Saint Mary to begin classes Tuesday

John Richmeier
Shown is the campus of the University of Saint Mary, which is expected to open for the fall semester next week.

Officials at the University of Saint Mary have been welcoming students this past week.

Students began checking in and moving into residence halls Monday, and the process is scheduled to wrap up Saturday.

Classes for undergraduate students are scheduled to begin Tuesday.

Like other educational institutions, USM has made adjustments in its operations because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

John Shultz, vice president for marketing and admissions, said the school year at Saint Mary originally was scheduled to begin in early September.

“We moved all of that up,” Shultz said.

This will allow classes for the first semester to wrap up before Thanksgiving.

Shultz said this will prevent students from having to return to the campus immediately after traveling for Thanksgiving.

Students will not return to the campus until early February.

During the interim period between semesters, students will be able to take online classes.

Shultz said check-in and move-in process for students has taken place in one day in the past. But this year, the process has been spread out over the course of several days. He said a different group of students has checked in each day.

He said students are being tested as they arrive on campus.

Students and staff members who test positive for the coronavirus will have to be quarantined off campus.

Shultz said there likely will be additional testing later in the year.

“We do expect to do more than one round of testing,” he said.

Shultz said students, as well as USM employees, are being asked to screen their health on a daily basis, making sure they do not have fevers or other symptoms associated with COVID-19.

“Everyone is supposed to be monitoring and taking care of their own health,” he said.

People will be required to wear masks while on campus. Shultz said there may be leeway for the mask requirement when people are outside and have proper social distancing.

He said seating in Saint Mary’s dining hall has been greatly reduced, and lunch periods for students will be staggered.

Shultz said the USM campus has provided flexibility for space needs for social distancing for classes.

He said the university has “really stepped up our cleaning protocols.”

Saint Mary traditionally kicks off the fall semester with a matriculation ceremony. But Shultz said this year’s ceremony has been postponed.

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