CSUSM students and faculty gear up for a new semester on campus

Kristin Bergmann, Staff Writer

CSUSM officially welcomed students and faculty back on campus for the fall semester on Aug. 30.

According to the Office of the Registrar, 16,723 students enrolled at CSUSM this fall semester, In comparison, 16,367 students enrolled during the fall 2020 semester. Over 2,200 classes are offered in a variety of formats.

CSUSM students, faculty and staff made their return to campus on Aug.30 for the fall semester. (Photo by Valeria Serna)

Roughly 580 classes are on-campus, over 1,090 classes are fully online and about 380 are following a hybrid model with alternating in-person and remote lectures. 67 percent of all enrolled students are attending at least one class with an in-person component this fall. In comparison, last fall that number was at only 5.8 percent.

Now that over half the student population is back in the classrooms, weekly events are held across campus again, athletics are back on the field and various clubs traded zoom sessions for in-person meetings. The CSUSM community is back and thriving.

However, with the pandemic still raging across the country and the variants on the rise there are various safety protocols in place to ensure the safety of students and faculty.

Over the summer, the California State University system developed a strategic plan to make the reopening process as safe as possible for everyone involved. All students, faculty and staff must upload their vaccination records by Sept. 30.

Those who are not vaccinated need to obtain a medical or religious exemption from this requirement and must participate in the weekly mandatory testing program. The testing site on CSUSM  is located inside the Clarke Field House.

Aside from the vaccination requirement, all persons on campus are required to wear masks in all inside areas, regardless of vaccination status. While eating or drinking inside individuals must keep a six feet distance. In all outside areas, masks are optional for those who are vaccinated.

For unvaccinated people, masks are mandatory outside when a six feet distance cannot be maintained. Sanitizing stations are placed in various locations across campus. In high contact areas such as the University Student Union, surfaces are wiped down frequently.

Despite these necessary safety measures, the atmosphere on campus is bright. Students are excited to be back in the classroom after a year and a half.

The kick-off Weeks of Welcome event dubbed “Miiyu” on Aug. 28 with a great turnout. Over 800 first and second-year students came together to celebrate the start of the new semester. Many participants had never been on campus before and attended the first in-person event since March 2020 with great excitement. That excitement grew even bigger when CSUSM opened its doors to over 11,000 students on the following Monday.

Asking around campus revealed that many students seem to welcome the school’s decision to return to in-person classes. Priscilla, a junior majoring in psychology, says, “it’s cool to be back and see people again.” Sierra, also a  third-year psychology major, sees the classroom as a “learning environment that motivates you”. Human development major Trevor finds that he is “doing better in person”.

Many faculty members are equally thrilled to switch the computer screen for a classroom.

Nicholas Thomas, a lecturer for the communication department, states that “being in the classroom with students felt good – you cannot beat the power of student enthusiasm.”

For more information, please visit https://www.csusm.edu/csusmasone/index.html.