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How Brenau says it's making move-in safer for students
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Mike Lochstampfor helps Abbie George, a member of the Brenau soccer team, carry a refrigerator into her room. (Courtesy AJ Reynolds)

Brenau University students are moving in as part of a phased-in approach to welcoming students back to campus ahead of the first day of class on Aug. 24, and as expected, move-in has looked a little different at Brenau than it would in a typical year. 

“Normally we’re high-touch, hands-on, rubbing mom’s back, giving kids big hugs, but COVID has changed our approach,” said Amanda Lammers, vice president of student services, in a statement. “We’re still trying to be high-energy. There’s a lot of waving. We’re still giving out goodies, though we’re using gloves and hand sanitizer. I think people feel good about what we’re doing.” 

All move-ins this year are by appointment only to prevent large groups of students from bunching up in dorm hallways, and a drive-thru check-in has been set up to cut down on face-to-face contact, school officials say. 

Students told The Times they were largely supportive of the precautions. 

Jenna Patton, sophomore and double major in theatre and dance, said she moved on campus Aug. 16, at the Alpha Gamma Delta sorority house, which has single-occupancy rooms. Like the dorms, sorority homes require staggered arrivals.  

Before walking through the doors, Patton said her temperature was taken. 

“Overall, I think the guidelines that have been put in place by the university are going to prove to be really helpful and important this year,” Patton said. “I am so thankful to be back on campus and to be around my friends and sorority sisters again, even if we need to be at least 6 feet apart.” 

Sophomore Baylee Schneider said she moved into the same sorority house two days before Patton. She described her experience as “very similar to last year just with a lot less people, and masks.” 

“I am excited to be back on campus,” the dance major said. “I know that this year will look very different, but I am glad that they have decided to enforce strict guidelines to keep us healthy.” 

Students will continue migrating back to campus until Aug. 23, finishing with upperclassmen, said Ben McDade, a school spokesperson. So far, 128 of 273 students have moved in, and normal capacity Is 425, McDade said. 

The school says once students are settled into their rooms, orientation will be done virtually through videos. 

The measures are in line with other precautions the school plans to take during the school year to try to prevent the spread of COVID-19. While some classes will remain face-to-face this fall, many will be taught in remote or hybrid formats. Students and faculty will be required to wear masks, and desks will remain properly distanced in all classrooms, school officials say. 

All members of the Brenau community will also be required to go through a daily screening checklist — which includes six questions and a temperature check — to ensure they are not sick prior to attending an in-person class.  

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University Nurse Practitioner Sarah Davis conducts a health screening during Brenau's drive-thru check in for move in on Friday, Aug. 14 in Gainesville, Ga. (Courtesy AJ Reynolds)
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