Fresno State ready to bring more students back to campus

Nearly 3,000 students will resume in-person learning beginning January 21st.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The normally bustling Fresno State campus remained oddly quiet with posted reminders we're in the middle of a pandemic.

The spring semester will begin January 21st but the school will hold off until February 8th to bring back 11% of students and staff. 2860 students, mostly enrolled in health science and lab courses, will be allowed to resume in-person learning.

Interim Fresno State President Saul Jimenez-Sandoval explained, "Specifically nursing, they need that 50% of practice in person in order to get their degree. Some labs, for example in chemistry, have to be taught face to face therefore we have to have them face to face on campus as well."

The campus farm was another area where students have been allowed to work and learn in-person.

250 students will live in campus dorms.

Jimenez-Sandoval has replaced Joseph Castro as University President. Castro is now chancellor of the entire CSU system.

The interim president said enrollment has increased, "We actually have more this semester than we did last year. We have about 25,000 students enrolled at Fresno State right now."

Strict protocols like masks, temperature checks and social distancing will be in place for anyone on campus.

Frontline healthcare workers and seniors in Fresno County have started to get the COVID-19 vaccine

Fresno State has been in talks with the county about the potential use of the Save Mart Center as a mass vaccination site.

Vice-President for Administration Debbie Adishian-Astone said, "We'll either be looking at the Save Mart Center or the student rec center as a possible site in addition to possibly any of our parking lots if and when they're ready to do drive-thru."

But looking ahead to May, it didn't appear families of graduating seniors would be able to watch commencement ceremonies.

Jimenez-Sandoval said, "I don't know if it's going to be feasible to come together in person at the Save Mart Center while everything's closed in to see our students graduate."

President Jimenez-Sandoval hoped to have 70% of faculty members back on campus for the 2021 fall semester.
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