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UVM move-in day looks very different this year

Published: Aug. 25, 2020 at 4:45 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Hundreds of students have made their way back to the University of Vermont campus and Tuesday, students living on campus started to move in their belongings. Our Ike Bendavid looks at how move-in day is different this year.

After being sent home in March due to the coronavirus, students have started to return to campus at UVM.

"I'm excited for the change of pace and still excited to be here," said Liam Perl, a sophomore.

"I'm excited for the year, a little confused, not exactly sure what I am in for," said Will Fischer, a sophomore.

These students, like thousands of others, choosing to have somewhat of a college experience by living on campus with strict social distancing rules. Most of the schooling this year will be online.

“Little weird, just kind of uneasy. I don’t think anyone knows what things are going to look like, at least socially, which is why I am actually here,” Perl said.

"It will definitely be a change from last year," Fischer said. "But it is what it is."

The move-in was social distance friendly and not as crowded as years past, with limited numbers of people in the dorms at one time. Parents dropping off their kids at school say this year is a little more stressful than before but they say they trust their kids and the school, as the future-- at least until the Thanksgiving break-- is uncertain.

“I’m glad that he is back and I sure hope that they make it to Thanksgiving,” said Johnathan Perl, a parent.

"I feel very good about what UVM has done. I feel that if anyone can pull this off, UVM can," said Becky Fischer, a parent.

"Today is a great day," said Annie Stevens, the vice provost for student affairs.

The school is excited to have students back, even under the circumstances.

The staggered move-in will fill the dorms with single and doubles, no triples this year.

For now, no off-campus guests and no mingling within the dorms.

“They can have guests over in a common area but not in their room till we get a handle on how move-in has gone and if we see any cases arise,” Stevens said.

Students do have strict guidelines they have to follow. They are calling it the “green and gold promise,” a pledge for students to follow testing and screening protocols that include rules for mass gatherings.

If they get caught breaking the rules it could range from a $250 dollar to even being kicked out of school.

"The students know the seriousness of what the sanctions are," Stevens said.

Students I talked with know the reality.

"I don't think people are going to follow the rules if I am being honest. It's college students," Liam Perl said.

But say they will be doing their part.

"I'm going to do my best to follow the rules but at the same time, I need to see friends to stay socially OK. So got to balance that out at the same time to stay safe," Perl said.

"I hope everybody does their best to make it possible for everybody to stay here as long as possible," Will Fischer said.

Students who arrived Tuesday were tested for coronavirus last week and then again Tuesday.

UVM says last week they only had one positive test. That person has recovered.

Students continue the staggered move-ins until Saturday. Classes start on Monday.

Copyright 2020 WCAX. All rights reserved.

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