ECU students start classes, local business owners excited they’re back in town

National News

ECU students return to campus for in-person classes for the first time since spring of 2020. (Caroline Bowyer, WNCT photo)

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — East Carolina University students are back on campus and taking classes in person for the first time in more than a year.

The university started classes Monday. Many students told 9 On Your Side they’re excited to be back, and local business owners said they feel the same.

“We love Greenville,” said Matthew Scully, owner of The Scullery in Uptown Greenville. “We love ECU and it’s exciting to see things coming back to life and we want to keep it rolling.”

ECU’s campus is full of life again.

“It’s so exciting because I honestly haven’t been in the classroom since March of 2020,” said Kayce Dilday, a sophomore at ECU.

Many students are hopeful in-person instruction will last the whole year.

“I don’t know if I could do another round of online classes,” said Treasure Flake, an ECU freshman. “That is so hard.”

Students aren’t the only ones happy they’re back in Greenville.

“Every small business, especially us, we really do thrive when we have more students in town,” said Caroline Wright, who works at Uptown Nutrition.

Wright is also an ECU student. She said she wants students on campus for her sake and for the businesses’ sake.

“COVID did hit a lot of small businesses here downtown, everywhere in Greenville, so students being back definitely makes us excited,” she said.

Just down the road, Scully said he’s already seeing more foot traffic at The Scullery.

“We had a really great weekend here, a really good week with having a lot of families in town moving their kids in,” he said.

Scully said more students also means more potential employees.

“Having more opportunity to hire people,” he said. “It’s good to have more college students around because a lot of places, like ours, are having staffing issues.”

Even though Scully is excited, he said he’s also very aware of what could happen — another shutdown.

“We are worried,” he said. “But if anything, this year has given us confidence to know we can do anything.”

Scully said most of his employees are vaccinated and wearing masks on the job. He’s encouraging his customers to do the same to protect everyone from the virus.

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