SCAD students return to class

Published: Sep. 13, 2021 at 4:52 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Monday was the first day of classes for Savannah College of Art and Design students.

Some students told WTOC this week is off to a great start because they’ve missed in person learning due to the pandemic. But some local businesses say they have missed the students too.

“It’s really exciting because I haven’t had an in-person class in a year and a half,” said SCAD freshman Josh Dunn.

Two SCAD freshman say the pandemic has made learning tough because they haven’t been able to interact with their teachers or friends.

“Well, I started senior year online and I ended online too so those are kind of like rough times but it feels great because I met so many new friends,” said SCAD freshman Radha Shah.

“Being able to walk to class with your friends, get on the bus, do all this stuff, it’s not just wake up, brush your teeth and make the top half of yourself look presentable,” said Dunn.

SCAD students aren’t the only ones who are glad to be back. Businesses are already noticing a difference since this weekend.

Yatai co-owner Jonathan Tsoi says since SCAD students returned, traffic in and out of the business has increased. And this is the first week they’re able to return to normal business hours.

“Before SCAD came back and with tourist season still going on we didn’t have the time and ability to prep enough food for the evening shifts so we had to shut down between 2:30 and 5 Monday through Friday,” Tsoi said.

Yatai has only been open since last March. Like many local businesses, they struggled with COVID restrictions and staffing.

“With COVID happening last year, we were able to stay open because of SCAD.”

The co-owner says 95 percent of his front house staff are SCAD students so this is also the first week they took the hiring sign down.

“Our SCAD patrons are so important to us and we love them.”

Prior to classes starting, all students and staff were required to provide proof of being fully vaccinated or at least commit to weekly testing to help prevent possible COVID-19 outbreaks.

They say partially vaccinated or unvaccinated people who don’t get the required testing, won’t be allowed on SCAD property or in SCAD transportation.

The university says it will have several vaccination sites for students and staff who want to get the shot.

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