Out of state students affected during pandemic

Residents told not to return to campus
Photo courtesy Famu.edu/housing

Here at Florida A&M University, out-of-state students have been affected the most as a result of the COVID – 19 (corona virus) Pandemic.

These students are stuck between a rock and a hard place due to stay-at-home orders from the government and orders to return home by the university. Cancelled flights and harsh travel restrictions make it even harder to maneuver across state lines in efforts to stop spreading the corona virus.

As things quickly progressed across the nation concerning the virus, students who returned home or decided to visit their favorite vacation spot during their spring break were left stranded after being “strongly encouraged” not to return to campus.

An email was sent out to all campus residents on April 2nd stating that all check-out appointments scheduled from April 3, 2020, and beyond are immediately canceled due to the stay-at-home executive order issued by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.  In addition all students who were already off campus were told not to return.

Second year information technology student and Georgia native William Tanner was scheduled to check out on April 6th but found himself in a sticky situation when he could no longer return for his belongings.

“It definitely puts me behind, because as an out of state student, I don’t have the luxury of driving up the road to get my things and check out at an earlier date,” said Tanner. “I have books that are still in my room to finish classes so I ended up having to purchase another one to finish out the semester.”

Students with extreme cases could request to stay on campus if they were already physically there but Davyn “Zen” Hutchinson was not able to return because he had already left during spring break.

Hutchinson lives in New York and believed that the residence halls would serve as a safe haven until he was told that all students had to evacuate the campus.

“Currently, I’m home in New York where the Corona Virus is at alarming heights,” said Hutchinson. “I’d prefer if I could have stayed on campus because it is safer than being home.”

The state of New York is currently being called the epicenter of the corona virus with the most confirmed cases in the United States.  A recent news article from The New York Times reported Tuesday, April 7th that there were 138,836 confirmed cases statewide and 5,489 deaths as a result of the virus.  Since then, the numbers have continued to rise.

Kimani Jackson is a rising fourth year student from New York who worries about his family and their health while stay at home orders are in full effect.

“It is hard out here for a New York Rattler,” said Jackson.  “It is so bad my father doesn’t want me to come home.  People connected to my family have passed, my sister and father haven’t left the house and honestly it has been a little overwhelming.”

Jackson is currently staying with his mother in Delaware because there are fewer confirmed cases in the state.

As of right now there is no set date as to when residents will be allowed to return to campus to collect their belongings and check out for the semester.