CORVALLIS, Ore. — Sunday was the first of three move-in days for thousands of students at Oregon State University, a rite of passage that many kids missed out on last year.
This year, the first thing students did on campus did was take a COVID-19 test, which the university required. Then students waited for their dorm keys, and eventually, a cart to help them load their things into their new homes on campus.
Freshman Candace Collier and her family took three days to drive to Corvallis from Texas.
“I think everyone's taking the right precautions here and I'm really excited to see what life is like back in school,” said Collier. “It should be fun.”
According to university officials, 4,600 students will be living on campus this year, twice the number that started last year in the dorms. All students are required to be vaccinated or submit to weekly COVID tests. Right now 93% of students are fully vaccinated.
As the day went on, the required COVID testing created quite a backup. Some families waited for more than three hours to get through lines. Some vehicles waiting in lines ran out of gas.
“We’re sorry it happened this way, and we’ll do things differently next time,” said university spokesman Steve Clark. “We hope families agree that taking this extra precaution was the right priority, even on this day."
Few families appreciated those safety precautions as much as the Moore family. They drove junior transfer Alfred Moore to Corvallis from Southern California.
“It feels exciting. It's a different journey, a different part of my chapter,” said Moore, who lost his father, Earnest Moore Jr., to COVID last year.
“He loved road trips, my husband,” said Alfred’s mom, Barbara Moore. “He would have been the first one here. He would have had the Beavers stuff on, all of that. He would have had on 'Oregon State, yay for Alfred!'”
When classes start Wednesday, Moore said he’ll be thinking of his father's legacy.
“Just try to get all the education I can,” he said.