SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- San Jose State University welcomed back students to campus today for the start of the Fall semester.
While there was some anxiety over the looming threat of COVID-19, there was also plenty of excitement.
Under the hazy San Jose skies, you could feel the life back on the San Jose State University campus.
A week of welcome now underway as the Spartans return after more than 17 months of mostly virtual learning.
"It reminds me of coming Freshman year," Third-year student Kaitlyn Cullins said. "It's just fun seeing everyone and seeing my friends walk by."
San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo was one guest on hand for an official welcome back press conference that also featured SJSU President Mary Papazian.
"We are fired up to welcome Spartans back to town," San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said.
President Papazian called it one of the most anticipated fall semesters the school has ever seen.
But with the Delta Variant, there is still anxiety and a focus on safety.
"It is so great to be back here on campus," President Papazian said. "We have really good protocols in place and we've been sharing that across the campus. So we're confident we'll be able to do it safely and we will make whatever adjustments we need to make along the way."
One protocol is a vaccination mandate for students and staff to come on campus.
President Papazian tells us 95% of the group is fully vaccinated, everyone else has until September 30 to complete verification.
The school will also do randomized testing to try and identify any outbreaks that may occur to keep the campus open.
"We will do so in a way that is safe, that keeps health and safety at the forefront," President Papazian said. "While also looking to build the Spartan community that we so value and that we so love."
50% of students will be in-person, 15% hybrid and 35% still fully remote.
SJSU Athletes Irena Muradyan and Nick Starkel will be in person fully for the first time at SJSU.
They can't wait for the new year.
"I think everything will be fine and we will get back to our normal life," SJSU Tennis second-year athlete Irena Muradyan said.
"I think there holds a lot of power in being on a campus, going in a classroom, being around your fellow students and peers and mentors in person and we really value that here," SJSU Football graduate student Nick Starkel said.
All that's left to say is: Spartans, welcome back to campus.