WESTMINSTER, Md. (WJZ) — While some colleges and universities have opted for remote learning for the upcoming fall semester, others are preparing to welcome students back to campus.

At McDaniel College in Westminster on Monday, students took part in freshman orientation. Not only is the college trying to get new students comfortable with the campus, this year it’s using the event to teach students about new procedures to keep them safe.

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Daniel Adum is preparing to start his freshman year.

“I’m actually very excited because with COVID-19 happening a lot of schools aren’t opening up,” Adum said.

On Monday, he attended his freshman orientation, known as “McDaniel Local.”

Over the past month, small groups of incoming freshmen have been invited to campus for an overnight visit to help get them comfortable with college life.


“This year in particular, it’s very important for these students because they’re getting to know campus as well as all of the health and safety measures they’ll have to maintain throughout the semester,” said Cheryl Knauer, the school’s director of public relations.

McDaniel has invested $2 million in COVID-19 safety measures. A thermal scanner now checks students’ temperatures before they enter the dining hall and large tents placed around the campus provide more outdoor space.

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“We’ve also increased our cleaning staff, our housekeeping staff by nearly double,” Knauer said.

The majority of classes will include a hybrid of online and in-person learning. Each semester has been split into A and B sessions so that at any given time, a student will only be taking two classes.

“But they’ll still be able to have the same amount of classes in a regular semester,” Knauer said.

Students said they’re willing to make those changes in order to get back on campus.

“My living room and my dining room just wasn’t the same experience as sitting in the classroom. And even if your classes are going to be online, you’re at least on campus,” sophomore Kylie Baker said.

“I always say we have to learn to live with this virus before we can start normalizing it back to our regular lives,” Adum said.

About 74 percent of incoming freshmen live in Maryland. If they are coming from a state with a travel advisory, they have to take a coronavirus test.

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For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

Sean Streicher