DENTON, Texas - North Texas colleges and universities are starting to welcome students back on campus for the fall term.
Campus administrators say everything will look a lot different this year due to COVID-19, including move-in day.
Some campuses had in-person summer session, so they’ve seen new protocols in practice on a small scale. Now they will see how things work out with thousands of students living and attending class together on campus.
Texas Christian University in Fort Worth is among the first locally to welcome incoming freshman to campus for move in and orientation described as “new students first face-to-face encounter.”
Freshman will be given a wellness kit with at least one face covering when they arrive.
Further north in Denton County, preparation underway for students heading to the University of North Texas.
“Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, which are really the big days everybody has a reserved block of half an hour to get their stuff in the rooms,” said Neal Smatresk, UNT President.
Smatresk says they’ll be at 85 percent dorm occupancy, which leaves some room for social distancing.
UNT will do extra sanitizing, upgraded the air filtration system and notices have already gone out for the first group of random coronavirus testing happening throughout the year.
“We’ll be sampling 10 percent of the population and that will give us an idea of the current active rate of infection,” Smatresk said.
UNT will have about 50 people doing contact tracing.
At nearby Texas Woman’s University, move in starts Sunday. The school will have a similar lower occupancy, which means the elimination of quad and triple rooms and increasing single occupancy rooms.
TWU students will move in by time slot and each student can have only 1 helper.
“We've extended our moving schedule. It's actually the 16th through the 19th. So it's a very long schedule, it's usually not this long. And we also have a moving company that will help to get our students belongings safely from their vehicles to their rooms,” said Amy Evans, TWU Director of Communications Student Life.
Move in starts Monday at SMU.
VP of Academic Affairs Elizabeth Loboa recently told Good Day that students must take precautions, like mask wearing, seriously.
“Their behavior will dictate whether or not we have a healthy semester, where we all get to stay on campus,” Loboa said.
In a matter of days, area universities will find out if all their planning pays off.
“We believe we’ve done incredible preparation and a great team has done their work,” Smatresk said.