FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Thursday, hundreds of students unpacked their suitcases at the Fresno State and Fresno Pacific University campuses. Both colleges welcomed back students for on-campus living.
Fresno Pacific Resident Advisors Maesyn and Rachel couldn't contain their excitement welcoming students to the campus Thursday morning.
"It almost seems unreal," said student Maesyn Rix. "I'm getting that first day of school jitters like back in high school, getting super excited. You can see it on everyone's face, even with the mask on, kids are just happy to have that camaraderie again."
Roughly 370 students moved into the dorms, with masks and sanitation at the ready.
"It's not just one year. It's freshmen, sophomores who haven't been on campus, all the transfer students, so there's so many fresh faces," said Rachel Berry. "Everyone's so excited."
The university has asked students to get vaccinated, but there is a waiver process for those with religious or medical exemptions.
"This year, we're going to try and offer as normal a housing experience as possible while keeping everyone safe," said FPU Director of Residence Life and Housing Mandie Wall.
At Fresno State, students had to present a negative COVID test at check-in. Masks are required in common areas but may be taken off in students rooms.
"I love the fact that we have students back on campus," said Fresno State Director of Housing Erin Boele. "We missed them the last year and a half. We've had a few but it's really a great feeling to have them back on campus."
Everyone on campus is required to have a COVID vaccine. Those with medical or religious exemptions will have have to take a weekly COVID test all to keep students safe on valley campuses this year
"The energies a lot different. A lot more gratitude is in the air just because we're all thankful to be here," added Rix. "We didn't think this was going to happen."
Students living on campus have a full weekend ahead, with activities kicking off Thursday evening to get them adjusted to campus life. The first day of classes for Fresno State and Fresno Pacific University students is Monday.
Local colleges welcome students back to dorms