CI returns: student perspectives

By Jordan Wehlage and Griffin Giboney

For the first time in three semesters, students are once again walking the halls and filling the study spaces at CI. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, students, staff and faculty alike are learning how to navigate this new campus reality. 

Throughout the pandemic, educational institutions have been under close scrutiny with regards to how they have handled bringing students back to campus. For the most part, students at CI are satisfied with steps the University has taken to ensure the safety of the campus community. In a poll conducted on The CI View’s Instagram page, 86% of students reported feeling safe on campus. 86% also agreed that the University has handled repopulation well. 

Ashlei Tesnado, a first-year chemistry major, explained, “The first few days I was feeling a little scared…now, it’s been a few months already and I’m not as scared as before.” Tesnado did raise concerns about physical distancing in classrooms: “Sometimes (in class) we’re all bundled in, and we don’t know if people are vaccinated. Maybe (we should) scatter people around in the classroom and not (be) all bunched in.” 

Other students mostly felt comfortable but shared some areas in which they felt the University could improve. 

Alyssa Galarza, a third-year biology major, expressed confusion about the logistics of the contact tracing process in the event of a positive case. Galarza also, however, felt reassured by other University procedures: “I feel comfortable [on campus] because I see a lot of people actually wearing their masks…and I know there’s free testing, so if I ever feel the need to get a test, that’s available.” 

While feeling mostly confident in University guidelines, first-year student Emiel Cantada wishes that CI had supplies, such as hand sanitizer and masks, readily available in more locations on campus. Cantada added, “Sometimes I’m late to class because I’m trying to look for a mask in my car.” 

Among many students, there is a buzz of excitement to be back on campus and see friendly faces in the halls. Emily Chang, a first-year biology major whose senior year of high school was conducted virtually, said, “I’ve missed having in-person connections with my classmates and professors.” Chang’s sentiment was echoed by many other students who spoke to The CI View during interviews held in Central Mall. 

Students are happy to take advantage of the ability to meet face-to-face again. Jerrod Plummer, a fourth-year chemistry major, shared a perk of the in-person experience: “You don’t have to set up a Zoom call. You can just hang out with your classmates after class.” 

In this unique era, the college experience looks different than it ever has before. One thing remains the same, however; the knowledge and personal relationships we gain during our time at CI are things we will carry with us forever. 

View campus resources about COVID-19 policies and procedures here:

If you have any concerns about COVID-19 procedures on campus, you can report them to the Division of Student Affairs at the following email address: 

If you are experiencing feelings of anxiety or other mental health concerns, you can find further resources from Counseling and Psychological Services here: 

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