Tatum: No indication campaign week will lead to more COVID cases

FAMU 2022 Election Class. Photo courtesy: @famuelections

Amid a global pandemic, Florida A&M University held its first in-person campaign season this month since the outbreak of the 2-year-old COVID-19. After a full week of festivities, will cases of COVID-19 increase on campus?

Although COVID-19 has already made its presence known all around the world, there has been a decrease in cases in Tallahassee during recent weeks.

According to the Tallahassee Democrat, Leon County Schools reported 68 self-reported COVID cases among students and staff within the past two weeks. A week prior, that number was 181 — a 62% decrease in just seven days.

Tanya Tatum, director of Student Health Services at FAMU, said cases of COVID-19 are decreasing on campus as well.

“At this time, we are seeing a significant decrease in the number of positive COVID-19 cases across Florida and Tallahassee,” Tatum said.  “We are also seeing a decrease in the numbers of persons being tested for COVID-19 on campus.”

“Given that background, no, we have not seen an increase in the number of cases since campaign week started and fewer students are being tested,” Tatum added.

Florida A&M University candidates Set Friday. Photo courtesy: Everlasting Decisions

Armani Jones, a third-year cardiopulmonary sciences major and the 23rd Mister FAMU-elect said during campaign week, he was confident that he and his peers took proper safety protocols to ensure their safety, as well as others.

“I trust that many of my peers took the precautions they needed before campaign week, whether it was getting vaccinated or wearing masks,” he said. “It was an initial concern, but I made sure my team and I took whatever precautions we could to make sure everyone was safe during their interactions with voters, campaigners, and myself.”

Although students like Jones may not have feared participating in the in-person campaign, there are students like Lindsey Larose who decided to support and participate from a distance because of the virus.

LaRose, a first-year social work student, said she was afraid to participate because she did not want to contract the virus.

“I was afraid to go to events throughout campaign week due to many students on campus not wearing masks,” she said. “I was worried about catching COVID during campaign week because there were a lot of events and many people were not taking extra precautions to prevent the spread of COVID. “

On a university level, the advice has not changed. It continues to encourage everyone to get vaccinated as the vaccines have proved to be very effective and safe.

The institution will continue to remind people to wear masks when in large crowds or indoors as recommended by the CDC, which changed its recommendation on Thursday when it said vaccinated people did not need to wear a mask indoors.