NORMAL, Ill. (WMBD) — Illinois State University (ISU) Redbirds are flocking back to campus with the first day of classes less than a week away.
The university is taking extra precautions with the move-in process, which is happening over the course of seven days.
The ISU campus returned to life Wednesday as students began moving into their residence halls ready to take flight into a more traditional college semester.
Wednesday’s rain did not stop an exciting time for ISU students who are ready to be on their own. Move-in week is underway at the university and for president Dr. Terri Goss-Kinzy, like many students, it’s her first.
“[There’s been] smiles, excitement, people meeting each other and seemed like they were already friends and it turns out they’re roommates who just met for the first time,” Kinzy said.
Kinzy said with most classes taking place on campus, residence halls are full. She said it’s a return to normal operations for the most part at ISU.
“This is going to positively impact the student experience. Even our sophomores are excited to experience things for the first time. You might almost say we have two freshman classes,” Kinzy said.
Last year, many students opted for online-only classes due to COVID-19. The university is not offering as many virtual options this year.
Sophomore parent Amy Hoffenkamp said the move-in is a first for her and her daughter, who missed out on the opportunity last year.
“She didn’t live on campus last year because all of her classes were online. She did full-time classes from home, so this is her first actual move-in as a sophomore,” Hoffenkamp said.
ISU is taking precautions as COVID-19 and the highly contagious Delta variant swarm the country. Per CDC guidelines, masks are required in all university-owned buildings, and students are required to show proof of vaccination or submit to weekly testing.
Stacey Mwilambwe, Director of Housing Services at the university, said the same rules apply on move-in day.
“They were asked to upload a negative test before they were able to get their key or to upload their vaccination record,” Mwilambwe said.
Starting last year, students signed up for individual check-in times due to COVID-19. Mwilambwe said it’s a process they kept this year to allow for a smoother check-in.
“What it also allows us to do is keep people separated out, so that there aren’t too many people coming at one time,” Mwilambwe said.
Hoffenkamp said the process was easy and is excited for her daughter to experience college.
“I feel pretty good because she’s vaccinated and has a good head on her shoulders. She’ll do the right thing and stay as safe as she can,” Hoffenkamp said.
Move-in week lasts through Sunday, Aug. 15. Classes begin Monday, Aug 16.