Being absent from campus during the fall semester brought about a challenge for many students which heightened their anticipation for reopening in the spring. Although many students look forward to returning to campus, others remain apprehensive.
After the school’s spring reopening plan was presented, some students said they felt safe about returning. Student leaders who work closely with university directors have said that although positive COVID-19 numbers are rising, the plan and procedures they implemented will protect all involved.
“FAMU has invested in many precautionary measures such as specific lighting in classrooms, to ventilation systems, to plexiglass, to temperature scanners and also making sure the classrooms aren’t densely populated. They’ve expanded the number of class sections offered so students feel comfortable to return. I feel that those students will be safe, we just have to play things by number. They have a contingency plan in case things get too bad to manage. I think the plan they have in place is to always keep students’ safety the utmost concern and the main priority,” student body president Xavier McClinton said.
According to Tanya Tatum, director of Student Health Services at FAMU, more temperature kiosks will be implemented in January, the start of the spring semester.
Kimani Jackson, Mr. FAMU, also believes that if FAMU and its students do their part everyone will be safe when the spring term unfolds.
“On a safety level I think it’s going to be so important that we do our part. We need to make sure that we are frequently getting tested and holding ourselves accountable. They can make a thousand regulations to try and keep us safe, but at the end of day it’s on us to do our part to make sure we keep our ‘FAMUly’ safe,” Jackson said.
As a COVID survivor himself, he stresses the importance of wearing a mask, frequently sanitizing hands and utilizing the campus’ testing site at Bragg Stadium. He, like many other students, is eager to return back to the “on-campus camaraderie” at his “illustrious HBCU.”
Although campus is on track to reopen, students who still remain uneasy are offered an online alternative.
“I’m cautiously optimistic. With Gov. DeSantis’ decision to open the state to pretty much full capacity, I think FAMU’s decision to still give students the option to either return to classes or take them online was the best decision. Many students are caught in between. Some want to go back to traditional learning because they are struggling with these online platforms, while others still don’t feel safe to return back to the classroom,” McClinton said.
Students not feeling safe is extremely important. Contrary to McClinton and Jackson, Nia Wromas, a junior social work student, doesn’t feel that reopening is safe due to the continual rise in COVID-19 cases and its potential rapid spread.
“For personal reasons I’m really excited for campus to be open — I’m a transfer student— I never really got the chance to get the on campus feel. But aside from my own personal reasons, however, I don’t think we should open campus up. Numbers are not going down and it’s going to spread,” Wromas said.
She believes that even if everyone “plays their part,” due to how widespread the virus is, it is bound to spread throughout campus.
Many students, although cautious, are hopeful that students will remain safe on campus. It is important to stay vigilant when students return to keep the “FAMUly” safe.