JMU Move-in 2020

Move-in this year looks different due to public health guidelines surrounding COVID-19.

This year, move-in looks much different. 

In previous years, First Year Orientation Guides (FROGs) have lended a hand in moving boxes, and students’ families have come out in full force to assist the new Dukes in moving in. However, this year, students are limited to bringing two helpers, and FROGs must keep their distance among other regulations set in place in the interest of public health.

COVID-19 has imposed several new restrictions on move-in, including contactless key delivery and spread out roommate move-in times to prevent clusters of people from developing in residence halls.

Jackson Daley, a freshman marketing major from Yorktown, Pennsylvania, said he’s trying to stay hopeful that his college experience can still come to fruition despite COVID-19 putting a damper on the expectation of college move-in.

“I’m being realistic about what could happen, but at the same time, I’m trying to be as hopeful as possible,” Daley said. “So, I mean, I packed like I was going to be here for a while. So, at the end of the day, if I go home, I go home, but I just want to see this thing through.”

For Daley’s father, Tom, college move-in during the pandemic presents an extra set of worries about what he can do if Jackson becomes sick.

“My concern is Yorktown’s three hours away,” Tom said. “If he gets sick, how does JMU handle that? That’s your medical center right over there … are they prepared to receive clusters, or are they going to handle it with isolation in school property? So, my concern is, what do I do if he gets really sick, and how do we transport him back back home, or do we not plan for that?”

Discussing the complications of the upcoming semester, Tom said, “We’ll just take it a day at a time” — a sentiment shared by Jackson.

On the other side of move-in are the FROGs, orientation guides and resident advisors (RAs) making sure the day runs smoothly for everyone. 

Franklyn Gil, a junior RA in McGraw-Long Hall, described this move-in as “longer.” He said the RAs have been working alternating shifts all weekend from Friday to Monday, but Gil said it seems to be going well.

“Everyone’s really respectful about wearing their masks,” Gil said. “The only concerns I see: maybe students, after their parents leave, they might forget to wear their mask in there.”

Gil said he’s also concerned about the effect the long quarantine will have on students’ productivity in the fall.

“I feel like since the students [have] been in their house for such a long time, it’s the first time they’re technically quote on quote ‘free,’” Gil said. “You know, they might make some mistakes here and there, so it’s kind of concerning to see what will happen.”

Move-in at the Hillside dormitories may have run without a glitch this morning, but across Interstate 81 on East campus, senior writing, rhetoric and technical communication major and FROG Hannah Topczewski confirmed that the power went out in E-hall around 10 a.m., adding a slight disruption to the move-in process.

Topczewski said she believed the power also went out in Shenandoah Hall on East campus, but she was unable to confirm.

While worries about move-in and the upcoming school year may vary, uncertainty is guaranteed. Right now, it seems that all students, faculty and administration can do is wait.

Contact Jake Conley at Contact Ryann Sheehy at For more coverage of JMU and Harrisonburg news, follow the news desk on Twitter @BreezeNewsJMU.