ORLANDO, Fla. – Hundreds of University of Central Florida students are moving into their dorm rooms ahead of the fall semester, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic, move-in day looks a little different this year.
Incoming freshman Olivia Wylie said she couldn't wait for this day.
“I’ve been waiting for it while now ever since I got my move-in day, I’ve been counting it down,” Wylie said.
She is excited to start a new chapter at UCF as she moved into her dorm Saturday morning. Her parents helped her unload her belongings. But before she could get her key, UCF required all students moving onto campus to get a COVID-19 test first.
Wylie said it was a smooth and easy process.
"I really appreciate that they're doing the COVID test. It makes me feel a lot safer about coming to campus," she said.
Wylie joined hundreds of students and their families moving into the dorms on Saturday. It marks the first of 16 move-in days before classes start on August 24.
University officials said to prevent spreading the virus, they reduced dorm occupancy and no visitors are allowed this year.
Maribeth Ehasz, the vice president for student development and enrollment services at UCF, said they have plans in place is a student living on campus gets sick.
"We do think that a number of them will return to their residence. However, we have arranged for on our main campus probably 80, 83 spaces for isolation and certain remote locations another 80 spaces, so we think we'll be as prepared as best as we can," Ehasz said.
Macy Etchison is also excited to start her freshman year. She said even though the pandemic may impact her college experience, she is looking forward to the semester.
“I was looking forward to football games and stuff and I think school might be a little harder online to be productive, but as long as we stay positive and just motivated I think we’ll be okay,” Etchison said.
Here are 5 ways move-in day at UCF is different this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic
Move-in happening earlier
To limit the number of people moving onto campus a time, the university started the move-in process earlier to provide a staggered move-in process with physical distancing. Move-in will take place over 16 days beginning August 8 through August 23. Residents must make appointments to move-in.
Two-part drive-thru process
Students moving onto the main campus are required to take a COVID-19 test in a campus garage provided by Aventus Biolabs. After the test, students will go to another parking garage to be checked-in by UCF housing staff, receive their keys and student identification, and be provided a packet of materials that includes a face covering.
Limit the number of helpers
UCF is limiting the number of people to help students move into their dorms. Only two people are allowed to assist. The university hired movers to help families.
Face masks required
Everyone is required to wear face coverings throughout their move-in window.
Dorm occupancy reduced
University officials said overall occupancy across UCF Housing units was reduced by 484 beds. Many suite residence halls are only going to be occupied by one student. UCF said throughout the semester no off-campus guests or visitors are permitted in any residential buildings after move-in. Officials said residents are allowed to have one guest from their assigned building in their room at a time.
Parents of Central Florida students can find everything they need to know about their district’s back-to-school plan at ClickOrlando.com/backtoschool.