Students, professors respond to unusual first day back


The first day of classes looked different on Aug. 31 than in previous semesters. Posters on buildings reminded students of new health and safety precautions; desks in classrooms were spaced six feet apart; and fewer students on campus meant the school year began without the typical crowds and traffic jams.

Students and professors had mixed reactions to the abnormal first day proceedings. Some students were pleasantly surprised, such as Tia Larson, who told The Daily Universe, “I actually am having a way better time than I expected.”

BYU student Kenzie Koehle also said she was “just glad to be back” despite the weird first day.

Though most of the students who responded to The Daily Universe’s Instagram story confirmed they enjoyed their first day back at school, the BYU community still faced a unique set of challenges.

“It’s hard to juggle classes that are in so many different formats,” said BYU student Amie Dastrup.

History professor Christopher Jones tweeted he has “never been more anxious” despite having “over prepared for every scenario.”

Compliance with the university’s safety regulations seems to be somewhat spotty. BYU student Hannah Pugmire said, “Some people were being COVID conscious, others were being frustratingly careless.”

Another student, Dakota Sioux, told The Daily Universe his teacher wasn’t wearing a mask.

Law professor Brigham Daniels, however, reported seeing relatively high levels of compliance with safety measures. He tweeted that most of the students he saw on campus were wearing masks and staying spread out.

“Some students studying outside are not wearing masks but all are social distancing,” he wrote of the students near the law school.

Many students reported experiencing technical difficulties in their remote classes, including difficulty accessing class Zoom meetings and slow WiFi on campus or in their apartments.

One student, Elizabeth Boix, said, “My whole class period consisted of trying to fix technical difficulties.”

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