Columbus State President Chris Markwood was not sure what to expect this month as students returned to campus for the first time since March.

What he didn’t expect was record enrollment. There are 8,689 students right now,. That number will likely fall in the next couple of weeks. But it’s 600 more students than this time last year.

And it’s 150 more students than the record on the Fall 2017.

Markwood can’t point to any one reason.

“That could be because of the launch of our Creative to the Core campaign and branding,” Markwood said Wednesday afetrnoon. “It could have been in part due to COVID-19 and people wanting to stay closer to home.”

About 40 percent of the students are taking online classes. And some of the in-seat classes also have a virtual element.

With full enrollment has come record housing numbers.

The 1,468 beds on the main and downtown campuses are full. The university is renting about a dozen rooms from the downtown Marriott as they wait for things to shake out.

Students are required to wear masks when in common areas in the dorms. They are also not allowed to go into another student’s room. Some rooms have more than one student housed in them.

It comes when the state of Georgia is a COVID hotspot, though cases in Columbus are trending down over the last two weeks.

There are some cases reported in the Columbus State community, Markwood said.

“We have announced today that we have eight active cases,” Markwood said. “Most of those are folks who came to CSU with that. Most are off campus. The faculty and staff who have been identified as having COVID or at home. The students haven’t come yet, We have kind of deferred their start at CSU.”

Only one of those cases is in university housing. CSU has COVID isolation areas on both campuses.

CSU students moved into dorms last week and started classes on Monday.