The fall semester for the 2021-22 school year is approaching quickly, and after the numerous changes spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic, the dorm move-in process for new and returning students at the University of Arizona will be different than years past. Though some progress has been made to return campus life to normal, the university will make an effort to ensure the health and safety of students and volunteers during the hectic dorm move-in process for the fall semester.
The Daily Wildcat spoke with Jamie Matthews, the senior associate director of Residential Education for UA Housing & Residential Life, to get the lowdown about how this year’s dorm move-in process will operate. Matthews worked as a chair for the Housing Move-In Committee for four years, in addition to supervising front desk operations and staff on campus through the housing department.
“As soon as one move-in is complete, we are always looking at how we can make adjustments for the following year," Matthews said. "We coordinate with a lot of staff within our own housing department, in addition with some other campus partners, but it really takes a campus and department-wide effort to make move-in happen."
In years past, the university provided move-in assistance for students, utilizing a team of volunteers wearing brightly-colored shirts to help direct students and their families to their dorms across campus, as well as helping students bring in their belongings to their rooms.
“[Pre-COVID-19] times, we provided move-in support with the help of 100+ volunteers across campus who would physically help move in the students,” Matthews said. “They would help unload their cars and help them carry things into their dorms. Last year, we did not offer that, and we will again not be offering that this year.”
This year, in order to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus and protect those involved, the process will feature less physical assistance and more direction from volunteers to help families find their student’s dorm efficiently. The process will adhere to all state and university guidelines, and all volunteers will follow social distancing protocols to minimize the risk of transmission and exposure to the virus.
Matthews added that while the volunteers will not be physically assisting in moving students’ belongings, the move-in team will increase the number of moving bins that will be available to carry personal belongings, which she noted are very popular and effective for students moving into the dorms.
The move-in team is anticipating all of the dorms to be full or close to full capacity once the fall semester begins, save for one dorm. This year, there will again be a designated isolation dorm for students who test positive for COVID-19, which is currently slated to be Coconino Residence Hall.
Though the challenges of the pandemic have proven difficult for the university community over the last year, Matthews and the move-in team cannot wait for this year’s dorm move-in process and are confident that it will operate as a smooth and efficient system.
“It’s really exciting that we’ve got a full campus of students who are eager and excited to be living with us this fall,” Matthews said.
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