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LHU students gear up for first day of classes

CHRIS MORELLI/THE EXPRESS Students who were checking in this weekend at the Rec Center were welcome with Lock Haven University T-shirts, masks and pins. From left, Ashley Conrad, John Newcomer, Mary Lou Lewis, Amee Lewis Vance and Jeff Ross.

LOCK HAVEN — It was a busy weekend in Lock Haven.

Campus was bustling with activity on Saturday and Sunday as students began the move-in process at Lock Haven University. As students checked into their dorms, U-hauls pulled to the curb and parents helped students unload furniture into their new digs.

The weather certainly didn’t make things easy for those moving in, as temperatures soared into the upper 80s, making heavy air conditioners even more of a necessity.

Before students could move into their on-campus dorms, they had to either provide proof of a COVID-19 vaccine or have a rapid test done. At the Rec Center, things ran like a well-oiled machine.

Christina McMahon, a sophomore criminal justice major at LHU who works as a “student ambassador,” was helping the process along.

PHOTO PROVIDED BY LOCK HAVEN UNIVERSITY A Lock Haven University student says good bye to his mother on campus over the weekend.

“I’ve definitely learned a lot,” McMahon said. “Especially when COVID hit. I’ve been doing COVID testing since the spring semester. Now, coming back and having to do it all over again, it’s crazy.”

McMahon was just one of many student ambassadors working at the Rec Center. Masks were plentiful. On Aug. 14, LHU updated its indoor mask mandate and the new policy requires the wearing of a mask — covering the mouth and nose — indoors during on-campus instruction, in-person events, and students in university-owned on-campus housing. The practice will stand regardless of a person’s vaccination status, according to the LHU website.

According to McMahon, students are well-aware of the mask policy and are following the rules thus far.

“It’s definitely scary because it’s breaking through for people who are vaccinated. I don’t know … we’re just living in a scary world right now,” McMahon said.

Lines formed inside — and outside — the Rec Center. Even with all of the COVID-19 protocol, McMahon said that she believes students are still excited for the first day of classes today.

PHOTO PROVIDED BY LOCK HAVEN UNIVERSITY A group of Lock Haven University students pose for a photograph over the weekend. Today marks the beginning of LHU’s 2021 fall semester.

“They’re excited to come to school and move in, especially the freshmen. They really want to get COVID testing over and done with,” McMahon said.

Over the weekend, UPMC conducted a vaccine clinic.

Here’s a breakdown of LHU’s updated mask mandate:

— Masks are required in all indoor classrooms and/or instructional spaces and when traveling between classes within common areas of a University building.

— Masks covering the nose and mouth are required of all individuals within spaces where three (3) feet of social distancing is not possible regardless of vaccination status.

— For those who are fully vaccinated, mask wearing is not required in some indoor spaces, such as private offices and when three (3) feet of social distancing is possible.

— Fully vaccinated means it has been at least two (2) weeks after receiving the second dose of a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or at least two (2) weeks after a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

— Mask wearing is not required in outdoor spaces throughout campus. All students, faculty, and staff who choose to wear masks outdoors, however, are welcome to do so.

— Faculty or staff wearing a mask during meetings with students in closed indoor spaces may request students to don a mask during office meetings or counseling sessions.

— At any time, all faculty, staff, and students are welcome to wear a mask on-campus regardless of vaccination status.

For more information about vaccines, visit www.vaccines.gov.

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