Surag Modagi Rajashekhar leaves CSUN campus store after buying books for his classes on September 1, 2021 in Northridge, Calif. (Sonia Gurrola)
Surag Modagi Rajashekhar leaves CSUN campus store after buying books for his classes on September 1, 2021 in Northridge, Calif.

Sonia Gurrola

Photo essay: Students’ partial return to campus

September 20, 2021

It’s 10:00 am on a Monday morning in NORTHRIDGE, Calif. You are in your car, you drive into the B3 parking structure. Passing the employee parking spaces, you see an open spot on the first floor. You planned an extra fifteen minutes to find a space before your class in Sierra Hall. Masking up, you walk onto the California State University campus for the first time in 18 months. The squirrels prance by as you take in the scenery.

This was the experience of the CSUN students who had in person classes the week following August 28, 2021. Though the campus was a hollow shell of its former self, a sense of normalcy and relief was felt by many students and teachers.

Even those who do not have in person classes, utilize the campus to study and break away from the routine. Scattered throughout the campus you see students lounging on the grass and studying at the tables.

The USU sees life again with the reopening of the Student Recreational Center and the other long missed amenities.

Students and staff find comfort in the ability to make connections in person. CSUN student Kieren Torven rode his skateboard to the Campus Store on Tuesday, August 31 2021. He compares his experience being on campus versus the online platform students became accustomed to, “You don’t actually make friends and connect (on zoom) with people.”

Free COVID-19 testing facilities are placed throughout the campus for those who have not been vaccinated who wish to attend class in person. The CalState systems are taking as many precautions as they can with the rise of the Delta Variant to keep their students and staff safe.

As the school strives towards normalcy, students and staff alike do what they can to adjust to the new normal.

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