Fresno State making final preparations to begin virtual classes

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- By this time last year, eager students had taken over the campus at Fresno State.

The hustle and bustle of college life were just beginning for the thousands who arrived for the start of the Fall semester.

But in 2020, the campus looks more like plenty of parking and few students as the university gets set to begin virtual classes this week

"It does make me sad," says student Haley Davis. "I won't be able to spend time with my classmates and new students. It's just a weird feeling. I usually never see it like this."

While many colleges nationwide face drops in enrollment as a result of the global health crisis, Fresno State administrators anticipate the largest incoming class in the university's history this fall -- with about 3,700 freshmen and almost 2,800 transfer students.

President Dr. Joseph Castro got emotional when talking about the record-setting crop of students.

"I think the bigger story is the resilience of our students and families," he said. "The fact that during this pandemic they would lean into their education right now is a powerful thing."

The California State University Chancellor's Office made the call on May 12 that most class instructions would be virtual this fall.

Fresno State will allow a limited number of essential in-person courses.

About 1,000 students will be enrolled in the 101 in-person classes approved for the Fall semester.

"We'll have roughly seven percent or so of our student, faculty and staff population from a year ago," Dr. Castro said. "So it'll be a smaller group made up mostly of lab courses."

Fresno State is offering one-time COVID-19 testing to those who are approved to be on campus for the Fall.

Required daily health screenings and temperature checks will also be done for all students and employees coming onto campus

"I'm just glad that they're taking the precautions to keep us safe," Davis said. "Whatever they need to do, I don't mind and I hope other people don't mind."

Classes officially begin at Fresno State on Wednesday.
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