SAN ANTONIO – Trinity University welcomed students back to campus on Friday and university officials say they are prepared to welcome them both into the dorms and in the classroom.
Justin Doty, dean of admissions with Trinity University, welcomed first year students onto campus and said despite the number of challenges and disruptions the pandemic has brought they have a record-high enrollment.
Doty said they typically aim at enrolling 640 first year students and this year they managed to enroll 674 college freshmen for the fall semester, making the class of 2025 the second largest class in the school’s history.
“We had no idea how this was going to play out when the pandemic first started and I think all of us are very pleasantly surprised about it really, I feel that the Trinity community completely came together; the faculty, the coaches, the staff, the current students, the alumni all to enroll this incoming class,” Doty said.
Doty said the school hosted a series of virtual recruiting events last year and were able to have students and families visit the campus safely while also being socially distant. A lot of campuses across the country weren’t able to host campus tours and this made a difference in terms of students making a confident decision to enroll, Doty said.
School officials say they have been monitoring the pandemic closely for the past 20 months and say the school is in a unique position as they have close to a 97% vaccination rate among faculty and staff on campus.
Officials said Trinity has the ability to fully test all members of the campus community and that they are confident in their decision of moving forward with in-person learning and living. They used their robust contact tracing and treating capabilities as two examples.
The university said they will be conducting full baseline testing of the entire campus community as everyone returns to work and to the classroom. Vice President for Strategic Communications and Marketing Tess Coody-Anders said they are doing it to get a better sense of the presence of the coronavirus on school grounds as they welcome people from all over the world. She said the information will be helpful in mitigating the spread of COVID-19 on campus.
“Assuming that we’re successful in doing that through our contact tracing and our quarantine and isolation process, and through behavioral changes like mask wearing and social distancing, we believe that we should be able to continue with in-person activities. But we’re going to evaluate, and we’ll make changes as the conditions require them,” Coody-Anders said.
The university said students will not be required to show proof of a vaccination card or vaccination status to access classes or school activities. Instead, they will be employing a daily phone based symptoms checker that allows students, faculty and staff to run through a checklist regarding COVID-19.