Students moving in this week at Queen's University

Queens University Students are moving into residence this week. (CTV/Kimberley Johnson)

It’s a very different year for first year Queen’s University students living in residence - and moving in is no different.

On Tuesday, the school began the move in process for those living in residence ahead of the fall semester.

In previous years, about 4,000 students would descend on the campus, along with their families.

Instead, under this year’s COVID-19 safety protocols, less than half of that number will be housed in one of ten residence buildings.

To accommodate the 2,000 students living in residence this year, the school is having 400 arrive each day, over five days, under staggered arrival times

On Tuesday, Dean of Student Affairs Ann Tierney says this is done for safety.

“Part of our practice is to avoid the large crowds that can accompany move-in day,” explains Tierney. “Residence’s devised the plan over the summer... talking to our colleagues in public health as well as the city of Kingston to make sure that the plan was reasonable.”

As the first step, student and their families arrived in their cars with masks on at the Richardson football stadium to get their keys and student ID.

From there they were sent to their assigned residence building.

While unpacking, those moving in were kept physically distant, assigned specific doors to enter and exit.

Unlike past years, no volunteers are allowed to lend a hand, and only two people were permitted by school officials to help the student move in.

Lucas Booth is a first year from British Columbia.

He tells CTV Ottawa he wasn’t told of any restrictions about what he could bring inside, but there are extra precautions to get it in.

“We had to do a bit of sanitizing beforehand with the handles (on the trolly),” he explains. “One group per elevator and it’s pretty spaced out in (the building) for sure.”

Students like him will be inside their dorm rooms this year, attending class virtually.

Still, he says he felt it was important to live on campus.

“Get the university experience,” he says. “Being able to meet people in person, staying home you get the academics, but maybe not the personal and community side of it. So I kind of wanted to get all of it in one package.”