WMU prepares for student move-in with safety procedures


KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — As some college students return to campus during the pandemic, one of the many changes they will encounter is the move-in process. 

Western Michigan University has been working on new procedures for months.

Laura Darrah, the assistant director for engagement and assessment with Housing and Residence Life, says WMU has created a detailed move-in plan in response to COVID-19.

“We have extended the number of days that our new students are arriving. We’ve moved to a mostly touchless process with online check-ins,” Darrah said.

Students are assigned a 90-minute window for when they must pick up their key. 

“Neighbors aren’t moving in at the same time, so they’re spread out on the floor,” Darrah said.

Each student is allowed only two people to help them move in.

Students living on campus are being encouraged to get tested for the virus when they arrive, which can be provided for free.

“We’re lucky at Western that we have the rapid response 15-minute test,” Darrah said.

Residence hall cleaning will occur seven days a week instead of the usual six, and new rules have been established on who is allowed inside.

“This year, we are saying no outside guests. We define that if you do not live in that building, you are considered an outside guest,” Darrah said.

If a case is detected, the university has plans to sanitize a contaminated area and isolate the student to prevent an outbreak.

“We do have a building that’s set aside for isolation,” Darrah said.

The university is encouraging students to return home to isolate, if possible.

WMU leaders are calling on students to be a partner in fighting COVID-19.

“We feel good about where we’re at. We know that we have the medical support for our decisions that are there, and we are optimistic that our students will be responsive to living in the shared environments they’re in,” Darrah said.

For more information on the move-in process, visit the university’s housing website.

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