. Six feet distance between you and others is required. In addition to the enforcement of procedures when students are riding the shuttle, it will also be cleaned regularly following CDC guidelines. Paratransit, SafeRide and charter bus services will also still be available. Make sure to follow the rules and listen to your Driver, because the infographic states that “Drivers may refuse ridership at their discretion.” 

Cook Library cuts capacity 

Get ready to plan your studying in advance, because Cook Library is undergoing changes in procedure due to COVID-19. The library reopened with limited hours Aug. 10, but plans on increasing those hours when classes start Aug. 24. These hours will be 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and closed on Sundays. The 24-hour study room will also be available from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. those days. That being said, the library has a limited capacity, which students will be able to check the status of on the library website. According to the website, this service will be available “soon.” If you get to the library and are stopped due to capacity limitations, the greeter or security guard will take down your contact information to alert you as soon as space is available. In addition, masks are required and there will be no eating allowed in the library. The website states that “sipping drinks is permitted,” but there will be no food tolerated in the library space at any time. If you plan on using technology, it is encouraged to grab sanitation wipes from their sanitizing station and wipe down any shared spaces and technology after you use them. Students will not be allowed to leisurely look through the book collection and will only be able to check books out they want to use. The one exception to this is reference books, but they are to be returned in a specific cart for sanitization protocol. There will be no group study spaces open and space is not reservable at this time. 

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