RSU Parents Hopeful for Students’ Return to Campus

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As students begin returning to campus, RSU parents remain optimistic for the semester ahead. Today, approximately 80 incoming freshmen began moving into their dorms ahead of Hillcamp 2020.

Sherri Young and her daughter made the trip to RSU from Pryor, OK. With two shopping carts in tow, she expressed her readiness to help her daughter continue on in life. Young joked she is not worried about sending her child to college. “It’s only 20 minutes away, so I’m not worried,” said Young.

“I’m happy for her to start life. I think [with] everything you got to take precautions, and you should be okay.”

While nearly every parent wore masks to and from their vehicles, concerns about the coronavirus affecting their student’s fall semester were minimal. “I believe they’re all responsible and old enough to know what to do and follow guidelines,” said Michel Shook, a parent from Bartlesville, OK.

Shook explained how his daughter was worried about not knowing if she could live on campus this year.

The Smiles family traveled from Vinita, Oklahoma, to move in today. “We feel confident in the school that they’ve made the right decisions to keep them safe,” said Jennifer Smiles.

Zoey Smiles, an incoming freshman, shared some concerns about moving away from home, but she is excited from the upcoming year. She said is looking forward to college events and coming to campus.

Earlier this summer, RSU released its fall plans for returning to campus. The plan included policies such as mandatory masks while indoors and requiring a negative COVID-19 test before a on-campus resident can move in. These policies have been largely in line with other Oklahoma colleges and universities.

However, not all students share the optimism of the incoming class of freshmen. “I’m feeling quite nervous about returning to campus,” said Marie Dyroff, a senior at RSU who is also living on campus.

“I want to trust my peers to properly practice proper handwashing hygiene, mask wearing, and social distancing, but there is a part of me that understands that there will be some uninformed students returning.

“My dad is in a high risk category as a heart disease patient, and I want to keep myself and my family as safe as possible. I know that the university is taking necessary steps and implementing reasonable guidelines, but I believe there will be a smidge of fear resting in the back of my mind that there could be an outbreak.”

Since July, RSU has maintained its intentions to continue classes in person and conduct the last two weeks of the semester online. The university has encouraged all students, faculty, and staff to review their coronavirus response webpage for more information and updates.

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