LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Thousands of UNLV students returned to campus Tuesday for the spring semester. Despite a recent spike in COVID-19 cases and no vaccine mandate in place for students or staff, most were happy to be back.

There are still less people here with 40% of classes being held virtually.

Last semester there was a vaccine mandate, but lawmakers ruled it was only temporary, so there is no mandate this semester for students. Some students 8 News Now spoke with said it felt good to be back on campus and good to be out of the house. “Me and my family got the vaccine so i am all good on that,” student Kian Dayrit told 8 News Now. “If people don’t want to get it, that is fine it is up to them.”

Infectious disease expert and professor of epidemiology Brian Labus was back on campus in a virtual meeting Tuesday. The vaccine mandate is still in place for staff. “I am willing to teach in class, there is a risk there there is always going to be a risk,” Labus told 8 News Now. “By handling things appropriately with people vaccinated and wearing masks and all of those things we can hopefully mitigate the risks.”

Image: UNLV

One student who said she hopes for a student vaccine mandate to return appreciates efforts made by some staff. “One of my professors already threatened us that if we don’t wear our mask during an exam or we don’t wear it in class he will kick us out by the second time he warns us.”

The Board of Regents sent a letter to lawmakers las week pushing for a vaccine mandate, but now it is up to the Board of Health. No word on if or when that will happen.