Photos: First day of fall move-in, amidst COVID-19 pandemic

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Kaycee Orwig | Visual Editor

Pitt students begin moving into campus on Tuesday.

By Kaycee Orwig, Visual Editor

Students started to move into on-campus housing Tuesday, with about 1,500 set to move in on Tuesday and Wednesday, as part of the first wave of arrivals during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Students will arrive this fall over a two-day period, with the following two days reserved for select students to be tested for COVID-19 and their results to be analyzed. The process will then repeat itself for further students, though Pitt has said plans may be altered if on-campus conditions are not considered safe for students. Case numbers will continue to be released weekly on Fridays.

Pitt has implemented a variety of new policies due to the pandemic. All students are asked to shelter-in-place for seven days before and after arriving in Oakland, though officials have said that Pitt will not track whether or not students have completed the shelter-in-place. The University has also planned testing of students to monitor the virus’ spread, required students, faculty and staff to complete COVID-19 training and imposed strict penalties for violations of health guidelines.

The fall semester will begin early on Aug. 19 with online-only classes through the new [email protected] teaching model. The University previously said classes would transition to in person on Aug. 24, but officials are now non-committal about a specific or estimated date for when fall classes will move from online only to in person. Increasing numbers of colleges and school districts around the nation are going fully online for the fall, deciding in-person instruction is not worth the risk. Pittsburgh public schools will hold the first nine weeks of school online only.

Chancellor Patrick Gallagher said in an exclusive interview with The PItt News that a decision to move classes fully online for the semester is “irreversible,” and instead opted to manage COVID-19’s “highly variable” risk by adapting to the situation as it evolves.

“I can’t say what the whole semester’s going to look like because I don’t have any more information than the medical professionals do,” Gallagher said Friday. “What we’re going to do is follow their advice and what’s happening at the moment. If the medical team is saying they can’t say yet, then we can’t say yet.”

Gallagher added that in-person classes are not out of the question, if health conditions are appropriate and protective measures such as mask-wearing and social distancing are followed.

“There’s no reason to believe that can’t be done safely,” Gallagher said. “I think it is entirely plausible there will be in-person classes under the circumstances of our resiliency plan.”

Contributed reporting by Jon Moss.

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