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USD requiring all students living on campus get COVID-19 test during this weekend’s move in

Each student will be tested at the university before moving into their dorm. The results will be provided to the student and USD Health Center in 1-3 days.

SAN DIEGO — Friday marked the start of move-in weekend for the University of San Diego. The university says they have implemented many new measures that are solely aimed at keeping students safe.

So many emotions for parents of college freshmen during a pandemic. 

"Excited, scared and worried, but she'll be safe, so we'll be fine,” said USD parent Cheryl Santoro.

It's a move-in day at the University of San Diego unlike any other. Due to Covid-19, there are no large carts provided to wheel all the stuff in. Parents and students had to bring in each box, bag, suitcase and pillow one by one.

"I feel safe here, you know, they're taking the extra precautions,” said USD freshman moving into the dorms Isabella Santoro.

Extra safety steps include: every student on campus will be tested for Covid-19 and temperature checked before entering any building. Then all students and staff will be tested every 2 weeks. The results of the tests are expected to be provided to the student and USD Health Center within 1-3 days.

"We're doing everything we can to mitigate the risk while giving students the experiences in the classroom, especially in lab classes and capstone experiences,” said Melissa Halter, Asst. Vice President of Student Affairs for Student Wellness.

The USD semester already started August 17 but all online, but come Monday, a small amount or 6% of classes will be back on campus for in-person instruction for specialized projects.

This despite the surge in coronavirus cases at San Diego State, which had to implement stay-at-home orders after starting its semester due to the rampant spike that caused some county leaders to ask the Governor to remove SDSU case numbers from the overall county.

"I don't want to compare USD to SDSU, but I want to talk about what our resources are and what are strategies are, and we have a very de-densified model,” Halter said.

According to USD, there is a COVID 19 Contact Tracing team who will work with the Student Health Center to manage and facilitate the isolation and care plan for positive cases.

Instead of 2,600 students moving on to USD typically, this weekend, just 519 are moving, in addition to 111 already staying on campus for special reasons. All must wear masks and fill out a daily health screening survey. Some recreation facilities and dining halls will be opened.

"For some people, being on campus, is a better place for them to learn than in their home environment.” Halter said.

Freshman Aidan Rooney loves how each student who stays on campus at USD gets their own room and bathroom for health and safety.

"I never knew what to expect with my dorm situation or anything, but I mean this is amazing, this is a great set up, I’m sure happy,” he said.

Aidan's mother Izabella Rooney says "even though there are limitations on what they can do with their freedoms here, it's still independence."

News 8 asked USD what the disciplinary action would be for a student who violates the health code that has been set in place. The university sent the following statement as a response, “We take the health and safety of our students' faculty, staff and the community very seriously and we will review each case individually.

A student's documented failure to comply may result in a referral to the Office of Ethical Development and Restorative Practices or Residential Life.  This could result in disciplinary actions as reflected in the student code of conduct.”

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