Despite the growing COVID-19 cases in Valdosta and the city being reported as a ‘red zone’ in leaked white house documents, according to the Valdosta Daily Times, VSU still opened their housing to over 2,700 new and returning students.
This year move-in day was organized differently in order to keep students, their guests and move-in day volunteers safe. It started on Aug. 10 and occurred on multiple days. Students were able to select their own move in times, but were only allowed to bring two cars and two guests to help them move in.
“We aligned move-in day with social distancing and CDC guidelines to limit the number of individuals that come to campus at once.” Dr. Zduy Chu, director of housing and residence life, said.
Move-in day check in was also transformed into a drive through. The University Center parking lot was used as a central location for students and their families to check in before moving into the actual residence halls. Once check-in was complete, students and their guests stayed in their cars until it was their turn to move in.
Students were allowed one hour to move in and only 10 students could move into the residence halls at a time per hour.
Faculty and staff made up most of the move-in day volunteers. This year move-in day had about 130 volunteers.
“I would say that’s a slight decrease because what we normally do is send move-in day volunteer invites out to all students and have returners help the majority of the first-year students move in,” Dr. Chu said. “This year we weren’t able to do that only because we’re also trying to social distance back at campus and so we weren’t able to facilitate that type of process but I’ve been so proud of the Blazer nation faculty and staff for really stepping up.”
Although COVID-19 had a huge effect on how move-in day was organized, it did not affect the capacity of students in each resident hall.
According to Dr.Chu, every resident hall will be at full capacity this fall semester. Centennial Hall currently has the highest capacity with over 524 students living within the hall.
Langdale Hall has the third highest capacity with 489 students housing within the hall. Other halls with high capacities include Hopper Hall with 490 total students and Georgia Hall with 478 total students. Reade Hall has the lowest capcity with a total of 88 students.
Students can, however, expect new changes inside the resident halls this semester. There will no longer be overnight guests allowed. Common areas will still be available for student use but there will be a limit on how many people can be in one area at once.
Signs like this one found in Centennial Hall were put up in all resident halls to promote social distancing guidelines and encourage students to do necessary actions to stay safe.
To help students get away from the chaos of moving in, Campus Recreation hosted various activities throughout the move-in days to entertain students. They also provided students with free lunch and free bags full of supplies such as reusable water bottles, hand sanitizer and other helpful items.
Aug. 14 is the last day for move in day and with the fall semester right around the corner, only time will tell if VSU’s new guidelines and precautions will help keep it’s students safe.
Written by Lenah Allen,Campus Life Editor. Photo courtesy of Lenah Allen.