For UCI students who will be living on campus this fall, move-in week looks very different amid pandemic

Jessica De Nova Image
Friday, September 25, 2020
UCI students face unusual move-in week amid pandemic
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Health officials say Orange County is moving in the right direction, but it's too soon to predict whether it will make it to the orange tier on Tuesday.

IRVINE, Calif. (KABC) -- Health leaders say Orange County is moving in the right direction, but it's too soon to predict whether it will make it to the Orange tier on Sept. 28.

This comes as students are heading back to campuses. With authorization from the state as of Sept. 22, some K-through-12 schools in the county are gradually reopening for in-person teaching.

On Thursday, the Tustin Unified School District welcomed some of its elementary students back on campus.

At the college level, classes at UC Irvine will be remote, but about 7,000 students in need of housing will live on campus and move-in week looks very different this fall.

"They'll make sure you got your test done and then they'll say okay Jessica go here you're on the third floor your mom and dad can help you you've got half an hour," said Albert Chang, medical director of UCI's student health center.

OC schools can now resume in-person learning. Here's what that looked like at one campus

Only after testing for COVID-19 at the school's Bren Events Center.

The school's student health center medical director says athletes and those living here without symptoms will undergo routine asymptomatic screening.

That's the directive from the University of California's office of the president.

"It's really crucial to make sure that people don't have it, especially the students here around that age range where a lot of us are asymptomatic," said Destiny Ward, a UCI student who will be living on campus.

Student Nancy Archuleta, who will also be residing on campus, said: "I think this is a really good idea. I'm glad that the school is mandating something like this. I think it's important that everybody get tested because of the asymptomatic nature of the virus."

Cutting on-campus residents by more than half allows for 400 isolation rooms if necessary, Chang said.

"So we're maximizing the opportunity to separate those potentially infected and prevent those potential outbreaks from happening at our campus," Chang said. "Off campus, we don't have much control, but on campus if we have the space we have the ability. I'm accountable for the testing. If I see that positive result, I contact housing, I contact that student. Let's get a move for that reason."

This phase of the testing will continue through Sept. 29, after which students will be tested weekly until further notice.