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Grand Canyon University in Phoenix welcomes students as coronavirus pandemic drags on

It’s finally move-in day for students at Grand Canyon University. Of course, things will be different this year because of COVID-19.

PHOENIX — It’s finally move-in day for students at Grand Canyon University. Of course, things will be different this year because of COVID-19.

According to University President Brian Mueller, student volunteers have more responsibility to help get everybody moved in. 

Additional COVID-19 safety guidelines in place included wearing masks, social distancing and keeping what the university calls a “closed campus.” That means guests have to pass by a guard to enter. 

This helps limit the number of outsiders and hopefully the spread of COVID-19. 

So far, Mueller said, things are off to a pretty good start. 

"We actually have 2,500 students on campus right now of the 23,000 that we will have,” he said.

“Nursing students had to start right away because of some clinical placement things, student leaders are there, some athletes are there. And we’re real proud of what they’re doing," Mueller continued. 

"We’ve had very few positive cases. And people are wearing masks, and they're maintaining distance. And so we’re off to what we think a pretty good start.”

Students were given a 30-minute window to get their belongings into their dorms. But there were a few bumps along the way. 

Claire Roberts is an incoming freshman. She’s not concerned about starting her college career during a pandemic. 

“I think our campus has handled it pretty safely,” she said. “And there’s a lot of precautions in place, so I feel pretty good about being here.”

Nonetheless, more challenges are ahead: "Labs in our pre-med program, our nursing program, athletic training, all our engineering programs. So we have a lot of protective gear in those labs where people get in close contact together, have to work together,” Mueller said. 

One advantage Grand Canyon has as far as preventing the spread of COVID-19? It is a dry campus. That means the party scene might not be as traditional as you would see at other universities.