MSU Housing Department hopes protocols with keep COVID cases down
STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) – Over the weekend, students have been moving into residence halls on Mississippi State’s campus. With an enrollment of over 22,000 students this year, safety is going to be a challenge. However, the MSU Housing Department said they are confident they can keep those numbers down. “Moving in as a first-time freshman, this is like, the safest I’ve felt in a school environment,” incoming freshmen, Sydney Hanson said. As COVID cases rise, so does the population of students back on college campuses. Dei Allard is the Executive Director of Housing and Residence Life at MSU. She said her department is trying to keep case numbers down starting with move-in. “We use to have everything in one intensive day for move-in, but this year we’re at 4 days. And so we had one for our new marooners and our famous maroon band folks as well as 3-day process for our other students,” Allard said. Once residents move in, COVID protocols will be enforced by other students and housing staff. Sydney Hanson and Abby Pry are incoming freshmen at MSU. They said the housing staff is trying to make sure people follow the rules. “I feel very safe. The dorms and the R.A. are doing everything they can to make sure that everybody keeps their masks on and keeping COVID safety protocols going,” Hanson said. “I am a little nervous about starting class just because I don’t want to get to class and then have to quarantine and miss classes and all this stuff. That’s my only concern,” Pry said. Allard said the housing department also has protocols that they hope will help decrease the chances of an outbreak in the residence halls. This includes isolating students who test positive and referring students to the student health center. “All the residence halls including all the buildings on campus have to wear masks at least for a short period of time. Hoping that will be a short fix for a while. As students are in their personal room, with their roommate, they don’t have to wear a mask. But if they’re in the common areas, in the entry areas, they need to wear a mask at this time,” Allard added. With the university and the housing department enforcing guidelines, students hope that the more students follow the rules, the sooner the school will get back to normal. “I think if everyone wears their mask, everyone gets vaccinated, a new year will be a new start,” Pry added. The department is also encouraging students to get vaccinated to slow the spread of the virus.