Mesa opens up their campus to students in the Fall 2021 semester

Students+on+campus+after+a+whole+year+of+campus+closure%2C+due+to+COVID-19

Kyle Ayson, The Mesa Press

Students on campus after a whole year of campus closure, due to COVID-19

Jennifer Aguilar, News Editor

On August 23, San Diego Mesa College students, staff and faculty returned to campus after relocating online due to campus closure from COVID-19 protocols. 

    For many second-year students, the Fall 2021 semester was the first time they ever set foot on Mesa’s campus. “I waited for this moment for a long time and I am so happy it is happening now,” said Sophomore Alexa Avalos, majoring in biology. Adding on to this, her favorite thing about campus is the amount of “ things there are to do and to explore.”

   Wesley Preis, a second-year student majoring in Theatre Arts, missed being in a classroom and being in face-to-face instruction. After being on campus again, it reminded her how much she enjoys “the structure of in-person schooling.” She also wanted to go on campus since “it was a really good way to get a better sense of what it means to go to Mesa.”

   As the campus transitions back to face-to-face instruction, there are still many more students left to attend in-person, since most of the classes offered on campus are STEM labs and hybrid classes that include courses such as exercise science, journalism, communication studies, drama, fashion, art, etc. 

   “It has been wonderful to have students, faculty and staff back on campus,”said Dr. Pamela Luster, president of San Diego Mesa College.

   Ashley Gutierrez, a criminology major who hopes to transfer soon, prefers going in person due to the fact that she gets “the best of the whole college experience.”

   The transition back to campus has also been different for many professors. Dr. Stephanie Colby, professor of physical science and astronomy, enjoyed working from home, but also missed working from her office, even though she has mixed feelings about going back on campus. “I don’t feel like I am quite back on campus,” she said. One of the aspects that she missed from working at home is that personal connection with students through Zoom, “when I was teaching at home I felt like students were all at home with me, I felt like I really got to be part of my student’s life and felt that they got to be a part of my whole life, I wasn’t just a professor behind the desk.” 

   It may seem like everything is going back to normal on campus, but there are still some things left that have yet to be fully available on campus. For example, the counseling department is only doing drop-in appointments through Zoom or phone call, not face-to face. Despite this, the Fall 2021 semester included an important perk: free student parking. Student permits are not required this semester to park in the student lots, but the parking lots can get quite full.  

   Throughout the campus closure there has also been construction being done on campus in front of the SB building and the Cafe. A new quad area is in the works for students to enjoy. 

   If you plan on taking a class on campus, you are required to wear a mask and submit a COVID-19 vaccination record. However, if you are unable to get a COVID-19 vaccine, you can request a COVID-19 vaccine exemption due to religious or medical reasons. Both of these forms can be found on Mesa’s form submission website. COVID-19 testing sites will also be available on campus. 

   According to a COVID-19 update by then Chancellor Constance M.Carroll, 12.3 percent of students will be going on campus, 17.1  percent will be hybrid classes (synchronous or exams only) and 70.6 percent will remain online.

   Everything is still unsure when the campus is going to fully open, but according to a COVID-19 update made on Sept. 2 by Chancellor Carlos O. Turner Cortez, “We remain committed to our goal of returning to normal, in-person operations in early 2022.”

   Dr. Pamela Luster, said “We are working very hard to create safe learning spaces and provide services to students in person.”

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