Eastern Mennonite University delayed move-in for students until the first weekend of September, while continuing with online classes for the last four weeks.
The idea was to let other area college and university students move in, so EMU officials could observe the number of COVID-19 cases in the area and help mitigate cases on campus by moving in at a different time.
Most students moved in over the course of four days between Sept. 3-6. Some students decided to move in the following weekend because they wanted to avoid moving onto campus the same weekend that James Madison University students were moving out, said Shannon Dycus, dean of students.
Overall, move-in went “really well,” Dycus said. “We spent a lot of time figuring it out and adjusting to new regulations and protocols.”
Like other area institutions, EMU staggered move-ins over four days. Unlike others, however, EMU allowed only one parent to help with move-in. Dycus said the decision was “challenging and hard,” but the university felt it was necessary to ensure the safety of students and their living space.
EMU’s enrollment numbers are actually a little higher this year than last, which is surprising given the current state of the country and financial situations, Dycus said.
Currently, students are participating in a hybrid-flexibility model of learning, or hy-flex, which includes both online and in-person learning. If a classroom cannot accommodate a class, the class is being split between two time slots.
In-person classes began again this past Thursday to give students and faculty a chance to get used to social distancing, masks and other mitigation efforts on campus.
EMU launched a COVID-19 dashboard on Monday like other colleges and universities across the state to keep the community abreast of the number of active and non-active cases. As of Tuesday afternoon, the dashboard was reporting six total cases.
Bridgewater College has reported 31 total cases since March.
James Madison University is reporting 1,358 total cases, with 357 of those active. JMU has gone mostly online and sent more than half of on-campus students home.