Texas State move-in day, a day typically filled with the hustle-and-bustle of eager freshmen preparing for the beginning of a new chapter, is gearing up to look vastly different this fall in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19.
For some incoming Texas State students, the excitement that typically accompanies move-in day has now been replaced with concern and fear as they navigate 30-minute arrival appointments and a limit of two helpers per student.
Nadia Dees, an elementary education freshman from Dallas, plans to move into Falls Hall this August. While Dees says she is glad to see the university taking precautions and keeping students informed, she is curious to see how the rules will be enforced once students have settled into the dorms.
“It seems like the idea of having people move in during separate times was good,” Dees said. “But with Falls, there is Falls and Sayers [Hall], so there’s going to be double the amount of people, so I’m like, ‘how are you going to enforce not having a lot of people there if that was the goal?'”
Despite her concerns, Dees says she looks forward to moving into the dorms and having the opportunity to experience something new. The same sentiment is shared by Caleb Rodriguez, a clinical laboratory science freshman from San Antonio, who will be moving into Beretta Hall.
As an essential worker at a Whataburger in San Antonio, Rodriguez says he is not too worried about contacting COVID-19 since he is already accustomed to the risks while at work. However, to keep himself and others safe, Rodriguez says he will be following the university’s health and safety guidelines.
“I feel like as long as everyone respects each other’s boundaries and we’re being hygienic in the dorms like we say we’ll be, everything will be fine,” Rodriguez said.
The Department of Housing and Residential Life has its own safety measures it will be implementing in dorms this year. The measures include reducing the amount of furniture in community areas, frequently cleaning community bathrooms and removing community refrigerators and microwaves.
Residents in the dorms will also be required to wear face masks in public areas such as lobbies and lounges and are being encouraged to conduct daily welfare checks to check for signs of the virus before they leave for class or work.
If a resident experiences symptoms of COVID-19, she, he or they is encouraged to call the Student Health Center for an evaluation and test if needed. If they test positive for the virus, the Department of Housing has reduced the number of available apartment units to create isolation spaces for students who need to be quarantined.
Chloe Jerez, a nursing freshman from McAllen, says while she feels nervous about moving into her dorm in San Marcos Hall, she remains eager to leave her hometown.
“I want to say my parents are more worried,” Jerez said. “I told them that this is the new reality we live in. Whether or not it gets worse or better, this is our new reality. It’s not going to go away tomorrow [or] in two weeks. We just need to take precautions because that’s what’s going to get us through this.”
Despite the unconventional start to her freshman year, Jerez says she hopes she will still get the opportunity to experience life as a college freshman.
It won’t be difficult for in-state students like Dees, Rodriguez and Jerez to travel back home if fall classes are moved online. However, for out-of-state students like Madelynn Jones, a criminal justice freshman from Deerpark, Washington, it is a different story.
Jones is a third-generation Bobcat who plans to move into San Jacinto Hall this fall. While Jones is happy to move out of her hometown, she says she worries about the rising number of cases in San Marcos and its surrounding areas.
She says she does not want a do-over of what happened with summer II classes in which classes were moved online days before thousands of students were expected to return to campus for in-person instruction.
“Being out of state, my family is worried that we’re going to get halfway down there and [Texas State will] say that classes are online,” she said. “I’m paying thousands of dollars to be on campus, and if I can’t even go to class or do anything on campus, I don’t want to stay locked up in a tiny dorm.”
For more information on the Roadmap to Return visit the official website. To see a more in-depth list of the new guidelines from the Department of Housing and Residential Life visit the move-in website.