CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Xavier University welcomed students, faculty and staff back to campus Wednesday, but with the pandemic top-of-mind, move-in was a little different than it has been in years past.
“This is such an exciting moment to see all of these students back on campus,” XU professor of history Rachel Chrastil said.
Chrastil says it’s been five months since she last saw students roaming around Xavier’s campus. While they’ve been away, she’s been busy with the university’s COVID-19 task force, working on their safe return.
“Been working to ensure there’s social distancing across campus, including reducing our classroom capacity so students could stay 6 feet apart at all times,” she explained. “We’ve been putting up 1,100 different cleaning stations of hand sanitizer and paper towels.”
While the pandemic may have pushed students away for some time, it didn’t slow down enrollment. The incoming freshmen class will be the university’s second-largest in history.
In 2019, the university had a total enrollment of just under 7,000.
Some 1,300 new students will move in Wednesday and Thursday.
To welcome them, the masked orientation team and move crew cheer them on from a distance.
“I’m just so glad to be back in the Xavier community,” Junior Grace O’Connell said. “We’re all helping each other through it.”
O’Connell is one of the students helping make the move-in process normal.
“Every time a car comes in, we’re telling them exactly what to do,” she explained. “They unload their cars into our carts, and we take them up to their rooms. We never touch their stuff, and they never touch our carts.”
The groups sanitize each cart afterwards.
Classes begin Monday.