Keene State College students were supposed to begin moving into on-campus residences Monday, but the college delayed dorm reopenings until Wednesday because about 25 percent of students had yet to receive the results of their mandatory COVID-19 tests.
“Some students had a delay in getting their pre-arrival tests done,” Keene State spokeswoman Kelly Ricaurte said in an email Monday. “Pre-arrival tests are required as an important health and safety precaution, so the decision to delay was made for that reason.”
Ricaurte did not specify why some students were still waiting for test results. All schools within the University System of New Hampshire are requiring pre-arrival COVID-19 testing.
Classes still started Monday, with all Keene State students beginning the semester with a week of online classes, as the college previously planned. In-person classes are still scheduled to resume next Monday, Ricaurte said.
Keene State transitioned to fully remote instruction in mid-March due to concern over the COVID-19 pandemic and continued distance learning through the end of last school year.
Students were originally scheduled to move into dorms this Monday through Wednesday. Those who were supposed to move into their dorm rooms on Monday are now scheduled to arrive Saturday, and students originally slated to move in Tuesday are now expected to return Sunday, according to Keene State’s reopening website. Students due to move in Wednesday need to submit their negative COVID-19 test result by 9 a.m. Tuesday to be able to return as scheduled.
“We’re working tirelessly to keep our students, families and our community safe at every turn,” Ricaurte said in the email. “We regret that some families are needing to make shifts in their own schedules too, and we are working ... to accommodate folks as much as we can. Supporting our students is most important to us.”
About 60 percent of the college’s roughly 3,200 students live in one of Keene State’s 11 on-campus residence halls, Ricaurte said. This year, dorm rooms will have a maximum occupancy of two students to reduce the possibility of COVID-19 transmission.
Students living in dorms will have a two-hour time frame to move into their rooms and can bring up to two people with them to help them move. Everyone helping with the move-in process is required to wear a mask, according to Keene State’s website.
Students who live off campus have already begun returning to Keene. If those students haven’t received a negative COVID-19 test result yet, they need to register online to get tested at the college’s Winchester Street parking lot on Tuesday or Wednesday, Ricaurte said.