On Saturday, Courtnee Pete ’25 and her mother drove 30 hours from Houston to arrive in Ithaca just in time for the First Year Carnival.
The usual excitement surrounding meeting new people was muddied because of the circulating delta variant causing an uptick in COVID cases locally. Pete’s mother, Bettye Davis, spent the weekend helping her daughter adjust to her new home in High Rise Five.
“It was honestly a little scary, especially with the new variant strain out there,” Davis said.
Pete was one of nearly 4,000 students moving into the first-year residence halls spread across North Campus, which was filled with suitcases, large red moving bins and cars parked on green spaces to begin moving students in.
Joaquin Rivera ’25 also drove to Ithaca from Houston over the course of four days in order to bring his dorm decorations, winter clothes, and photos of friends.
Though COVID is still a risk, Rivera said that he is “confident about staying safe on campus.”
Parents, too, seem to be comforted by Cornell’s success in keeping cases low last year, as well as the detailed COVID-19 guidelines during this year’s move-in, which specified arrival testing requirements for those who are not fully vaccinated and mandated mask-wearing inside for everybody regardless of vaccination status.
“Despite everything happening with the pandemic, the move-in process was very well organized,” Serwaa Asante, mother of Nick Asante ‘25, said. “This is something we’ve never experienced before, [but] it was good to see that masks were being worn and that testing was being given to those who were unvaccinated.”
This year’s move-in process had marked differences from last year, with students not being required to quarantine or get arrival testing if they are vaccinated. Eager families were allowed to help students move into their dorms and explore the Cornell campus, and normal orientation events greeted incoming students.
Rivera is optimistic about the opportunity to spend time in lecture halls with his peers.
“I’m curious by nature, so I’m really excited for my curriculum and just excited to learn more, meet new people and have a great college experience,” he said.