University of North Texas Prepares to Welcome Students Back to School With New Safety Measures

There are plenty of changes in place to welcome students back safely

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The University of North Texas in Denton is just days away from the start of a new school year. The first day of classes is Monday, August 24. 

Behind the masks are students excited and anxious about the start of a new school year. 

“It’s been difficult for me, to say the least. But they’re doing the best they can to make it an easy transition for all the students,” said UNT sophomore Daniel Jaramillo-Alejo.

There’s plenty of hand sanitizer and reminders to social distance. 

“I think we can do our job of participating in that, by following the rules. I am sad because I love my friends, I love being able to hug them. But I also love them being healthy,” said UNT junior Katherine Milian.

UNT President, Neal Smatresk, says 70% of students will be taking classes remotely or online.

“We’ve made huge strides forward in developing more robust online and remote delivery, while at the same time having socially distance classes where people are masked,” he said.

Faculty and staff have also had to adapt. “1,400 of our faculty have taken classes on how to further develop and how to teach in a remote or online fashion,” said Smatresk.

Around 5,800 students have spent this week moving in. 

Smatresk says hundreds have already gotten tested for COVID-19.

“We have a health center, and we have two rapid antigen testing devices, which we are using vigorously right now. I will point out that to date, we’ve tested probably around 400 students, and we have not had one positive yet, for move-ins in residence halls,” said Smatresk.

There are plans in place if things change.

“If we see incidents, we’re going to be testing and tracing and isolating. If we feel that things are out of hand, we will be ready to take a staged series of steps to go remote,” says Smatresk.

Despite concerns about the Coronavirus, UNT’s president says, overall, enrollment is up about 4%.

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