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Make SLO Your Backyard Classroom

Posted August 27, 2020

Students are excited to get back to school, hit the books and “Meet” with friends again. Sure, the school day might be a little different than before, but whether it’s distanced learning or in-person classes, things are safe in SLO. Whether you are a college student returning or a parent-turned-teacher looking for a change of distance learning scenery, we are #SLOready to provide you a place to breathe, explore and learn creatively.

But why let the kids have all the fun? In SLO, we celebrate lifelong learners and offer our town as your classroom! However all good classrooms must have rules, and in SLO ours are simple: wear a mask, practice physical distancing, don’t gather in groups, and have fun!

So in the true spirit of Cal Poly, we invite you to “Learn by Doing” in San Luis Obispo. Just follow the syllabus we have outlined for you below:


Head outside on one of the many hiking trails in the great outdoors for a little physical education. San Luis Obispo is full of green spaces where students can be distanced and responsible. These hiking trails and these panoramic vantage points are just the beginning of a good workout.


Dabbling in marine sciences this semester? Run your hand through the sand at the beach and dip into the water to convene with the Pacific. Or glide across the water on a kayak, SUP or canoe with SubSea and see marine life up close and personal. When your professor asks you about the migration patterns of the marine life out in the deep blue, hopefully you’ll remember more than just the relaxing moment of hearing the waves crash!
Are plants more your speed? Head to the Botanical Gardens to dig deeper into xylem, phloem, photosynthesis and all of the other topics that you’ll need to know for your exams. Just don’t get too distracted by the sweet smell of flowers that you’ll likely be able to smell even through your mask!


For a literature lesson, it’s not quite Walden Pond, but the green spaces and parks around SLO are perfect for some inspiration and reading time. Bring a book – maybe purchased at local Phoenix Books – and channel your inner Joan Didion or Jack Kerouac. Maybe you’ll start writing the next great American novel after breathing in the Central Coast air.


Looking to make the grade in your art class? SLOMA, the art museum, is not yet open for visits, but it has an extensive offering of online workshops to help students get ahead and practice their brushstrokes before midterms.

Heading back to school in these difficult times can still be exciting, and with the right attitude and a respect for the rules, every student can be poised to have a great semester.