‘I’m pretty excited that I still get to be on campus’: Whitworth students move in to residence halls

SPOKANE, Wash. – College freshmen students are starting their year off the same way they ended their high school career: in a pandemic. For students at Whitworth University, they’ll at least get to learn in-person, in addition to online.

If the COVID-19 situation gets worse in Spokane County, the school will move students to all online learning.

“Our students want to have a residential, in person experience. They know this year is going to be a little bit different, but they’re going to be happy to be apart of a community,” said President Beck Taylor.

“Can you get this one on top of that?” Ian Kendall’s father asked him, as they stacked up boxes to move to his new room.

On Friday, freshman Ian Kendall made the move from Portland to Spokane to attend Whitworth University.

“It’s pretty crazy, like up until this point, I didn’t feel like it was relevant to me, and now it’s here. It’s happening,” he said.

He is one of just more than a thousand students moving on campus this fall.

It’s been quieter with fewer people moving in this time around.

Taylor said they split moving days from two to four, with students having designated move-in times.

“The campus is a little quieter, but there’s just the same level of excitement,” he said.

Before students and their families get anywhere else on campus, they are being screened.

Whitworth University is requiring students to do a daily health screening. It can be easily done on their phones with an app. If not, students have the option of filling out an online form.

Safety is a big priority. So is letting their students learn, and Kendall said he’s happy he’ll be able to attend classes in person.

“For me personally, it’s really good because I struggle with the online component more,” she said. “It isn’t as motivating when you’re in person doing stuff.”

In order for students to keep learning in-person, students and staff will have to work together to try and keep the spread of COVID-19 low.

Resident assistant’s will be sanitizing door handles and other high touch areas. RA Marie Curtis said students will not be allowed to visit other friend’s rooms in other halls, unless they are on the same floor.

“Our students know they need to be responsible to make this work,” Taylor said.

Kendall definitely understands that, because he hopes he won’t have to learn fully online again.

“It’s up to us to be the ones that are responsible and keep everything up to date and stick with all the protocols so it doesn’t get to that point,” he said.

Moving state for school, and ending senior year of high school the way he did, he really hopes he gets to experience college the way it should be.

“A lot of colleges have been like shut down and haven’t been able to do what we’re doing here. I’m pretty excited that I still get to be on campus while I do all this,” he said.

To learn more about Whitworth University’s safety plans, click here.

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