By: Cassidy Martenson
Campus has been quiet without students these past couple of months, but as of this weekend on-campus housing is back open at IU South Bend. Students began moving back to campus with protocol in place to keep staff and students safe on Feb. 4-6.
Due to the weather, the arrival testing for COVID-19 took place in the Education and Arts Building. Students were required to register online for a 30-minute timeslot to align with social distancing protocols.
According to Scott Strittmatter, director of housing and student life, “The design of the arrival testing is to keep people safe with social distancing built in, mask wearing, and frequent disinfecting of surfaces.”
If a student were to test positive from the antigen test, a confirmatory nasal swab or PCR test would be administered. While students wait for the results of the PCR test, they must return home and follow isolation protocols. Those who test negative from the PCR test can return to campus immediately, while those who may test positive most continue isolation and follow CDC guidelines.
The whole process was designed with the safety of students and staff in mind. According to Strittmatter, “Our entire process has been reviewed by IU Emergency Management, the Office of Environmental Health and Safety, the IU Medical Response Team, IU Health, our own Health and Wellness Center, Public Safety and other offices.”
The move-in process could not have been completed without the help of volunteers. Seventy students, staff and faculty volunteered their time to help students move back onto campus. This is quite different than the usual spring semester move-in that requires no volunteers. These community members helped with a variety of things from greeting and directing to registration.
The IU South Bend Health and Wellness Center was also involved in the process to ensure that students received their mandatory flu shot. Nurse Practitioner, Teresa Dobrzykowski, was the medical lead for the operations, while other Health and Wellness Center employees were on hand to help with operations and to give flu shots to students. Kari Frame, Clinic Operations Director, thinks that the whole process was a success for the IU South Bend community.
“I believe the operations is very safe with following all measures of keeping safe distances and wearing proper PPE. The planning was well thought out and running smoothly,” Frame said.
The Honors Program was yet another campus subcommunity that came out to support the process. Neovi Karakatsanis, Honors Program director, said, “We want to continue introducing students to a wide variety of service opportunities on campus and in the local community that may contribute to their professional, intellectual or civic growth.”
The move-in process was a way for students not only to interact with the campus community, but also to familiarize themselves with safety protocols during the pandemic.
The move-in process this semester has highlighted the resilience of the IU South Bend community. Whether it be housing or other on campus activities, student and staff are adjusting to the changes that come their way.
Kenneth Washington, a student athlete at IU South Bend, explained, “It’s weird not seeing as many people as usually and how it has affected sports, it has taken some time to adjust but I guess it could be worse.”
While things are changing throughout the community and the world, the support of the IU South Bend community is unwavering.