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NMU conducting COVID-19 check-ins

MARQUETTE — Check-in processes for students at universities certainly are different than in years past, and Northern Michigan University is no exception.

With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing, NMU is using its Passport to Campus event to promote health and safety as students return to campus for the 2020-21 academic year.

The event started the week of Aug. 3 with NMU employees and commuter students, NMU Chief Marketing Officer Derek Hall said.

This week definitely is a bit busier.

The process starts at the Northern Center.

“You get a text the morning of your appointment. It’s like, ‘Hey, we’re excited to see you,'” Hall said.

When students get to the Northern Center parking lot, they click a button to indicate they have arrived. Another text tells them to enter the building.

The students receive a quick response, or QR code, that has a list of items they need to accomplish, Hall said. That could include picking up Wildcat identification cards, laptops, textbooks and other things.

The QR code is used through the process.

“It’s a no-touch system,” Hall said.

The students’ temperatures then are checked, with COVID-19 testing set up in the Northern Center ballrooms.

The tests should be nothing for students to worry about.

“It’s a short swab — a shallow, nasal swab,” Hall said. “You get to do it yourself. For me, it was just a tickle.”

One of the students who went through the Passport to Campus event on Tuesday was Grace Mattson of Felch, a freshman who plans to study management. She is living in the Maple West residence hall.

“I didn’t know that I was going to have to do the COVID test by myself, so that was a little unsettling, but it was fine,” Mattson said.

However, she knew everything was going to be spread out, and had an idea of what forms she had to fill out.

Mattson didn’t appear to have a lot of trepidation as she began her first year at NMU, where only one of her classes will be online. Another change was one class going from four times a week to two.

“I think Northern’s done a great job,” Mattson said. “Everything seems to be very safe. I don’t really feel on edge here, so if I was going somewhere bigger, I might, but not here.”

There still are things an incoming student has to face, even in “regular” times, such as moving in belongings.

“I have to move all of my stuff in, and that will be an adventure,” Mattson said. “I have a lot of stuff, and I probably should have packed lighter then I did.”

She also wants to take a ceramics elective.

“I’ve never done pottery, but it seems fun,” Mattson said.

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