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UND welcome weekend won't include large gatherings

Those days will involve scheduled move-in times, face masks and COVID-19 testing events to welcome students to the UND campus.

A family prepares to move a student in to a dorm room in this 2018 file photo. Eric Hylden / Grand Forks Herald

For incoming college students, welcome weekend is typically filled with catching up with old friends, meeting new friends, student activity fairs and other celebrations.

This year, however, there won’t be any big gatherings. No meeting roommates for the first time or taking a class picture at Memorial Stadium.

“It's going to look a lot different this year; those large events won't happen,” UND President Andrew Armacost said.

Instead, welcome weekend will involve scheduled move-in times, face masks and COVID-19 testing events to welcome students to the UND campus.

Cassie Gerhardt, associate dean of students, said families have been scheduling two-hour move-in windows since Aug. 1 to bring in items and prepare dorm rooms. "Quite a few” students have already taken advantage of this opportunity, she said.


This year, students living in residence halls will not have roommates. Instead, students are being placed individually in double rooms to follow physical distancing guidelines and limit student gatherings.

Students and families also will have a reserved time to move into the dorms this weekend, which is when students traditionally move into the residence halls. Gerhardt said the schedule was done to limit the number of people in the hallways and staircases in the residence halls. Students will be given two fabric masks on Monday, Aug. 24. Disposable masks will be available to those who may not have one this weekend.

“We’ve done that to ease some of the density that we'll see on campus on Saturday and Sunday,” she said.

Families will still be able to stay and help students get settled into their dorm rooms, according to Gerhardt.

“I have a feeling they’ll probably be here shorter times than they would have under a normal schedule situation,” she said. “We're not going to ask anybody to leave. Families need to make sure their student is settled. We think we've done some things to ease the density and the crowds, but we know that families need to do what's best for them, given whatever their circumstances are and move-in weekend.”

There will be no large gatherings or pep rallies this year, Gerhardt said. Some events will still take place virtually.

“We're trying to still show our excitement for the start of the school year and to welcome our new students, but in a very different delivery format,” she said.


Walk-up testing events are as scheduled for the week:


  • Thursday, Aug. 20, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., or until all tests are used

  • Friday, Aug. 21, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., or until all tests are used

  • Sunday, Aug. 23, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., or until all tests are used

Face coverings or masks are required and six-foot distancing is expected. There is no cost or need for insurance. Visit for a complete list of testing dates and locations.

The testing on Thursday and Friday, Aug. 20-21, is open to public and private school faculty and staff in Grand Forks, Griggs, Nelson, Pembina and Walsh counties.

As an incentive to get tested, UND students who get tested for COVID-19 at the UND High Performance Center will be entered into a drawing for a chance at a $500 gift card/scholarship from the UND Bookstore. Five winners will be selected each testing day.

Individuals are asked to register with the North Dakota Department of Health. Registration also is accepted at the testing site.

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