Dickinson College students return to campus under strict COVID protocols

Coronavirus in Pennsylvania

CARLISLE, Pa. (WHTM) — The spring semester at Dickinson College starts on Monday, Jan. 25, and some students are being let back on campus this weekend.

But despite allowing students back on campus, they will have strict COVID protocols to follow.

“Although the circumstances are not the best, it feels good to have a roommate and to have people around to say hi to,” said Belgin Koc, first year class president.

First-year and sophomore students started moving in on Wednesday. Since the pandemic is still a big concern, each student had to have a negative test before they arrived, as well as an additional COVID test once they got to the campus in Carlisle, Pa.

“I’m very excited to be back on campus. It’s been a long semester of online learning,” said Resident Assistant Jacob DeCarli.

The college says it wants to bring all students back to campus this semester, but it’s not feasible to do so and practice proper health and safety measures.

Instead, Dickinson is dividing the semester in two, giving everyone an opportunity to be on campus.

“In March what we plan on doing is those students who are here now, they will leave and then our juniors and seniors will come to campus and finish out the rest of the semester with us here,” said George Stroud, Dickinson vice president for student life and dean of students.

Travel for students living on campus prohibited and any travel outside of a 50-mile radius must be reported to Residence Life and Housing. Students who do intend to travel may be required to quarantine after returning to campus.

During the spring semester, students will be living in so-called “pods,” typically sharing bathrooms and common space.

Just like a household, if someone tests positive for COVID-19, all the students in that pod would quarantine together.

“We’re in a pod of about 12 students and so for the stay-at-home period it’s just us in our pod and we’re allowed to do different things on campus, obviously wearing masks and stuff,” DeCarli said.

Classes begin on Monday but will be fully virtual for the first two weeks of the semester.

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