With COVID-19 ending all social gatherings larger than 10 people, Tallahassee students have had difficulty enjoying the full extent of the college experience. For FAMU, this meant the indefinite end of Set Friday, football season, Homecoming and all in-person club and organization events — to name a few.
Extensive safety measures have been implemented to reduce the spread of the coronavirus among the student body and staff. Since March 1 to Sept. 2, only 45 positive coronavirus cases have been reported on FAMU’s campus, proving that the new regulations have been effective. The same cannot be said for Florida State, which has recently reported exceedingly high COVID cases on itscampus.
According to an article published by WCTV, on Sept. 8, there was a total of 839 students and 14 faculty members who had tested positive for COVID-19. With these numbers being so high, you might expect the campus to either enforce stricter safety measures to prevent further spreading of the virus or the subsequent closure of the campus.
Instead, Florida State students and fans geared up for the first football game of the season against Georgia Tech this past Saturday. Students hosted tailgate parties in which CDC guidelines were not followed and groups gathered with beyond 10 people. Masks were nowhere in sight and social distancing was not even a thought as fans cheered on the Florida State football team.
As of Sept. 15, the university dashboard reflected a rise with 1,230 students and 20 staff with COVID-19. FSU has recently announced that students who engage in on-campus activities will be randomly selected to be tested. But is that enough when the numbers are already so high? Should they have done more? At this point, testing should be mandatory.
Rather than allowing hundreds of football fans to gather without following CDC guidelines, FSU staff should have been more proactive about protecting its students, staff and the community around the campus. Cancelling the game or simply televising it would have been a better option.
In a statement to WCTV, FSU spokesman Dennis Schnittker said: “The university is also aware of current reports and social media posts, which include photos and videos, of large social gatherings occurring off campus.”
Knowing that students would gather in such large numbers and disregard the coronavirus as a threat to their safety and still allowing the game to proceed was a sign of bad leadership. It is a sign that the virus is not being taken seriously by many FSU students. Not only have cases risen on FSU’s campus, but in Leon County as a whole, endangering people outside of the student body.
With COVID-19 still rampant, students and staff should be more cautious and less reckless. The virus has not disappeared, and it won’t disappear until people start recognizing its severity — students included.