Spread out move-in process at NMU allows for more individual connections

One-thousand students have already moved into traditional on-campus housing before classes begin Monday.
Published: Aug. 11, 2020 at 9:38 AM EDT
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - The parking lots and residence halls on the Northern Michigan University campus are filling up again.

One-thousand students have already moved into traditional on-campus housing before classes begin Monday. The move-in process started last Saturday and is spread out over a week. That’s one of many on-campus changes designed to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Samantha Wardisiani, a theater tech and design freshman from Midlothian, Ill., said the move-in process went smoothly Monday morning.

“I’ve been wanting to go here since I started my senior year, so it’s kind of weird and real at the same time to be here right now,” Wardisiani said.

Parents, like Tony and Kris Tognetti of Howell, are told to stay outside while their kids move in.

“It’s a big step as a freshman, going off to school, so it’s nice to be able to go into the room and help them. Not being able to do that is I’m sure difficult for her but also for us, I think,” Tony said.

“Just to see it all set up, but it could be a good thing, too, for independence purposes,” Kris added.

Before students can even start the move-in process at their residence halls, they have to go first to the Northern Center where they get their dorm key and a test for COVID-19, said Jeff Korpi, the director of housing and residence life at NMU.

“On a typical move-in day we’re usually moving in 2,000 students all at once,” Korpi said. “So this allowed us to spread it out and connect with people individually.”

There are fewer students living in the residence halls this fall semester.

“Our number is a touch lower than last year, but it also has to do with the number of singles that we sold this year,” said Korpi.

For now, meals are being served individually.

“It’s going to be a build up,” Korpi said. “So right now, students can place a food order on an app. They can come down and within 10 minutes they can pick up their food order.”

No guests or visitors will be allowed into the residence halls this year.

“We want to keep that herd safe,” said Korpi. “We want to keep them together, and we can all get through this.”

He said Resident Advisors have been trained to meet with students in much smaller groups this year.

“Roommates and suite-mates, that’s almost like a family unit,” said Korpi. “We want to encourage that and keep those folks doing things together. But when we start to see big groups, when we start to see folks intermingling between off-campus and groups on-campus, that’s where our staff will get involved and look to encourage those folks to separate and keep a distance.”

Classes begin next Monday for students starting a new chapter during a pandemic.

“For right now I have most of them in person and then I have two online,” said Wardisiani.

As of Sunday evening, NMU has sent out 3,800 coronavirus samples to an Illinois lab for testing. Results are back from 900 of those tests, and five have come back positive. None of those people live on campus, and the university says contact tracing is ongoing. NMU plans to update testing results here.

Copyright 2020 WLUC. All rights reserved.

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