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Students return to residence halls days before in-person start

ASU expects 13,000 students to move into on-campus housing

20200815 ASU Tempe Move-in 0008.jpg

Volunteers unload cars during move-in on the ASU Tempe Campus on Saturday, Aug. 15, 2020.

Thousands of students moved into residence halls across ASU's four campuses, which featured new move-in procedures to promote social distancing in an effort to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

ASU expected over 13,000 students to move into residence halls for the upcoming semester, according to a University press release.

“We've created an outdoor experience so that we can be more efficient, with particular thinking about the safety and the well-being of our students and our families,” said Cassandra Aska, the Tempe Dean of Students. 

Students living in residence halls had to submit proof of a negative COVID-19 test before moving in to receive their room keys.

To help limit the number of students moving in at once, Maricopa County residents were assigned a date and time from Aug. 5-9 to drop their belongings at their dorms. Those students would officially move in at a later date. All other students moved in from Aug. 13-16 and were immediately able to reside in their dorms.

Students were able to quickly receive their keys, ASU IDs and additional move-in information using a drive-thru check-in model, which took about three minutes to complete. Students could then drive to their assigned residence hall to begin moving in.

“We got lost like 50 times,” said Leilani Mestas, a freshman studying sports business, about her move-in experience. “But once we found the dorm, everyone was super helpful.” 

Students were provided the option of having move-in helpers assist in unloading their cars and taking items to their assigned room.

Lucille Colaccino and Kayla Cantorna, freshmen studying nursing, described their move into Taylor Place as safe, organized and fast, with the entire process taking about 10 minutes to complete, according to them. 

For the first time since March, thousands of students will be living on-campus after the coronavirus pandemic prompted most students to move out of residence halls last spring. The semester begins Thursday, and students will be able to attend class either in-person or on ASU Sync, which allows students to attend through Zoom.

READ MORE: COVID-19 and ASU: Here's what you need to know

After months of isolation and typical experiences associated with college and high school being disrupted, parents “appreciate the opportunity to be here with their student,” Aska said.

“The wonderful thing is that students have the opportunity to choose, and are choosing to live with us,” said Sharon Smith, the Downtown Phoenix campus Dean of Students. “But if they are choosing to live at home, we are supporting that with ASU Sync.”

Going into the semester, students who moved into on-campus housing are optimistic about the coming months. However, they recognize the experience will be different due to the protocols the University has put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19 on campus. 

Those students also said they recognize that the in-person experience may not last long if infections begin to rise within the ASU community.

“I’m pushing for a month or two of in-person classes, but a minimum of two weeks,” Colaccino said.

Reach the reporter at and follow @wmyskow on Twitter. 

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Wyatt MyskowProject Manager

Wyatt Myskow is the project manager at The State Press, where he oversees enterprise stories for the publication. He also works at The Arizona Republic, where he covers the cities of Peoria and Surprise.

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