With the spring semester just around the corner, hundreds of BYU-Idaho students are signing up for housing contracts in Rexburg.

Unlike in previous semesters though, there aren’t nearly as many students signing a contract for an apartment.

“As of this morning, we are at 63.7 percent occupancy for this coming spring semester,” said Troy Dougherty, the director of the Housing and Student Living Office at BYU-Idaho.

The start of the spring semester is two weeks away, and Dougherty said that this occupancy rate is light for this time of year. However, he also said spring semesters usually have less students than fall and winter semesters.

“In the spring, we always see less occupancy. We have less students here on campus, and we don’t have the influx of the brand-new freshmen in the spring semester,” he said in an interview with BYU-Idaho Radio.

He did, however, notice that the occupancy rates this winter weren’t as full as they usually are.

“This winter semester, we were at 84 percent capacity across approved housing. To put that in perspective, we have 16,405 beds within approved housing,” Dougherty said.

84 percent of 16,405 is about 13,780. That leaves 2,635 beds vacant in the city. Dougherty said COVID-19 is the main cause to blame here.

“The projection was higher pre-COVID for the winter 2021 semester. However, because of some limitations with class offerings, we did see a downtick in occupancy from winter 2020 to winter 2021,” he said.

This could cause a hiccup for apartment managers and landlords, but Dougherty says we could see a return to normal by next fall.

“We hope, of course, as the vaccine becomes more universally available and as BYU-Idaho opens up more face-to-face classes, that we’ll get back to our projected occupancy within approved housing,” Dougherty said.