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UNR Students Return To Campus For First Day Of Fall Semester 2021

A photo from a higher vantage point of people walking across a grassy field in front of a large brick building. There are food trucks parked on the sidewalk. There’s another large building in the far background that’s slightly hazy from wildfire smoke.
Lucia Starbuck
KUNR Public Radio
Food trucks and information tables set up for the first day of classes outside the Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center at the University of Nevada, Reno, on Aug. 23, 2021. Smoke filled the air from wildfires in California, mostly from the Caldor Fire.

Monday marked the first day of classes for more than 20,000 students at the University of Nevada, Reno. KUNR’s Lucia Starbuck went out at lunchtime to see how the students are doing.

A thick, smoky haze from wildfires in California covered campus, but there were still students walking to and from class or enjoying a bite of food from one of the several food trucks parked outside the library on Monday.

Masks are required for all students indoors, and this semester, about 94% of classes are in-person. For some students, like sophomore Abigail Acciari, it feels like she’s starting college all over again.

“I feel kinda like a freshman because I’m like learning with them. I had to go find all my classes earlier this morning to make sure I know where to go. So it definitely does feel like my first day, but I’m super excited,” Acciari said.

Freshman Emily Murrieta said she’s actually uncomfortable with the situation.

“I don’t really like [in-person classes] because, it’s like, everyone is just all crowded in one room, and then we’re all sitting next to each other, but, I mean, it’s fine,” Murrieta said.

There are no social distancing requirements on campus inside or outside of buildings.

UNR students are not currently required to show proof of the COVID-19 vaccine, but they will be if they want to enroll in classes for next semester.

Lucia Starbuck is a corps member with Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project.

As a note of disclosure, the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents holds the license to this station.

Lucia Starbuck is an award-winning journalist covering politics, focusing on democracy and solutions for KUNR Public Radio. Her goal is to provide helpful and informative coverage for everyday Nevadans.
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