EAST STROUDSBURG, Pa. — It's silent on the campus of East Stroudsburg University, but there is a buzz in the air.
The university announced plans to reopen the campus this fall.
"I think it's great. We can try to, now experience like, all right, see people again, meet new people, have some friends and continue on like making my goals and dreams come true. Stuff like that," said freshman Charlens Lapaix.
ESU switched to remote learning at the start of the pandemic. During the fall semester, most students worked virtually, while others were on a hybrid format.
The same can be said for this spring semester.
The university welcomed back nearly 300 students who opted to live in on-campus housing. There are around 100 in-person classes underway to help with student teaching, clinical placements, and internships.
Leon Finney is a junior. He says it's been difficult.
"It's been a struggle trying to keep up with work online. I play baseball for ESU and trying to keep up with work online and maintaining my scheduled. It's been difficult, but I've been making the most of it. I am excited to be back in person in the fall, just to have that experience, meeting students on campus. You can't get that experience back, so it will definitely be exciting to be back," said Finney.
Students appreciate all the university has done to keep them safe throughout this pandemic, but many are eager to get back inside the classroom.
"It's definitely going to make school a lot more interesting. It's kind of hard to pay attention when you're sitting in your room the whole time, and it's hard to learn," said freshman Jack Chapman.
ESU's plan for fall is to have most classes be in-person, where classrooms can accommodate social distancing protocols.
Hybrid options will still be available.
University officials tell Newswatch 16 part of the readiness to return ESU to a new normal is also based on COVID-19 vaccine distribution and the declining spread of the virus in this part of the Poconos.