Masked Move-In

Junior Alex Harsha moves into her dorm room during the October move-in period. Students needed to take a COVID-19 test before returning to campus. 

After seven months away from their dorms, classrooms and friends, roughly 400 juniors and seniors moved back on campus in the final phase of Eckerd’s return plan. 

Every student planning to return received an email from the Housing Office with specific check-in dates and times. Move in occurred during the college’s normal business hours of 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Oct. 22 to Oct. 24. According to Associate Director of Campus Housing Billy Otto, the campus has 1,351 students in on-campus housing.

This year, students were required to test for COVID-19 and receive a negative result back as well as get a flu shot before coming on campus. If any student was unable to get one before arriving, Walgreens held a flu shot clinic in the McArthur Gymnasium during move-in days. 

Students completed an online safety course that provides information on how to be safe in the midst of the pandemic. The Everbridge app needed to be downloaded in order to monitor any symptoms while on campus as well. 

Junior Sami Trattel said she thought it was a smart choice for the school to test students before returning, but wished there was a second test when students checked in on campus. 

“I feel like if anyone was really going to get COVID, it would be through travel since most people live out of state,” Trattel said.

As of Nov. 3, there have been 1754 pre-arrival tests for COVID-19, with nine positive results. Students who tested positive were allowed to come to campus 10 days after their test date as long as they recovered. As of Nov. 3, there are no active cases of COVID-19 on campus.

When students returned on their assigned move-in day, they were directed to go towards McArthur Gymnasium for a drive-thru check-in with Resident Advisors. RAs approached the cars of students asking for their student IDs to exchange for a new one along with their dorm key for the semester. 

The college permitted students to have up to two family members to assist with the move-in process. Guests were required to wear masks and follow social-distancing guidelines during the four hours they were allowed on campus.

Senior Helen Wittenborn said check-in was more efficient this year compared to past years. However, the time constraint to move in felt stressful. 

“I only had four hours for my mom to help me,” Wittenborn said. “So it was kind of hectic, because we only had two people to do it.” 

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