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Norwich University’s first wave of students arrive on campus

Published: Aug. 8, 2020 at 10:03 AM EDT|Updated: Aug. 10, 2020 at 7:57 AM EDT
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NORTHFIELD, Vt. - Norwich University welcomes its first group of students back to campus today.

Approximately 400 to 500 students are expected to return in this first wave. These students arriving are those who need to quarantine per the state of Vermont’s guidelines.

Norwich says they have a structured intake method, requiring health screenings and COVID-19 testing.

Students can only have two adults with them and cannot help students move belongings into rooms. Families will not be allowed to tour the campus.

Arrival dates continue until the end of the month.

Norwich University allowed the first of six waves of students to return to campus on Saturday as part of its phased reopening.

On Saturday, 400 out-of-state students arrived. University officials say it was imperative that out-of-students come back first because they need to quarantine in order to comply with the State of Vermont’s guidelines.

As soon as students and their families got to the university, they were required to stay in their cars until they went through the check-in, which included a health screening and a temperature check. The process took anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes.

After going through check-in, students got their room assignments and headed to their dormitory. Parents were not allowed inside the dorms, so students helped each other move in.

Once they were settled, all the Cadets had to take a COVID-19 test and are required to self-quarantine in their dorm room until they receive their results within 48 hours.

Freshmen say starting college during a pandemic is a little nerve-wracking.

“I was not even nervous about the coronavirus itself. I was more nervous about the college experience because I know Norwich has a huge rook week and a lot of the parents get to do things with you and it’s a big nice goodbye,” said James Donnelly.

Despite the circumstances, they say there's still a lot to look forward to.

“I’m definitely excited about getting started here. Moving forward with my life. Basically moving into the next stage,” said Thomas Harwood.

Upperclassmen, like junior Stayton Smith, say they’re really not expecting much of a difference this year.

“I think we’re going to do the whole thing. Go the whole nine yards and have a full Norwich year. We’re going to train recruits as we always have, just with better precautions, better spacing, and make everybody a better cadet,” said Smith.

President Mark Anarumo says everyone will get tested once every three weeks. Anyone who tests positive will be evaluated by medical professionals in a blocked off dormitory.

“You can trust us with your sons and daughters. We’re going to do this the right way. We’re going to lead by example,” Anarumo said. “We want to be the standard of higher education, that if you choose to reopen your campus for in-person instruction and the on-campus experience, then we want to set that golden standard.”

The rest of the Cadets will come in five other groups with everyone on campus by the end of the month. Classes begin on August 31.

Other measures the university is taking in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, include requiring physical distancing in all communal areas, including classrooms and academic spaces, dining and fitness facilities; reducing capacity on campus to about 70%; and increasing dining options to include to-go meals.

Later this week, University of Vermont students will be moving back to campus.

They have strict rules to follow, although Burlington’s mayor is looking for even more rules and enforcement.

The plan right now is all students must complete and return an at-home COVID test, at least five days before they get to Burlington.

Students will then be tested the day they arrive, and then get weekly tests until mid-September.

The university says there will be serious consequences for students who don’t follow testing protocol.

Copyright 2020 WCAX. All rights reserved.

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