SOU returns to in-person learning

ASHLAND, Ore. —After starting the school year online, Southern Oregon University is back with in-person instruction.

“I woke up and I was ready to go in the classroom,” said Junior Alejandra Lopez.

A campus that was once quiet is now buzzing with students. After more than a year and a half since the pandemic cleared out the campus, students are finally back in person at SOU.

“I was counting down the days, I was counting down the days for a while,” said Lopez.

The return comes weeks after southern Oregon saw some of its highest Covid numbers, placing a strain on hospitals locally. Students say they were required to fill out a form to prove their vaccination status to return. For some students, it was their first taste of the college experience.

“Going into freshman year it was kinda disappointing because you want the college experience meeting people being in person so the first couple weeks were hard to meet people,” said Brea Blankenship.

Many shared the same excitement about the in-person experience.

“I am so happy,” said one student. “I’m so excited to be back in the classroom,” said another.

Case Coffee in Ashland, says it’s gotten more foot traffic with more students around. The manager tells us she hasn’t seen a rush that big in a while.

“It changes the whole vibe of your workday as well as just general cafe atmosphere and sales and all that,” said Manager Olivia Fauldi.

Students are thankful to be back and hopeful for what the new school year holds.

“Being in person, it’s a lot easier to make connections with people than it is over a computer,” said Blankenship.

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Jenna King is the 6pm and 11pm anchor for NBC5 News. Jenna is a Burbank, CA native. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Sports Business. During her time at Oregon she was part of the student-run television station, Duck TV. She also grew her passion for sports through her internship with the PAC 12 Network. When Jenna is not in the newsroom you can find her rooting for her hometown Dodgers, exploring the outdoors or binging on the latest Netflix release.
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