UC Riverside students back on campus for fall quarter

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UC Riverside welcomed back thousands of students Thursday, Sept. 23, as the university kicked off its fall quarter with a large majority of courses returning to in-person classes.

UC Riverside students walk to classes Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021, as the fall quarter begins. Thursday marked the first day back on campus for in-person instruction after 18 months of online coursework. (Photo by Terry Pierson, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

UC Riverside students walk past the UCR letters in the quad on Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021, as the fall quarter begins with in-person instruction. (Photo by Terry Pierson, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

UC Riverside students returned to campus Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021, for the first day of the fall quarter. (Photo by Terry Pierson, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

A UC Riverside student rides a scooter past the North District Apartments on Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021, the first day of the fall quarter. Students returned to campus for instruction for the first time in 18 months. (Photo by Terry Pierson, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

Students walk to their cars in UC Riverside’s south parking lot after class on Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021. Following an 18-month educational experience that was almost all online, Thursday marked the return to campus for in-person classroom instruction as the fall quarter got underway. (Photo by Terry Pierson, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

UC Riverside students work in the Highlander Union Building on Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021, the first day of the fall quarter. (Photo by Terry Pierson, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

UC Riverside students returned to campus Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021, for the first day of the fall quarter. (Photo by Terry Pierson, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

A UC Riverside student rides a scooter by the UCR letters in the quad on Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021, the first day of instruction for the fall quarter. (Photo by Terry Pierson, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

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University officials are projecting an enrollment of 26,000 students, though they say they won’t know the total until later in the fall. More than 8,000 students are living on campus, thanks to the opening of new residence halls that boosted capacity.

Students returning to UCR after an 18-month shift to virtual learning are coming back “to a very different campus,” said university spokesperson John Warren, citing the completion of several construction projects during the coronavirus pandemic. Students also face vaccination, masking and coronavirus testing mandates.

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Warren said UCR is starting the quarter with a little more than 80% of courses being taught in the classroom. By winter, he said, that percentage is expected to approach 100%.

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