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Saint Leo University Welcomes New, Returning Students

With masks and social distancing in place, students begin moving in to residence halls and preparing for the new academic year, which begins August 25.

This year, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Saint Leo University is welcoming students to its campus over several days in order to protect the health and safety of everyone. The process began with a “move-in day” on Tuesday, August 18.

Carrying-stuff-into-residence-halls-2-1New and transfer students will move to campus, 33701 State Road 52, St. Leo, FL, 33544, from Tuesday, August 18, through Thursday, August 20.

Saint Leo University is expecting to see nearly the same number of new students this fall at University Campus as were enrolled last year, with an expected new student enrollment of about 950. Last year (2019) was a record-breaking fall for the university with a 47 percent increase in enrollment over prior years at 1,004 new students.

“We are very proud to see that trend continue,” said Dr. Melanie Storms, senior vice president. “It will be the second largest enrollment in Saint Leo history.”

Enrollment in Saint Leo’s online programs also has increased 16 percent over last year.

“I’m happy to be here, and everyone is so warm,” said Tayhana Taylor, who is from Jamaica and will major in health care administration. “It’s just so nice here. I’m excited.”

Tayhana Taylor

Notable characteristics of the incoming Fall 2020 class include:

  • 64 percent are from Florida;
  • 20 percent are from out of state; and,
  • 16 percent are from international countries.

To allow for social distancing, room capacity in Saint Leo’s residence halls has been decreased. Rooms that normally house three or four students will be reduced to two so the university is eliminating triples and quads for this year.

As of August 18, Saint Leo will have 1,345 students residing on campus, and residence halls are at 88 percent of capacity. Of those students residing on campus, 56 percent are returning students and 44 percent are new students. Returning students move to campus August 22 – 24. 

Moving In

Protecting the “Pride”

The university is taking many steps to keep its “Lions” healthy and safe. Some of the measures are:

  • Students will use a daily check-in mobile app to let staff know that they are free of fever and other COVID-19 symptoms. Faculty and staff also will have a daily check-in. Temperature-check stations will be located throughout campus.
  • Masks are required for all students, faculty, staff, and visitors. Social distancing practices will be in place with limited capacity allowed in classrooms, meeting spaces, offices, gymnasium, and all university locations.

Lion sculpture wearing a mask

  • Enhanced cleaning protocols will be instituted across all Saint Leo facilities, including classrooms, offices, housing and dining facilities, restrooms, and public spaces.
  • All facilities, including the library, computer labs, and other shared spaces will be limited to no more than 50 percent occupancy to promote social distancing. Plexiglass guards are being installed at some common points of service such as cashier stations.

Welcoming Students

Cheering as new students entered the parking garageDuring New Student Orientation (NSO), events are planned to educate, entertain, and inform students, while keeping them safe. Events will be presented in various manners: in-person, virtual, and hybrid (mixture of online and in-person). For example, students can meet with Student Financial Services representatives by appointment in-person and online; there will be meetings for Saint Leo’s various colleges via Zoom; musical performances will be virtual and onsite, while other entertainment such as a murder mystery night and movie night, will be virtual.

Hitting the Books (or Zoom)

Classes will begin on Tuesday, August 25. The most popular degree programs for the incoming students are biology, business, criminal justice, computer science, and psychology.

The university Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence has been busy, helping faculty prepare for the new learning options including how to use Zoom in the classroom while teaching the hybrid classroom option which features a modified face-to-face format. Classes will be offered during a regular class period with students assigned to Group A and Group B. They will rotate attending in-person and socially distanced and remotely via Zoom video conferencing software, both delivery formats allow for appropriate social distancing.

Saint Leo will offer a new academic degree this year, a bachelor’s in health education and health promotion—that will prepare graduates for a growing number of health education positions at community organizations, health care agencies, and workplaces.

At the end of this cohesive program of study, students may take a national competency exam for the Certified Health Education Specialist credential. Some employers require the credential, and it is considered an asset for those in the field.

What’s Next

Classes at Saint Leo’s education centers—located throughout Florida and in Texas, South Carolina, Georgia, and Mississippi—as well as those offered online also begin the week of August 24. All Saint Leo University students, regardless of location, also may choose between the three options: hybrid classroom, connected classroom or online.

Applications are being accepted for the Spring Semester and for Fall 2021 Semester. For information, email admissions@saintleo.edu or call (877) 588-622-2009. More information can be found at saintleo.edu.

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