It looks like students at Northwestern may have more “Zoomies” than “roomies” this fall.

That term was used today by Elmer Almachar, an administrator at NU’s Kellogg School of Management. Almachar was one of several Northwestern officials who took the “Zoomie” route, in a webinar about what students life will be like this fall.

“We know this may not be what you expected,” said Julie Payne-Kirchmeier, vice-president of student affairs, “but it will be memorable, like no time in history.”

Students will take tests before taking classes, COVID-19 tests. Luke Figora, NU’s chief risk and compliance officer, said students will first be asked to take a COVID test at home, and kits will be sent to them soon. Students will then take a second test after arrival on campus.

That arrival, in the dorms, at least, will be fast … 30 minutes to unload the car and get the stuff upstairs. There will be helpers available. “It sounds abbreviated, said Carlos Gonzalez, executive director of residential services, “but the focus is on safety and efficiency.”

Most student activities, as well as most classes, will be virtual. Some small outdoor events might be possible, but the sponsoring student group would have to get a safety plan approved, including names for contact virus tracing, just in case.

Health services will remain available, with extra focus on mental health resources. Mona Dugo, interim dean of students, said, “We’re living in a difficult era and we should expect students to need support in mental health and wellness.

Northwestern still does not know exactly how many of the more than 20,000 undergraduate and graduate students will be coming to campus, or will stay home and take the remote courses as a “Zoomie.” A survey is going out this week to find out who’s coming and who’s not.

Classes begin Sept. 16.

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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