Assisted by family and friends, Nevaeh Carter and Simone Edmondson found themselves “excited but nervous” as they arrived at the MTSU campus Wednesday, Aug. 19, moved in to high-rise dormitories and prepared to begin life as college students while the COVID-19 pandemic continues across the country.
Students from all across Tennessee — from Cordova in the Memphis area, and Maryville and Chattanooga in East Tennessee — and from as far away as Milwaukee, Wisconsin, drove to campus on the first official day of move-ins into campus housing.
Normally a two-day event, Housing and Student Affairs officials have turned the move-in into a quieter, less stressful six-day event. About 450 new and returning students were scheduled to move in on Wednesday.
This time, however, health protocols — everyone required to wear masks and face coverings and maintaining social distancing — are in place.
MTSU students are returning to campus to begin the 2020-21 academic year and the pandemic has prompted noticeable changes for those living in campus residence halls. To mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, MTSU is reopening residence halls at single-occupancy levels for the fall, meaning that rooms that previously would be shared by two roommates will only be occupied by a single student.
“The administration and staff have communicated how they are making it safe,” said Veronica Carter, Nevaeh Carter’s mother. “It’s pretty well up to the parents to make sure their student is safe.”
Carter, who is from Cordova and a spring 2020 Germantown High School graduate, said she was “excited and nervous because of coronavirus, but I want to get that freshman experience.” She will be an early childhood education major in the College of Education.
Edmondson, 17, from La Vergne and a spring La Vergne High graduate, admitted to being “kind of nervous” about starting college, though, through dual-enrollment, she already has more than 20 college credits. She will be studying videography and film in the College of Media and Entertainment.
Joi Garner, 18, of Chattanooga (Tyner High alumnus) and animal science major this fall at MTSU, anticipated “more stress” with the move-in.” She was able to “bring more items because I don’t have a roommate.” Calling herself “a neat freak,” Garner said she’s all-in for keeping her room clean. She will be taking a combination of hybrid and online courses.
The new students are expected to participate in a virtual Convocation at 5 p.m. Saturday. The event features Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, author of the Summer Reading Program book “What the Eyes Don’t See,” about the water quality crisis in Flint, Michigan, five years ago.
A mix of in-person, hybrid and online classes will begin Monday, Aug. 24.
—Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)