CLOVIS, Calif. (KFSN) -- Clovis Community College welcomed new students on-campus for the first time since the pandemic Tuesday.
School officials say enrollment at community colleges in Clovis, Madera, Fresno, and Reedley dropped ten percent compared to 2019, and they're hosting an "extreme registration" event this weekend to prevent student numbers from continuing to drop.
Carlos Brito, a sophomore studying administration of justice, says he and many of his peers struggled with virtual learning. He's looking forward to meeting his professors and classmates face-to-face.
"Being online, it was more like I was by myself. I felt very distant. I probably never interacted with any of my other classmates, barely interacted with my teachers," Brito said.
Lower-income people and communities of color were hit disproportionately by the impact of COVID-19. Parents had to drop out of their classes to help their kids with virtual learning.
Other students had to work more hours and could not stay on top of their school work. The impact of those decisions could be felt for years.
"It will delay the attainment of their goals," said Monica Chahal, vice-president of instruction at Clovis Community College. "Whether that goal is to find a job and join the workforce or to transfer to a four-year institution, we encourage students to continue."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention masks and vaccination guidelines are fluid, but there are rules in place while students are on-campus.
RELATED: California State University to require all students, staff to get COVID-19 vaccine
"We are asking that if students are not vaccinated, that they continue to wear a mask indoors and outdoors, but we are not mandating at this time that students be vaccinated," said Chahal.
Clovis Community College is hosting its "Extreme Registration" event on Friday, July 30 from 1:00 PM - 6:00 PM and Saturday, July 31 from 9:00 AM - 2:00 PM.
The in-person events will take place at Clovis Community College at 10309 North Willow Ave., Fresno 93730 in Academic Center building 1, Open Computer Lab. (AC1-OCL)
Counselors will be ready to help with enrollment and answer questions about financial aid.
Regardless of income, tuition fees can be waived for up to two years for first-time students.
Clovis Community College fights pandemic-induced enrollment decline
CLOVIS COMMUNITY COLLEGE