Monday marks the first day of the fall semester for San Diego State University students and as expected, the majority of classes will be held virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Returning to class looked dramatically different for students as they traded welcome back events and lecture halls for online instruction and limited in-person interactions. The majority of SDSU classes are being held online, minus about 200 classes that require in-person instruction.
Elizabeth Aispuro, an SDSU sophomore, said she was required to return to campus for her chemistry lab.
“I was like 'ugh, why does lab have to be in person?'" she said. "But you know, it’s something that we have to learn. I understand it, but yeah, it’s a little – it’s a little scary.”
Some students began to move back into campus earlier this month, with international students getting settled in from Aug. 6 to 8, followed by domestic students on Aug. 18. About 2,600 students moved into SDSU dormitories and facial coverings, social distancing and limited guests upon move-in were mandated.
A couple of freshmen said it wasn’t the college move-in she imagined, but said she understands it’s for the best.
“I expected parties,” Ariana Gokbas said, laughing. “The distancing kind of sucks but it’ll help me focus more so I guess that’s what God wanted.”
“I thought I was going to be able to be on campus and take my first steps into my class and just get the whole college experience, but that didn’t happen," said Alexis Hernandez.
Hernandez, like many other first-time college students, had dreams about her first day of university that weren't able to come to fruition because of the pandemic.
"I was just looking forward to the whole college experience," she said. "Sitting in the classroom, looking at the professor, writing every little thing down on the board like my parents have been telling me.”
For one senior, seeing the campus so empty was a strange sensation for her.
"It’s like a ghost town. It’s crazy," said Allana Roszyk. "There’s usually people packed along these little sidewalks. There’s skateboarders, bikers, everyone’s on campus. It’s usually really, really crowded, and right now there’s no one.”
Last week, the university’s Interfraternity Council (IFC) voted to halt all in-person social gatherings in favor of virtual events in an effort to minimize the spread of COVID-19.
The social moratorium was only imposed on IFC members. It does not influence the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC), College Panhellenic Association (CPA), or the United Sorority and Fraternity Council (USFC).
However, students will still be able to connect with one other with virtual hang outs, activities and challenges.
Those who may not want to participate in cyber meetings can participate in the university's outdoor workout programs or use SDSU's library study area.