President Crawford announced in an email this morning that Miami is going forward with the plans to bring students back to in-person and hybrid classes beginning Sept. 21 and will begin residence hall move-in Sept. 14.
The announcement comes just two days after Miami’s COVID-19 Dashboard was updated to 1,084 cumulative positive coronavirus cases as of Sept. 7.
Students quickly reacted to the news with mixed sentiments.
Crawford wrote that Miami has taken “aggressive” steps to implement this return to campus plan, which includes wide-net and surveillance testing and a mandatory virtual COVID-19 module for all students.
“Given that the majority of our students are currently living in Oxford, we believe it will be better for everyone if our students feel connected to campus and community rather than apart from it,” Crawford wrote.
Students moving into residence halls will be tested upon arrival and are expected to follow strict guidelines within the halls.
John Krumpe, a junior computer science major, said he was concerned about the Oxford community after hearing about Miami’s decision.
“You can’t really expect to bring students back to campus and expect them not to party,” Krumpe said. “I think Miami inviting an even larger crowd is not good for the community.”
Krumpe grew up in the Oxford community and also said he is fairly certain he has contracted the coronavirus.
“I was hanging out with one of my coworkers, and they invited the neighbor over,” Krumpe said. “The one person that I came in contact with had [coronavirus], so now if I go out again, I’m pretty much just going to assume everyone has [the coronavirus].”
Krumpe said one of his main concerns is the influx of first-years who have never experienced college life before.
“They’re going to want to party and hang out and meet new people,” Krumpe said. “I don’t see this going well.”
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Piper Augspurger, a senior creative writing major, said the decision Miami made was concerning.
“I don’t think it’s the best choice for the students or the community,” Augspurger said. “My grandma lives in Oxford, and she has breathing problems, and with so many students moving back, just off-campus, she hasn’t really been able to go anywhere.”
Augspurger said she contracted the virus in the spring and was quarantined for a month with serious symptoms.
“I know that Miami has monetary concerns, like not wanting to have to lay people off, but I think it might have been a safer decision not to bring people back,” Augspurger said.
Crawford’s email notes that the on-campus student population is 40% less than previous years. Students still have the option to change their housing arrangements, including three options: delayed move-in to the first week of October, fully remote and move-in beginning Sept. 14.
Miami’s Residence Life Office sent an email out after the announcement which detailed protocol and expectations for residence hall living.
Rules and restrictions include gathering only in groups of less than 10 people, no overnight visitors, mandated facial coverings outside your room, limited use of recreational equipment and discouraged visitation from family members.
Lynnsey Craft, a sophomore individualized studies major, plans to move into Hawk’s Landing next week now that students are allowed to come back.
“I’m really excited to go back,” Craft said. “The [coronavirus] numbers are definitely going to go up, but I’m excited. As long as everyone does what they’re supposed to do, I don’t think there’s anything to really worry about.”
Craft said she doesn’t think Miami comprehends that students will still go out and party but said she also thinks Miami is doing what’s best for the university.
“I’m tired of being home, so I’m excited to go back and have my own space,” Craft said.
In his email, Crawford said the university administration is making the decision that it believes is best at this time.
“It is very important that we continue this diligence the entire semester, knowing that the health of all of us depends on the health of each of us,” the email reads.
Miami’s full plan for the return to campus can be found here: Healthy Together.