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UW and WSU changing dorms in response to coronavirus

Dorm life will be different for UW and WSU students, with different room layouts, physically distant shared spaces, and fewer people overall.

SEATTLE — Dorm life will be different for University of Washington and Washington State University students this fall, with different room layouts, physically distant shared spaces, and fewer people overall.

Normally, some of the dorms at UW have two, three, and even four beds in them. UW said it will likely cap each room at a maximum of two students. The university said it anticipates less demand for dorms, and it will house fewer students.

Even with those limitations, UW said it does not think it will have to deny any students who apply for housing.

The university announced on Wednesday about 80% of fall courses will be held remotely and about 20% will be held in-person.

Washington State University said it plans to house most students in single dorm rooms, and it’ll reduce capacity in residence halls by about 2,000 students.

RELATED: Coronavirus cases climb on UW's Greek row amid outbreak

“We are unfortunately having to turn some students away,” said Phil Weiler, WSU's vice president for marketing and communications. “We always have sophomores or in some cases, even juniors who ask to stay in our residence halls. We’re not going to be able to accommodate those students.”

The reduction in students represents a $20 million loss in revenue to housing and dining operations next year, Weiler said.

“This is a huge financial hit to these self-supporting services,” he said.

WSU backtracked on a housing payment policy this week after an outcry from students. The university previously said it would not offer refunds if it had to close a dorm due to COVID-19, but when a petition opposing that policy gathered thousands of signatures, WSU changed its mind and said it will offer refunds if it has to shut down housing.

“Without you guys, this wouldn't have happened,” a petition update said.

“We heard loud and clear from families and from students that they were concerned about that,” Weiler said.

RELATED: Changes expected at WSU for upcoming fall semester