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Only 1,400 students moving into UD dorms; half are freshmen

The school has told students to bring 7 to 14 face masks with them; and to pack a to-go bag in case they are suddenly put in quarantine.

Fewer than 1,400 students will be moved into University of Delaware campus dorms this weekend.

UD’s City Council representative Caitlin Olsen told the Newark City Council Monday night that the school is only expecting half of the students for dorms that it originally predicted for the fall semester.

The school in early summer had announced a mix of in-person and remote classes, then changed that a few months later to say that because the coronavirus was still spreading among young people, most classes would be online, with only a few requiring face-to-face contact held in person.

“About half of the students moving in this year are freshman,” Olsen said.

The school has also recommended that each student come with seven to 14 face masks.

The university will hold a COVID-19 testing Friday, Aug. 29, Olsen said. The first two hours of the testing will be open to University of Delaware affiliates only.

Council member Chris Hamilton praised UD for its decisions.

“You took the lead in the health of the city and were very compliant without measures,” Hamilton said.

Dorm move-ins will be done by appointment. Notifications are being through email. Students must check in before they get to their dorm.

Olsen said that the school is committed to testing its student during the semester, aiming to run 1,000 tests a week for students, faculty and resident of the UD area.

The school has also created something of a quarantine zone for students that test positive.

“Our first suggestion is; Can you isolate at home? As in, do you have your own bathroom?” Olsen said.

If not, Olsen said the school will be supply an isolation zone for the student. This area will provide the student with both physical and mental health care, as the 14-day quarantine period has been a lot for young people. Nurses as well as mental health counselors will be available to students. The isolation zone will even offer religious services.

The school has also recommended that the student bring a grab bag containing clothes, books and any other necessities in case the student has to isolate, Olsen said.

“We’re trying to not make isolation a punishment,” Olsen said. “We’ve asked teachers to be able to pivot their classes quickly in case their student gets isolated.”

Olsen couldn’t say how many students might be moving to Newark outside of campus housing, but said the school will get back to the city council with a number after the semester starts.

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