What to expect living on campus during the pandemic

On the first day of Move-In Week 2020 at Colorado State University, Housing & Dining Services was prepared to welcome 5,5 76 students to the on-campus residence halls. Everyone has different expectations of what the first day, first week, first month, and first semester under COVID-19 will look like. Aside from the typical excitement and curiosity that students bring with them, this year we can add to the mix all the apprehensions from the unknowns that the pandemic contributes.

CSU staff and administrators have spent countless hours planning and preparing for the best in-person campus experience possible while carefully following public health guidelines. Housing & Dining Services has worked collaboratively with units across campus to collectively offer an opportunity for student growth and academic success through a hybrid of in-person and virtual services.

Here’s a glimpse of what to expect during the first few days on campus in the residence halls and apartment communities.

Move-in

Students are asked to bring their own dolly if available. This year, masks/face coverings are required. (Photo from 2019)

In order to adhere to physical distancing guidelines and reduce the number of people coming and going at the same time, students living in the residence halls are arriving over the course of five days, Aug. 17-21, and must register for a move-in time slot at myhousing.colostate.edu. Arrivals are limited to 15 residents per building, per hour, between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m.

Upon arrival on campus, students should first check in to their assigned COVID testing tent. Once they receive their COVID test (or opt out on the registration website), they may proceed with check in and unload their vehicle. Residents are each limited to two guests/helpers, who are asked to leave campus by the end of the day to allow the next set of students to move in. No overnight guests are permitted.

Everyone on university grounds must wear a mask/face covering at all times in public spaces, including outdoors.

COVID testing

Fill out the online COVID Symptom Tracker at covidrecovery.colostate.edu/daily-symptom-checker.

CSU has partnered with a third-party lab in Boulder, Biodesix, to provide a simple nasal swab-test to all students who will live in university housing as well as faculty and staff who have been identified as having high-contact interactions on campus. The testing will start at move in and continue into the first weeks of the semester, with an anticipated 24- to 48-hour turnaround for test results.

CSU public health officials will follow up on all positive cases and perform contact tracing and provide instructions for self-isolation or quarantine. Isolation space has been set aside for students in university housing who test positive.

Students and staff are also asked to complete a daily online symptom checker.

Increased cleaning and disinfecting

First-year mechanical engineering student Sam using a hand sanitizing station in the Alpine Hall lobby.

Housing & Dining Services Facilities has boosted both the frequency and the level of cleaning in all buildings, particularly on high-touch surfaces. Disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer are available at all front desks and in all dining centers. Students are encouraged to wash their hands frequently, particularly after passing through public spaces. In addition to frequent cleaning, HDS is using electrostatic disinfectant sprayers, which contain positively charged particles that are able to aggressively adhere to surfaces and objects.

Community building for inclusion and student engagement

As students get settled in this year, masks/face coverings are required. (Photo from 2019)

With limited person-to-person contact, University Housing has developed a support and engagement plan for fall using new tools and technologies to connect.

“We are still committed to providing a residential experience that is simple, intentional, and grounded in student success,” says Brian Moffitt, associate director of University Housing. “From day one of move in, residents and their families will be able to see and feel University Housing’s efforts of delivering an experience that is responsive to the health of our community. Residents can expect a Live & Learn experience that is highly virtual. Whether it be from providing every resident with a mask, communicating the importance of physical distancing, or instituting a new guest policy, we have made all decisions with students in mind every step of the way.”

Residence hall and university apartment staff will be engaging with students in each community. Engagement will look a little different this year with everyone plugged in to various devices, but community building is still the focus. Halls will have floor/community meetings, held virtually.

“Community staff will promote and connect students with opportunities to engage in virtual campus activities,” according to University Housing Assistant Director for Inclusion and Student Engagement Mitchell Holston,. “Each hall community will be hosting a virtual program nightly during the first week for Ram Welcome.”

Additionally, staff will be completing 20-minute conversations during move-in week to help greet their residents and help to make their communities feel more like home.

“Creating an excellent residential experience takes the partnership of our incoming residents, especially in a time where we will be engaging virtually,” adds Moffitt. “We encourage residents to commit to engaging, learning, and thriving with us as we all face many unknowns together this semester.”