UWM students return to campus amid pandemic

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Colleges across the nation are grappling with coronavirus.

Notre Dame shut down in-person classes after 150 students tested positive.

UW-Milwaukee is trying to bring back students safely.

Students say they're excited, but it's also bittersweet.

Those moving in are just the first of thousands of students returning to campus, even though most of their classes will be held online.

About 300 students were moving in at Sandburg Hall Thursday, Aug. 20. They're the first of about 2,100 students who will be returning to linve in university housing on campus this year.

"I thought about taking a gap year, for since like corona and all of that stuff," said freshman Bailee Humblet. "But then I figured if I took a gap year, I wouldn't want to go back to school."

"We're expecting them to practice social distancing, wearing their masks when they're in communal spaces," said Arcetta Kanautz, director of university housing. "Students can take their masks off when they're in their rest hall room, but it is expected that they practice social distancing, being smart, being mindful of what it means to be in a community set-up situation."

Because of COVID-19, move-in runs a bit differently.

In order to social distance, students had to sign up for time slots. They were limited to two helpers, and they picked up their welcome packets through a drive-thru.

McKenzie Sanchez is a student-athlete on the school's swim team, and she says she trusts the school to keep them safe.

"They're splitting us into groups of not more than like ten people in the weight room, and not many people on the pool deck," she said. "And divers are going to a separate facility than the swimmers."

Cars came loaded with things, but extra space as made for things like masks, hand sanitizer, and extra cleaning supplies.

UWM says more than half of their classes will be online, about a quarter will still be in person, and another 20-percent will be a mix of both.

But despite all this, students are happy to be back.

"I am looking forward to being in pajamas all day and relaxing, but I am disappointed because I wanted the full experience which I won't be getting this year," said freshman Chloe Wolf. "But it is what it is."

Along with their student welcome packets that have their room key and parking hang tag, they will also receive a health packet with information on staying healthy, a thermometer, and a web form for reporting if they become symptomatic.

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