Long Beach State has created an outdoor study area by the central quad to provide an area for students and staff to work at to avoid making trips between home and school.
CSULB administrations and Beach Building Services held several meetings reviewing COVID-19 restrictions from the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) and Long Beach Health Department to develop a safe workplace for students and staff, Iraida Venegas, assistant director of services at the university student union, said.
“There was still a need or a concern that we should have something available for students coming back to repopulate them,” Venegas said.
CSULB currently have more of their classes online than in-person despite the university reopening in August.
But unlike any school year, CSULB projected students taking hybrid classes might encounter crunch time given the small window to find a place with Wi-Fi reception then sign in to Zoom after leaving an in-person class.
“There was concern from faculty and staff that students that had like an in-person class but then had like 10-15 minutes to get to an online class,” Venegas said. “So that was another reason why this tent is here, to provide students the place to go between in-person or online class.”
Venegas, who oversees the space, recalls the faculty and staff express concerns during one of their meetings to provide services to students who need to attend online classes while on-campus.
The tent, also known as “Sandbox,” is 49 feet by 49 feet of open-air seating for up to 120 students with lighting, ADA accessibility, fans, and Wi-Fi.
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>.<a href=”https://twitter.com/CSULB?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@CSULB</a> Students looking to study outside without a mask on can do so under the pitched tent known as Beach Sandbox located at the Central Quad from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/daily49er?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#daily49er</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/daily49er?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@daily49er</a> <a href=”https://t.co/K5nm3Y31Dh”>pic.twitter.com/K5nm3Y31Dh</a></p>— Ulysses Leal Villa (@ulylealvilla) <a href=”https://twitter.com/ulylealvilla/status/1438594648323198994?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>September 16, 2021</a></blockquote> <script async src=”https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>
Students who want to study at the Sandbox only need to provide a green checkmark from the pre-screening questionnaire and a valid student ID.
“The library is getting packed and packed cause of online classes,” Maximus Lopez, a second-year biomedical engineering student, said. “So having something separate to go besides a building. I know there are options to stand or sit in the grass, but some people are not comfortable with that. So having a sturdy place allows people to study better and efficiently.”
As students walk across the Central Quad, the tall white tent may appear like a COVID-testing site, which has left some puzzled, such as fourth-year electrical engineering major Etisone Escamilla.
“I know it’s all white, but at the moment, it kind of refers to the tent down there with the COVID testing. So add a little color or spice, little orange or something, just to make it more friendly,” Escamilla said.
CSULB is continuing to track how many people are coming in per day, which will depend on whether a second Sandbox will be made.
“I know, it’s just set to be there for this semester. At least that was what we were informed. And so, you know, say things with the Delta variants get better. I mean, we’ll probably continue like that next semester. But the expectation is that we will be at full capacity with students in the spring semester. So we’ll see,” Venegas said.
The Sandbox is open from Monday to Thursday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.