Move-in is just about one week away and faculty and staff at AIC are working diligently to make sure the students return is both exciting and safe.

SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- College students are getting ready to head back to campus soon.

“We are in it to see the smiles on their faces and wearing a mask, you don’t see that. You don’t see the same level of connection with the students,” said Matthew Scott, vice president of student affairs and dean of students for American International College in Springfield.

AIC is preparing to welcome students back to campus this fall. Move-in is just about one week away and faculty and staff at AIC are working diligently to make sure the students return is both exciting and safe.

“This year, we are requiring vaccinations, proof of vaccination for students and our employees, so that is one piece of this puzzle that we are trying to verify,” Scott noted.

Scott told Western Mass News the goal is for 80 to 90 percent of those on campus to be vaccinated. So far, they are seeing a high vaccination rate with fewer than 20 students approved for exemptions.

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The campus is following the state’s masking guidance, so those who are fully vaccinated do not have to wear one, but those with approved exemptions or students and staff not yet fully vaccinated need to keep masks on. Isolation housing will still exist on-campus much like last spring for those who test positive for COVID-19.

Scott said move in will look a bit more normal this year for their nearly 1,300 undergraduate students.

“First-year students will move in on Friday, August 27, second year students on Saturday the 28th, and upperclassmen on Sunday the 29th. Students will be required to show proof of vaccination upon arriving to campus,” Scott added.

COVID-19 testing is another element of precautions that will be different this year.

“For anybody who is unvaccinated, so if they have an approved exemption and they are on-campus, then they will be having surveillance testing, regular surveillance testing occurring and anybody else who is symptomatic - whether you were vaccinated or not - then you will be tested because you were showing signs of COVID and anybody who is in unvaccinated close contact will also be tested,” Scott explained.

AIC students will begin classes on Monday, August 30 and Scott said if anyone still has questions about this year’s back-to-school plans to head to the FAQ section of their website.

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