On Tuesday, Florida A&M University’s, President Larry Robinson, held a virtual press conference to discuss the fall semester and how the university is handling the ongoing COVID-19 virus.
The nearly hour-long press conference allowed individuals to directly ask President Robinson questions, mostly in regards to COVID-19.
According to President Robinson as of Aug. 31, 8,972 students are currently enrolled for the fall semester. The university anticipated a 10 percent enrollment decline, but has only seen a 6.5 percent enrollment decline in comparison to fall 2019 numbers. He foresees numbers slightly increasing as some students are still enrolling.
“I think due to the hard work of our recruitment teams, that number [enrollment decline] is going to be less than what we thought back in July,” President Robinson said.
Transfer student enrollment has offset the slight decrease in enrollment of freshmen. Upperclassmen enrollment is holding firm according to President Robinson.
As far as staff, the university hasn’t seen a major decline in employees. President Robinson believes that is partly due to the work from home policy that the university implemented to ensure the safety of professors and administrators. Nearly 85 percent of classes are online, with only necessary classes being hosted in person.
Since the beginning of August, President Robinson reported that 20 employees and 14 students have tested positive for COVID-19. According to data curated from The New York Times and Wikipedia, Leon County has 6,320 cases as of Aug 31. However, the safety guidelines the university has implemented is to help keep the numbers low on campus.
Moderator of the press conference, Keith Miles, encouraged the use of the FAMU mobile app to allow students to do their part to keep each other safe.
“We are encouraging students to check in and use the self-assessment on the FAMU mobile app,” Miles said. “Nearly 300 students have done the self-assessment before coming on campus today. Every day it’s going up, as more students are finding out about the self-assessment on the app they’re using it.”
Another safety policy the university has implemented is the on-campus curfew. Monday through Friday students living on campus are to return to their residential halls by 10 p.m. and by midnight on the weekends. President Robinson says he hasn’t received any reports of curfew breaks so far. With Labor Day weekend approaching, President Robinson hopes students will continue to do their part.
“We’re really concerned about what might happen on this holiday weekend,” President Robinson said. “We have a shared responsibility. If this is going to work, it’s going to take all of us to make it work.”
The on-campus testing center at Bragg Stadium tests over 500 people per day, weather permitting. On behalf of the university, President Robinson encourages students to go get tested if they aren’t feeling well.
For more information on how the university is handling the COVID-19 pandemic, click the “Coronavirus Website” tab on the homepage of famu.edu.