About 4,000 students were moving into dormitories on the university campus when both face-to-face and online classes began on Monday.
Sam Ford / THE REVIEW

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Manage the sports editor

About 4,000 students were moving into dormitories on the university campus when both face-to-face and online classes began on Monday.

With the influx of students, the university is about 60% busy, which is more than double the number of students on campus in Delaware that entered the fall semester. In the fall, the university had 1,285 students – around 20% of the university’s typical capacity.

The surge in student numbers means those new to campus will have the opportunity to experience the Delaware campus in person for the first time while meeting new people for the first time.

Freshman Jake Dennis said despite the restrictions in place, it was great to be on campus and connect with other students. Dennis said he connected with students through the Zoom sessions of his chemistry class this fall and stayed in touch through various virtual channels of communication.

A native of New Hampshire, Keene thought the six-hour drive through multiple states was well worth it for him, although his classes are said to be entirely virtual.

“To be able to connect with people my age through a screen and like I’ve just met my roommate. and he helped me move in, so things like that were just so amazing, ”said Dennis.

Much like Dennis, Laura Simion, a freshman major currently undecided, found some aspects of virtual classes like breakout rooms to find smaller groups of people to meet.

Overall, however, Simion said that if she had a class in person in the fall, she felt that she would not be able to relate so well to the community or the people.

Pre-veterinary student Natalie McMaster described moving to Newark as a way “not to worry” as much, as she now has her own space to focus on her work in her classes. All students living in dormitories will be placed one per room to limit interactions and the spread of COVID-19.

“There’s no one here telling me, ‘You should do this’ or ‘You should do this,'” said McMaster. “Now it’s more like I’m getting used to being alone in a room and focusing on all of my classes.”

McMaster, a member of the university’s Honors program, is attending a personal anatomy lab this spring. Courses with 50 or more students enrolled will be held online, according to an email to the university community dated October 21.

According to McMaster, the lab will contain preps where other people will have to work together and interact as a team.

“Part of the dissection is organizing your own dissection and learning how to work with other people in your laboratory,” said McMaster. “I ran an online lab from home [in the] fall, and it definitely wasn’t the same; and it’s difficult to simulate a lab environment when you can’t be in a lab. “

Simion will also have a personal class on the Delaware campus for the semester, and she sees it as not just a way to meet people, but a way to get into a routine as well.

“I am very excited about it [class];; I can get dressed and go to a personal class and feel like I have a routine and feel productive, ”Simion said. “I am very happy to get to know people personally and to have this experience personally.”

As the spring semester begins, students have the option to access student centers such as Perkins and Trabant Student Centers, as well as the Pencader Dining Hall, Caesar Rodney Dining Hall, both POD market locations, and the Morris Library.

Dennis plans to use these places to keep meeting new people, but he also believes these places will eventually become new places to go as some places become second nature.

“I’m sure the novelty of this dorm will wear off at some point, and I’ll want another place to study if I have to,” said Dennis. “I could go to the library and I’ll definitely be using Trabant.”

Despite the student boom and busier campus life, semester is coming as the United States is currently still affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Students living on campus must be tested weekly while following health and safety guidelines, including wearing masks in university buildings and maintaining social distance. Regulations continue to restrict indoor gatherings to 10 people and outdoor gatherings to 20 people around the city of Newark.