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Cal Poly students return to 'ghost town' campus

Angel Russell
The Cal Poly campus was quiet Monday compared to years past as students started the fall quarter Monday.

In San Luis Obispo, Cal Poly students began their first day of classes Monday, mostly logging in to their lectures online, and the CSU system announced classes will remain that way through spring 2021. 

The usual crowd of thousands on the first day of classes is now just a handful of students walking around, and there’s no competing for parking spaces. 

“It’s almost like a ghost town,” second year agriculture major Edna Villicana said. 

Villicana moved into her dorm a few days ago. She’s one of the 4,300 students living on campus. Due to COVID19 restrictions, that’s half the usual number. 

“I was expecting to have like seven roommates in my apartment," Villicana said. "Now it’s only three. On one hand it’s a lot more space, but on the other it’s like, so much more empty. It’s very weird.”

Villicana started her first day with all online lectures, but she’s really looking forward to her in-person lab 

“It’ll just be nice to actually get out and talk to people," Villicana said. "Instead of just through a screen.”

Freshman Carson Duenas decided to leave his dorm between his virtual lectures to explore his new campus. 

“It’s pretty weird having a college class on Zoom," Duenas said. "It wasn’t prerecorded, it was a live session, which I was not used to from my high school classes.”

Duenas said while he feels like he’ll still get a good education via Zoom, he’s going to miss the typical college lifestyle.

“Like being able to have classes, walk around and meet new people," Duenas said. "[So it's] not nearly as good, but I feel like there is still some college experience.”

Days prior to the start of fall classes, the CSU system announced virtual learning will continue into 2021. A Cal Poly spokesperson says that means spring quarter will have the same guidelines as the fall and winter ones. 

“I wasn’t surprised, to be completely honest,” third year nutrition major Jannelle Maglione said. 

Maglione thinks it’s the right move by the CSU system, but she’s going to miss studying in the library with friends and meeting new classmates. She also may never meet her new professors in-person. 

“It’s definitely been an adjustment trying to figure out, ‘alright I’m not going to do work in my bed,' because my bed is for me to rest, and not for me to drive myself crazy with work," Maglione said. 

Angel Russell is a former KCBX News reporter who started her career in journalism as a reporter and producer for KREX on Colorado's Western Slope; she later moved to the Central Coast to work for KSBY as weekend anchor and weekday reporter. She holds a BA in journalism from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, and playing guitar and piano.
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