By Alexander Osornio, March 23, 2021
Since early 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has created a new lifestyle for students, with social distancing regulations, school closures and limitations to outside activity.
For the Cal Poly Pomona community, last March became known as the last normal days before the pandemic led to a temporary pause in in-person learning and on-campus events. With hopes of returning to in-person interactions, CPP students, staff and faculty recalled their last days before the lockdown.
“I remember going in to work the last week we were allowed on campus and it was eerie just how quickly things had changed. I got hired the week before the lockdown and this was my first job out of college. As we got closer to the lockdown, I remember there was a lot of uneasiness and anxiety about coming to work and COVID-19 in general, as well as the campus being empty. I remember specifically one morning walking to Building 1 and encountered students who were fake coughing and trying to get a reaction out of those around them. Aside from this experience, everyone else I met was serious about what was happening and took measures to ensure they were safe.”
“For me, I thought, ‘Well, this might be the last week I see everyone.’ So, I took the time to get to know the people around me one last time in case this was really the last time until I would get to see them again for a year or so. After class, I normally would be on my homework or studying in the library. But that week, I was like, ‘I’m just going to chill out, talk to people, get to know them a bit more and hug them one last time before hugs become taboo.’”
“One of the biggest things that stands out in my mind is that our office held our eighth annual Student Research, Scholarship and Creative Activities Conference on March 7, 2020. It was really weird because there was this feeling in the air. We were all kind of nervous about the future but not extremely nervous. We heard about the pandemic coming, but we didn’t know how bad it was going to be.”
“My mom’s birthday is March 11, and that was the day that Cal Poly Pomona announced that we were not going to have classes until after spring break or that that’s what they hoped for. I remember we were at dinner at a sushi place. It was me, my mom and my dad. The air felt so weird; it just didn’t feel normal. People knew that something was going to happen.”
“You didn’t know it was going to be your last day, did you? The Cal State system was going, ‘We’re not sure how we’re going to do this,’ and then it was, ‘No, it’s online.’ I kind of don’t remember my last day because I didn’t think of it. If you’re prepared for something, you go, ‘OK, this is your last day,’ but we didn’t know. One second I was there and the next second I was not, and I haven’t been back for one year.”
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