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THIS WEEK: Making college students safe this Fall

Area schools put limits on visitors, activities, and how students move-in this school year

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. — Each year, college move-in day is a time of such promise for the future.

But on campus after campus this year will be much different.

"Once students have settled in, once they've moved all of their items into the building,we're asking that parents, guests, family members stay no longer than two hours." said Monmouth College Associate Dean of Students John Salazar.

Click here for Monmouth College's COVID-19 plan.

And that's just move in day.

Life in the dorms will be very different.

For Monmouth College it's a big deal: nine out of ten students live on campus.

But places like Augustana College, adjustments are being made in each of the dorms.

"If people are sharing a room, they're going to have at least 12 feet of distance between their heads where they're sleeping," explained Chris Beyer, Director of Student Life 

Click here for Augustana College's COVID-19 plan.

"It's easy to reopen," said Augustana College president Dr. Steven Bahls during an interview on "News 8 This Week with Jim Mertens".

I can reopen with a declaration.

"It'll be tough to stay open and that is what we need to insure that there's not community spread at Augustana through masks, social distancing, testing, contact tracing, education, and, if necessary, quarantine.

See more of our interview with Augustana President Dr. Steve Bahls in our News 8 This Week EXTRA on Facebook at WQAD Jim Mertens.

Colleges large and small are adjusting to COVID-19 on campus for yet another semester.

Later this month, Knox College will announce how it will mix on campus and remote learning for its students.

It will enforce the wearing of masks in classrooms and in indoor public spaces. 

Click here for Knox College's COVID-19 plan.

Wearing masks is something the Governor wants every student to do.

"Let me be clear," said Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, "I wouldn't let my own children return to a school where masks are not mandatory, and serious effort hasn't been made to keep students distanced during the day."

"This should not be controversial."

But it may be hard to keep the coronavirus off campus during the upcoming semester.

Click here for Western Illinois University's COVID-19 plans.

And schools say they are making plans for that.

At Augustana, there are plans to quarantine and isolate people with suspected symptoms.

The school was already put to the test.

"The good news is that we were able to practice this plan over the summer because we had a student who was symptomatic but turned out not to have COVID-19," said Beyer.

"The test results were negative.  But it was an opportunity to practice our plan.  And it worked."

Click here for Black Hawk Community College's and here for Scott Community College's COVID-19 plans.

At Augustana, Dr. Bahls admitted the 2020-21 school year will be a challenge for students and staff.

"We're going to pull out of this at some point," he said.

"Although the activities next Fall and perhaps next Spring will be different, we will come back the following year with a bang."

You can watch "News 8 This Week with Jim Mertens" every Sunday morning at 10 on WQAD News 8.