COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Thousands of college students are once again flooding Central Ohio. Tuesday, the Ohio State University campus was busier than it’s been in nearly 18 months as the fall semester officially began.
“It feels very different. I’m excited but also nervous because this is basically my first time on campus for classes,” Sophomore Kacie Pappas said on her way to her first in-person class as an Ohio State student.
Like Pappas, many returning students are navigating in-person learning and campus life for the first time.
“I think in-person classes are going to be really fun, just to meet more people and the program and the professors more one-on-one,” said second-year grad student Jeffrey Lockwood.
Sophomore Tuhin Patel added, “Last year it kind of felt like everything was either on Zoom or just cancelled. We get to actually see people’s faces now.”
Three quarters of classes are starting in-person this fall. Smaller classes will be at full capacity and larger lectures will be at 75 percent capacity.
The university is requiring masks for everyone in all indoor spaces. Unvaccinated individuals must wear a mask in all spaces where social distancing isn’t possible.
“I feel safe with the precautions and everything they take,” said freshman Alan Fernandez, adding he feels safe even without a mask because he’s been vaccinated.
All students who live on campus were required to take a COVID-19 test no more than 7 days before their arrival and all students will have to get tested before stepping foot on campus. Unvaccinated students must submit to weekly COVID-19 testing.
“I’m not too worried about it. I’m vaccinated,” Pappas said. “I think a lot of people are. I think it’s a pretty safe campus to be on, in terms of that.”
Over the summer, the school highly encouraged everyone to get the shot. It offered incentives, like football season tickets or account credit for anyone who was vaccinated by the beginning of August. More than 70% of the campus community is fully vaccinated.