UMass sign 072020

(Western Mass News photo)

AMHERST, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- It’s freshman move in day at UMass Amherst and this year, they are welcoming a big first year class.

Friday was first-year student move-in day at UMass. School leaders told Western Mass News about 4,900 students moved into their dorm rooms. The college implemented strict COVID-19 guidelines this year to keep their students safe.

"We have a vaccination requirement for students, as well as faculty and staff,” said UMass spokesperson Ed Blaguszewski

Any unvaccinated faculty member or student must be exempt for medical or religious reasons and must get tested for the virus on a regular basis. They have an indoor mask mandate that applies to everyone on-campus. Any student who tests positive for COVID-19 will have to quarantine off-campus.

With about 22,000 students enrolled this year, they don’t have the space to quarantine students on-campus like they did last year

"It's the student's responsibility unless they live at a real distance here or they have particular extenuating circumstances to isolate at their permanent residence,” Blaguszewski explained.

We tracked down some students who already moved all their stuff in. They told us they were excited for move in and felt safe with the new protocols

"I saw an email go out showing that 96 percent of eligible students are vaccinated, which makes me feel very safe,” said Dylan Partner.

One student was frustrated she couldn't start her freshman year in a normal college setting, but she was grateful she could at least start it on-campus.

"It's better than Zoom calls and sitting at home every day, so I'm happy about it,” said Charlotte Diamond.

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