Saturday marked the beginning of several days and weekends where thousands of Arizona State University freshman and returning students make their way back into the dorms.
"I'm very excited," said local resident Emerson Kelly. The entering freshman moved into ASU's downtown campus Saturday morning, with a major in nursing.
"It's not the experience I was expecting, but it is my experience, and one day people will be asking, 'Oh you graduated during the pandemic and you moved into college during the pandemic, what was that like?' And I think my kids will think I'm cool," Kelly added.
As a Chandler High School graduate, Kelly was the first round of Maricopa County residents allowed to move-in. Instead of meeting her roommate on Saturday, she will instead head home for the next few weekends until her official start date of August 20.
ASU officials have staggered move-in days and times in order to limit congregations and high numbers of people all in an area together.
"Today, we are moving our Maricopa County students...We are staggering our move-in times and we are moving less individuals in as part of our physical distance planning," said downtown ASU Dean of Students Dr. Sharon Smith.
Next weekend, the rest of the students from Arizona and those from out-of-state will move in on an appointment basis.
According to Dr. Smith, students, faculty, and staff have all received online training on the safety measures and precautions that should be taken amid the pandemic.
"If you look around campus, you will see banners saying 'Forks up, mask up,'" Dr. Smith said. "The mask that I'm wearing is included in this kit that we are giving to every incoming student."
Kelly's father says he wasn't going to let COVID-19 take away his daughter's experience of living on-campus and living the college life.
"I'm not concerned. She'll rise to the occasion, she'll do what she needs to do. She has that kind of drive, a typical oldest, driven personality," said Kevin Kelly.