Campus Viewpoints: One year since the pandemic began

With COVID-19 being a part of our lives for a year now, students and faculty at El Camino College didn’t know what was to come when the virus began to be talked about all over the world.

Students on campus had a set routine when it came to classes, clubs and other activities.

Dexter Washington via a zoom call, talking about his campus life before COVID-19.
Dexter Washington via a zoom call, talking about his campus life before and when hearing about COVID-19.

With 19-year-old Dexter Washington being home schooled his whole school life, he felt free and independent when going to El Camino.

Washington would spend up to 10 hours a week, Monday through Friday, on campus. Those 10 hours consisted of taking 16 units of classes and being a part of clubs.

“Campus life for me was one of the biggest changes possibly ever,” Washington said. “Up until college, I had never been to school for multiple hours.”

When Washington heard about the virus, he didn’t like where the situation was heading, knowing that things were going to change drastically.

“I was disappointed more than anything about going online again,” Washington said. “This whole freedom thing with going to school was so new and different for me that I was super into it.”

Baseball coach and kinesiology professor, Nathan Fernley, would spend up to 11 hours a day, six days a week on campus. His days consisted of two early morning health classes, online kinesiology classes, baseball practices and games.

“We started practice at 6 a.m., with classes starting at 7 a.m. for me,” Fernley said. “We then continued practice later on in the day until 4:30 to 5 p.m.”

Sports on campus were starting to cancel their events due to the rumbling of hearing a virus spreading worldwide and near campus.

The baseball team had just played a game against East Los Angeles College and on their way back to campus, had a talk about possibly having to stop their season abruptly.

The following day, Fernley had to let the team know that they were going to be taking two weeks off due to the circumstances happening with COVID-19.

“Looking back, we were thinking it would end in a couple of weeks,” Fernley said. “You would never think we would miss a whole semester or be in the spot we are in now.”

Samantha Medina via a zoom call, talking about campus life before and when hearing about COVID-19.
Samantha Medina via a zoom call, talking about campus life before and when hearing about COVID-19.

20-year-old Samantha Medina would take the bus to school or be dropped off. She was taking two First Year Experience (FYE) classes alongside two other classes and would only stay on campus as long as she needed.

While being in her humanities 1 class, Medina’s classmates and professor started to talk about how the school may be shut down and were then realizing how serious it was getting.

“A student asked if El Camino was going to shut down in class because other colleges were shutting down,” Medina said. “I remember thinking that our campus wouldn’t shut down because I didn’t think it would get to the point it is today.”

But when campus did shut down, Medina was actually happy about the two week “spring break” and felt excited about being able to stay home.

“I wasn’t worried about getting the virus at the moment, I just thought ‘no school, great,'” Medina said.

Although she did not know the seriousness of COVID-19 at the time, Medina just thought of it as the flu and that everything was going to go back to normal in no time.

“It’s not that I didn’t want to believe it, I just thought that it wouldn’t get too bad,” Medina said.

School shutting down was a difficult time for many students and professors, but those at El Camino College are still trying their best to stay safe so that they can return to school.

“Up until now, it hasn’t really set in that it’s been a years time,” Fernley said. “It’s always been ‘how do we help the students get back to where they love.’”