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Indiana University prepares for the return of students in Bloomington

Posted at 11:16 PM, Aug 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-07 23:16:29-04

BLOOMINGTON — Colleges and universities are getting ready to welcome students back to campus. Fall semesters are set to begin this month.

When you think of college move-in, you probably picture scenes with thousands of students on campus bringing family and friends to help out. This year it will be a much different scene as IU staggers move-in days and times to promote social distancing.

"It's definitely been different than obviously years in the past," Brinley Foster, a freshman at IU, said.

Some freshman athletes are on campus already. They and all incoming students will be required to get a COVID test upon their arrival. IU leaders said students and staff members will continue to be tested throughout the semester.

"We are going to be checking to make sure that if there is a hint of an outbreak we are on top of it and then using contact tracers we are going to be looking to make sure we can get in touch with people who may have come in contact with somebody that could have been exposed to COVID," Chuck Carney, director of media relations for IU, said.

Many classes will be online rather than in-person. In-person class size has been reduced to follow state and CDC guidelines. The school has around 540 dorm rooms on campus that have been set aside for those who do test positive for COVID-19. IU Health will provide virtual screenings and healthcare visits for students as well.

"This is an unusual year for everyone," Carney said. "We are going to be working with students in a way that we obviously didn't need to do before on the healthcare front."

The university has not released information on a specific number of positive cases that would prompt a total shutdown. Students said they hope it doesn't get to that point.

"I think it's going to depend a lot on everyone doing their part and being safe and smart about things because that is the only way things are going to be able to get better," Taylor Etling, a freshman at IU, said.

IU is also asking students to follow local ordinances that ban large gatherings like parties. Officials said students who violate those restrictions could be expelled.