Students walk to class on the first day back to in-person learning. Classes started as planned Jan. 13 at Pepperdine. Photo by Abby Wilt
After three days of online learning, Seaver College resumed in-person classes. Classes started on ground Jan. 13, and students said they have mixed feelings about the return.
Pepperdine reported 543 COVID-19 cases Jan. 12 within the community since Jan. 3. Of those cases, 253 are on-campus residents, all of whom have been sent to quarantine locations Pepperdine organized on campus and through the canyon.
“I was surprised to say the least,” junior Lisette Isiordia said. “I was already anticipating [going online] just because I’ve been hearing so many people saying ‘I tested positive.'”
Students said they expected classes to continue online even if it was just through the end of the week, based on what other California schools were doing and what they had heard about the amount of positive cases on campus.
“I thought I read it [the email] wrong,” Isiordia said. “And then I read it twice. And I’m like, ‘Oh yeah, we’re back tomorrow. We’re back.'”
Even with fears of COVID-19 spreading throughout campus, students still said they were excited to be back.
“I’m taking organic chemistry for the third time this semester, so I’m very relieved we are back in person,” senior Alayna Weyandt said.
Some students said they are still pondering whether the pros outweigh the cons.
“There is part of me that’s excited that we are going back to normal,” Isiordia said. “But there’s just always that fear of people are gonna get sick.”
Sophomore Ginger Jacobs tested positive during her PCR test on campus, and is now isolating in an off-campus hotel for 10 days. Jacobs said she will join her classes on Zoom while they are in person.
“I am feeling fine and I’m asymptomatic,” Jacobs said. “Thankfully, it could have been a lot worse, so I’m very thankful.”
Jacobs said when she got her email from Pepperdine that she had tested positive, she called the non-emergency DPS line.
“It was very funny because the man said ‘Sorry about that,'” Jacobs said. “Yeah, I’m very sorry about that, too.”
DPS told Jacobs that many of the off-campus hotels Pepperdine partners with were filling up fast, but to go ahead and pack up her stuff and be ready to leave for isolation, in order to not expose anyone else on campus, Jacobs said.
“I just wanted to be proactive and get a hotel on my own, so I found a cheap hotel near Santa Monica,” Jacobs said. “So I’m staying there.”
Students who test positive are isolating for 7 to 10 days. After five days in isolation, students are able to do a rapid antigen test, and if they test negative on that test, they can fill out a form through Pepperdine and return to campus, according to Pepperdine’s website.
If students are identified as close contacts with positive cases, they need to quarantine for five days, unless they are fully vaccinated and boosted.
Jacobs said the process was a little confusing, so she is taking it into her own hands to be safe and stay away from her peers.
“I think it’s probably just there’s so many cases right now and it’s hard to delegate resources to accommodate everyone,” Jacobs said. “So I don’t really know what’s going on, but I’m being safe.”
Jacobs joined her in-person classes from Zoom in isolation Jan. 13, and said she felt like she was missing out but was thankful other students were in the same boat as her.
“I was very surprised that we were all in-person because I know how many people are sick and especially knowing that most of the quarantine spots were full,” Jacobs said. “But the school knows what they’re doing.”
All students who did attend in-person classes had to be cleared with a negative entry test, as well as a PCR antigen test, so students said they felt a little comfort knowing that.
“I’m still a little weary honestly,” Isiordia said. “Just because I know family members have had COVID before, and I know it takes a while for other people to test positive, even if they were close contact.”
While transitioning back to in-person learning amid COVID-19, students said they want their peers to know that it is still important to stay safe even though life is looking a little more normal.
“Having COVID itself is not fun,” Isiordia said. “So just be safe, wear a mask, try to sanitize and just be cautious of people and be respectful and try to take care of your community.”
Follow the Graphic on Twitter: @PeppGraphic
Contact Abby Wilt via Twitter (@abby_wilt) or by email: email@example.com