REXBURG, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - Students in Rexburg are hoping to get out of their spring apartment leases since it was announced that classes will be held remotely this spring semester at Bringham Young University Idaho.
Housing contracts can cost students up to $1,500 a semester depending on where they stay. Many students have already signed a contract for the upcoming spring semester, and they feel their contract should be terminated.
"The whole atmosphere of this, this college, this place has, has changed entirely," said BYU-Idaho student, Josh Mayberry.
Mayberry describes what it's like to be one of the few students still in Rexburg. "Everybody's just kind of looking each other like are you sick? Are you sick? Don't come near me."
Like many other universities across the nation, BYU-Idaho switched to holding all classes online for the rest of the semester, shortly afterward, the university announced it will hold it's upcoming spring semester remotely.
With no option of in-person classes, a huge wave of students headed back home.
"I can't sell it, because nobody wants to buy contracts right now thanks to the whole pandemic thing going on," said Mayberry.
Many students like Mayberry are being held back by their housing contract. Over thirteen hundred people have signed a petition online called 'Allow BYU-Idaho students to cancel spring housing contracts."
"To me, it would make sense to you know to say, well, listen, there's a pandemic that's happening right now. People can't leave their homes people need to go back to their families," Mayberry said.
President of BYU-Idaho's approved off-campus housing association Richie Webb says this is an extremely difficult time for everyone, including the off-campus housing owners.
"I've talked to many of the owners and they're very concerned about the students and their safety and well being, and trying to find solutions that best fit student needs and their needs as apartment owners and so there's a variety of ideas and considerations amongst the owners," Webb said.
Webb was unable to share some of the ideas the apartment owners were considering offering.
Webb says the university is allowing each complex to work with its students to find solutions that work for both parties.
In the meantime, the apartments are trying to maintain a safe environment for the students.
"There's a lot of steps being taken to make sure you know the sanitation cleanliness efforts are being made, trying to keep people in smaller groups not doing things that would gather, lots of students in particular places," Webb said.
"I can assure the students and others who are interested that there is a genuine concern for them and their situation for their health and well being, and that their intent and efforts are with students in mind and while we have lots of things to consider as complex owners, financial and other obligations, that we have the students are foremost on our minds," Webb said.
For now, students like Mayberry are waiting to see what options their complex is offering.
BYU-Idaho runs on a track system, and its upcoming spring semester runs from late April to July.
Webb says students should be hearing options to help alleviate their spring contract concerns soon.