COLUMBIA, Mo (KMIZ)
Move-in day for the University of Missouri is just over two weeks away and school officials are prepared for students to come back.
"We've been working for months, on our return-to-campus plan, and working with public health experts and medical experts," said Liz McCune, associate director of the University of Missouri News Bureau. "We put together guidelines to keep everyone as safe as possible."
Those guidelines include restrictions on move-in day for students.
"We have students signing up for specific times to move in and they have 90-minute windows to do so. We've done this so we can maintain social distancing and, instead of moving in over a couple of days, students will be moving in over a whole week," McCune said.
Summer Evans, an incoming freshman and Columbia native, said the move-in experience will be overwhelming.
"Just being around a lot of people and then knowing the risks of coronavirus, but I think everyone is still excited to get on campus," Evans said.
University officials said the plans won't work without the help of everybody on campus.
"This only works if we are all on board, together," McCune said. "We need to make these collective changes to keep us as safe as possible."
McCune said the university recognizes the pressures on them to keep the residents of Columbia safe, as well as, MU's nearly 30,000 students planning to return.
"We understand that all eyes are on the university right now, especially in Boone County, to make sure we do this and we do it right," McCune said.
She added the university will stay in contact with health officials as the school year progresses.
Evans said a lot of emails she and her fellow students have received from the University have left them with questions.
"(The university) sends a lot of emails but they're kind of, not vague, but they don't know where they're going completely," she said. "I think everyone, as a whole, is kind of confused and we don't know what route we are taking with the situation."
University officials said they are hoping to educate students before they get on campus.
"Not only will students go through mandatory training online, but we also are developing a social media campaign where students will be hearing from students about the importance of following our guidelines," McCune said.
Evans said during the summer she noticed that students who were living in Columbia went to the bars downtown, despite COVID-19.
She said can also feel the eyes of Mid-Missouri on the University of Missouri.
"I feel the pressure to wear my mask and social distance, but at the same time you don't want to hold back your life," Evans said.
As far as what happens if cases spike when students return, McCune said there are a lot of factors MU would consider before going entirely remote. But she added that the University has protocols in place for positive cases.
"If students do test positive, we make sure that they are isolated from the rest of the student body," McCune said.
Evans said, overall, she just wants a college expereince.
"Even if we can't have in-person classes, I, at least, want to live on campus because I think everyone just wants to break away from their home life and just be submerged in the Mizzou lifestyle."