UNK students move into residence halls with COVID-19 safety measures

Published: Aug. 17, 2020 at 6:49 PM CDT
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KEARNEY, Neb. (KSNB) - Moving into a college dorm room is an exciting time for most incoming students. With extra COVID-19 safety procedures, this year’s move-in at the University of Nebraska at Kearney is a one-of-a-kind experience.

UNK’s move-in is longer than normal this year, spanning over eight days. Students can sign up for a two-hour time slot with a maximum of 60 openings. This limits crowd sizes and allows for more social distancing to keep students safe as they arrive on campus.

“This year is completely different from every other year since we have to practice social distancing, but we have the same goal: That is to create an environment in the community where the students are happy with each other, they know each other and they are encouraged to live on campus,” said Adrian Armeida, a first-time UNK Resident Assistant.

The move-in process continued Monday with around 130 students heading into their dorms. UNK officials said 135 students moved in Friday and around 400 moved in Sunday.

Before moving into their respective residence halls, students are asked to self-check for COVID-19 symptoms using either the Campus Clear app or a paper form. Students are asked to do this daily.

Unlike most move-in years, volunteers aren’t available to assist families in the process. Students are limited to two guests each to help move. Carts are sanitized between use.

Face masks are required at all times except in private rooms. That includes residence hall common areas, hallways, lobbies and elevators.

“Wearing a mask I think is the most important thing,” said George Holman, associate dean of student affairs at UNK. “So far everybody has been really good about wearing masks and I hope that continues for the rest of the week.”

Holman said staff created a school safety plan in April. They refined it further at a retreat in June.

Last semester, Holman said the school offered discounted single rooms. He said about 250 students signed up. Single rooms seem to be a popular option this fall as well.

“I would say at this point about half our students living on campus, probably a little bit more, are living in single rooms. So that’s been nice to have that little extra layer of social distancing built in,” Holman said.

UNK estimates 1,350 students will move into the residence halls this fall.

Although this wasn’t how most incoming freshmen thought their first year of college would start, some said they’re just happy to be there.

“I was very scared we weren’t going to be able to come to campus,” said Ahnika Sbajgr, a freshman nursing major at UNK.

“I’m definitely glad that we got to move in, even though it was crazy,” added Ashley Ringlein, a UNK freshman elementary education major.

All new and returning students will be moved in by Sunday, Aug. 23. Back to School Bash activities will continue through Saturday.

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