FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- It's going to be a big week for students across the Central Valley, as many are heading back to class.
State community colleges begin the fall semester on Monday.
This includes Fresno City College, Clovis Community College, Reedley College, Madera Community College and the Madera Community College campus in Oakhurst.
We spoke to students at Fresno City College, who were excited to be with their classmates in person.
"When COVID came everything was sad right here, but now it's beautiful. It's nice to see all those people," said Ramon Gallardo.
On Monday, there were food trucks, welcome signs, and even information booths to help students navigate their first week.
While many classes were online just last semester, this fall, Fresno City College is offering 63% of its classes in person and 37% online.
While enrollment numbers have dropped nationwide, school officials say they are now seeing an increase in enrollment.
Dr. Robert Pimentel, the new president of Fresno City College, said retention is his main focus.
"We often almost lose almost fifty of our students from semester to semester, so we want to make sure that we are keeping our students engaged and we get them to that finish line because it's really important for them to finish," he said.
Dr. Pimentel is from the Valley - raised in Huron and served at West Hills Community College District.
He was formerly FCC's VP of Educational Services and Institutional Effectiveness.
"I've been in Fresno my entire life so it was a perfect fit for me to stay here... I was here for four years and I know the culture of the campus, so for me it was important to continue the work we've been doing," he said.
Dr. Pimentel said they will continue to implement measures to increase numbers.
Fresno City College students can park for free in the marked student parking lots.
Plus, the parking structure at Blackstone and Weldon is almost completed.
Free COVID testing is still being offered onsite for students and staff.
To attend in-person classes, students are no longer required to have an exemption if they are not fully vaccinated. But they will have to be tested once a week.
If you're a Fresno City College student taking 12 or more units, then you have access to a $250 voucher for instructional supplies in the bookstore.