SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — More college students are back in class.

Classes started Wednesday at Augustana University.

A walk across campus usually doesn’t come with bell ringing, signs, and cheers.

But it did Wednesday morning for Augustana University students as administration, faculty, and staff lined the sidewalks to celebrate students who are kicking off the academic year.

Junior Sheldon Jensen is one the students who was on the receiving end of the warm welcome to campus.

“It was really nice to see that the administration was all in support. They do a great job for us students,” Augustana University Junior Sheldon Jensen said.

Wednesday’s event took the place of opening convocation.

“When we have cherished traditions at Augustana that we can’t do because of public health guidelines, we want to substitute it with something meaningful,” Augustana University President Stephanie Herseth Sandlin said.

Augustana University president Stephanie Herseth Sandlin rang the Eidsvaag Bell as students passed by.

Herseth Sandlin calls the semester historic, and says she’s optimistic.

“Our core values of community, of service in particular are going to come into play as we serve one another to ensure that the community can stay safe, stay healthy, we can provide an effective in-person, on-campus learning and living experience,” Herseth Sandlin said.

Jensen has been on campus for about a week now, and he’s excited to be here.

“I truly get the vibe that students understand what’s going on. They understand why we’re doing things the way we are, and they’re excited to be back and don’t want to leave. And I don’t want to leave either, so I’ll just keep wearing my mask,” Jensen said.

Augustana University is implementing its Viking Flex Plan this year, which incorporates both face-to-face learning and a virtual learning component.

You can read about the plan here.