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‘This is our year to restart’: Excitement and COVID-19 requirements abound for EWU move-in day

UPDATED: Sat., Sept. 18, 2021

Move-in day for college freshmen can be exciting, nerve-wracking and emotional. But as Eastern Washington freshman Blake Jamison sat inside a car with his family waiting for his COVID-19 test to come back, he was just plain bored.

“The results have been a little slow,” Jamison said.

Like almost everything else in today’s world, Eastern Washington University’s move-in day looked a little different than in past years. Students planning to live on campus were required to bring a negative COVID-19 test or undergo rapid drive-thru testing in a parking lot near the football stadium before they could get their dorm key and start moving in.

The process seemed to go pretty smoothly for the 960 students on campus, who were able to get their free test results in around 15 minutes.

“Everyone’s been very pleasant,” said Chis Robbins, EWU director for university planning and temporary COVID-19 testing coordinator. “It’s been fun to see and interact with the students.”

Jamison had been waiting for 10 minutes, so he may have been just a bit impatient to get to his dorm and start meeting friends.

Once students got through the testing process, they could start enjoying the move-in – while their parents could start stressing out about it.

“We’re a little daunted by how much she brought,” Deb Llewellyn said about moving in her freshman daughter, Genet Llewellyn, into the snyamncut residence hall. “But we’re going to make it happen”

With all the fuss with testing and vaccination requirements, Genet Llewellyn said she looked forward to doing things in-person again.

“I’m really ready to step back into face-to-face education and face-to-face interaction with people in general,” Llewellyn said.

After a year of hybrid and virtual learning, the university will be going mostly in-person for the 2021 academic year.

Eastern Washington is requiring all students attending in-person to be vaccinated, besides those with approved religious or medical exemptions, as a part of Gov. Jay Inslee’s proclamation stating that all state colleges and universities must have “fully vaccinated campuses” by Oct. 18.

The university will be imposing a $250 fine for those who don’t submit vaccine information, and violators will likely receive a written notice first, with an opportunity to pay the fine or show vaccine proof before actually having to pay, a university spokesperson said.

Students hope that all the safety requirements will help create a fun and somewhat normal school year.

“This is our year to restart,” Llewellyn said.

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