‘Didn’t picture this’: New U.Md. student reflects on surreal move-in day

The coronavirus pandemic has forced the University of Maryland to make changes to how students arrive on campus. (WTOP/Melissa Howell)

As students move in this week to on-campus housing at the University of Maryland, College Park, they’ll have a different experience this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I definitely didn’t picture this,” said Kate Kinter, a Chesapeake High School graduate.

Usually, scores of college students fill the residence halls with their boxes and furniture on move-in day, but Kinter was the only one moving into her building Wednesday at the time.

Her parents helped her move into her new dorm, a quiet process that didn’t take long. “I’ve seen one other person, which is kind of crazy,” Kinter said.

Beginning this new chapter has been challenging for her mother, Sue Kinter, who has concerns about how the pandemic may impact her daughter’s college experience.

“I worry about her going up there and being all by herself,” the mother said.

She added that her daughter’s safety doesn’t worry her too much because of Kate Kinter’s diligence when it comes to hygiene. “She’s responsible for her own safety as well as doing things she’s supposed to do to make sure others are safe,” Sue Kinter said.

After missing prom and not having a traditional high school graduation, Kate Kinter said that despite social distancing, she is staying positive about what’s to come as she begins this new chapter, hopeful the pandemic will soon be over.

“I think it’ll definitely be easier to meet new people and get as close to a college experience as we can,” Kate Kinter said.

The fall semester begins Aug. 31, but undergraduate classes will be online for the first two weeks. The university is also requiring students and staff who are on campus to get tested for COVID-19.

A number of other universities in the D.C. area, including Howard and Georgetown, are doing an all-virtual semester for undergraduate students.

More Coronavirus news

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

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