Friday marked the first official day for University of Arizona students to move into campus life as the school enters the final stretch before the fall semester begins Aug. 24.
Hundreds of students took part in the university’s required coronavirus testing before making their way to assigned dorms.
They were a portion of at least 5,000 expected to live on campus, according to UA.
As of 3:30 p.m. Friday, 560 students — a mix of those living on and off campus — were tested for coronavirus resulting in one positive case. It is the second case found in recent days and both students are in the UA’s isolation dorm, school officials said.
The staff was still planning to test at least another 100 students before the end of day.
The move-in experience, which included testing and waiting for results before entering the dorms went “smoothly” according to Jayden Ramirez, a transfer student studying psychology.
He was among the hundreds who visited the McKale Center to first go through a wellness check to determine if someone is symptomatic, including temperature checks and asking each student and their family members questions about any recent symptoms associated with COVID-19.
Ramirez said staff helped students through the testing site. Each student was then given a nasal swab test to complete the test while staff ensured students administered it correctly.
“Everything went smoothly, I actually got my results pretty fast, I got them in 30 minutes,” Ramirez said.
A negative test means the next step is moving into the dorms.
However, the move-in process didn’t come without some worries, Ramirez said.
The dorms will be sites for community living, where students will have no more than one roommate throughout the semester.
“Honestly, I was pretty worried about the whole dorm situation because I do have a roommate, but I feel that you both have to talk to each other and just make sure that if you are not feeling OK, you tell the other person. I think it’s just a matter of communication,” he said.
Ramirez added that, “Aside from that, they’ve done everything really well, everybody’s wearing their masks, everything’s clean, they were cleaning thoroughly after every person comes in and takes their COVID test, so it’s going very well.”
Like Ramirez, Alanna Zubler is trusting the UA’s process to keep the community safe as she continues her graduate studies in biosystems engineering.
“It’s been pretty smooth so far, I haven’t come across any issues,” Zubler said after moving on campus with help from family. “I’m really confident in the U of A, I know we have a really strong medical program, so when it comes to the capabilities of being able to manage everything and make changes as necessary, I really don’t have any worries at all.”
Zubler said there will be challenges during the semester, mainly the fact that not all classes will be in-person.
Only 50% of all courses at UA will be held in-person and there are caps on the number of students who will attend those classes.
“I’ll really need to try and make a good schedule that I can stick to and that I feel comfortable with. That will help me stay productive,” Zubler said.
Ramirez said he still sees some of the possibilities for making the semester the best it can possible be during a pandemic. He’ll be taking most of his classes online while working on campus. There are also plans for joining a fraternity.
“I want to get as involved as I can, I will be involved in Greek life. So I’m very excited about that. We are in a pandemic so it’s going to look a little different, but still like we will make the best out of it, we’ll make it a good year,” Ramirez said.
Contact Star reporter Shaq Davis at 573-4218 or firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @ShaqDavis1.