First day of no classes on campus

The SF state community responds to the cancellation of face-to-face classes


David Sjostedt

Cafe Rosso was closed due to the limited number of students on campus

David Sjostedt

SF State’s campus is clean as ever today, and the building floors are shining with disinfectants.  In the humanities building, a lonely wet floor sign waits for the after lunch rush of students and faculty that will never come.  Hand sanitizer is readily available across the administrative offices, and many people are incorporating elbow touches in lieu of the traditional handshake.  The campus wide quarantine is in its beginning stages, and there are a range of emotions and opinions among people who showed up.

John Cleary, the humanities building coordinator, is glad to have a break from the pandemonium of the school year.  “There’s 500 people in this building on a daily basis when you count faculty and staff,” he said. “Which is the most on campus.  So you remove 500 people, and all of a sudden my phone has gone a lot quieter.”  

Of the students that did show up to school, many are frustrated and confused by what to make of the COVID-19 induced moratorium.  

“I’m trying to graduate this year,” said Marley Hale, a fourth-year studio art major.  “There’s been a lot of talk about commencement not happening because of what’s going on, so a lot of us are just kind of displaced right now.”  

“I’m mad that I can’t work on my sculptures in the studio,” said Zoey Reidy, a third-year studio art major who joined Hale on campus to retrieve their supplies from the fine arts building.  “We kind of just showed up and were like let us in,” Reidy said. 

Duncan McBride
Third-year studio art major Zoey Reidy moving her sculpture supplies out of the fine arts building.

Although she is battling a cold, Reidy says that she is more worried about losing her rhythm at school than she is of getting the virus. “I feel like classes, if anything, should’ve been optional for people, because if they felt unsafe to come they should stay home and not get a penalty,” she said.  “I think being like you’re not allowed to come especially for certain classes that you can’t do online like this, it gives a disadvantage to people who have to take extra steps and spend extra money to make that work for them.”  

While the campus buildings are supposed to be inaccessible to students during this time, some continue to seize the opportunity to work with faculty who remain on campus.  Brandon Delos Reyes, a third-year communications major, showed up for makeshift office hours with Suzanne Pullen, a communications lecturer. Delos Reyes wasn’t required to meet in person with Pullen, but since he was on campus while she conducted her online Zoom class, he deemed it beneficial to meet with her while he still can. 

“I’m kind of bummed,” he said. “Virtually, you have to figure it out yourself.  You’re not going to get the full on explanations and details that professors will provide.”  

Delos Reyes and Pullen agreed that particularly in majors such as communications, it will be especially tough to recreate the classroom experience online, and it’s evident that Pullen is going to miss seeing her students on a regular basis. “They’ve done incredible work and they have this really powerful present community for each other,” she said. “It’s about being present for each other, and creating an environment so that people take risks and try new things. Once they feel comfortable and safe with each other they do that, so I don’t know how that’s going to look doing performance virtually, but I guess we’re going to find out.”   

During this transitional period, some students got their first taste of what an online discussion based class is like.  Joe Readel, a creative writing junior, attended his literary magazine class today through a zoom conference call. “The way zoom works is when someone starts talking it cuts to them, and that worked pretty good,” he said. “But there were issues with feedback, and other sounds, and weird stuff.”  

Readel believes that if there’s a moderator for classes such as these, that the online method could potentially work, but there are technical compliances that students should recognize before logging on to the app.  Some students are not as willing as others to have their face on the video chat, and there were time limitations considering the trouble that people have logging on. “I’m trying to picture my other classes in which we’re going to have to use zoom, and I’m just trying to picture how it would work,” he said.  “I don’t know if there’s a way to try it out beforehand, but for me, I know that it’s helpful to understand how all it works.”