Students, parents, faculty and staff tuned into FAMU Housing’s virtual town hall on Wednesday as they got details on revised move-in procedures for the fall 2020 semester amidst the coronavirus outbreak. University housing staff told new Rattlers about changes they will see in the residence halls this school year.
Associate Director for University Housing Shawn Odom delivered the rundown for move-in day. Housing staff has decided to require face masks during the move-in process, as well as limit the number of guests to two to help students move-in. While it’s something different, Odom reinforced the need to keep everyone safe.
“That is a part of the safety plan that we have in place, and we ask for your support and cooperation,” he said. “This is a new process in every way. We know there will be some challenges along the way, and we’re asking you as a member of our community to come to campus with a little extra patience and understanding for our team and our fellow parents and students.”
Students were curious about what health and safety measures will be taken for residents in the residence halls. Assistant Director of Student Leadership Terence Turner briefed everyone on the procedures and prompted students to lend a hand in keeping everyone healthy, clean and safe.
“The university has been very intentional in how we’ve outlined the game plan to keep our residence halls as clean as possible,” he said. “There will be cleaning in the community areas on a consistent basis throughout the day. I would like to also challenge our residents who are coming to partner with us when it comes to those health and safety measures. We are going to be a community together. I really challenge everybody on the call to get excited about keeping your neighbor safe so that we can make the most of our time together in the fall.”
A question arose regarding the protocol of communication for non-positive residents once a student tests positive for COVID-19 in that same residence hall. The student who tested positive will be cared for appropriately, and if there was a roommate present, they will need to quarantine for a 10-day period, but there will be no major announcements of the event.
Tanya Tatum, director of Student Health Services, said FAMU is prepared to assist students who test positive for COVID-19.
“We will work with the student that tested positive and take care of them appropriately,” she said. “There’s no major announcement across the hall, so everybody’s not going to necessarily know. We will handle cleaning and disinfection appropriately, but one of the things that we want to do is make sure that we’re not disclosing confidential information, but at the same time protecting the well-being and the health and safety of all residents.”
Housing staff also reminded students that FAMU offers free COVID-19 testing at Bragg Memorial Stadium. Tatum informed the students on testing site hours and how seamless it is to get tested for the virus.
“The testing site is open Monday through Saturday,” she said. “We are testing up to 500 individuals every single day. It’s free. You don’t have to have symptoms, you don’t have to have a doctor’s prescription or anything, so we encourage students if they think they’ve been exposed or just want to know what their status is to come get tested.”
Many students are wondering if they will have a place to stay this fall since FAMU is only allowing one student to occupy a room to adhere to social distancing guidelines. CaSonia Martin, coordinator of assignments, reminded them to keep their computers close by while they await confirmation.
“An email will be sent out to all students on July 31 indicating if you have a housing assignment,” she said. “For those students on the waiting list, we are going to try to accommodate as many students as we can. However, it is no guarantee. You will also receive an email if we cannot accommodate you.”
Housing staff expressed their gratitude to parents and students for their patience and cooperation during this time. Tatum reminded everyone that they all are responsible for making this a successful school year.
“The efforts are on the part of everybody to make sure we can maintain being on campus throughout the semester,” Tatum said. “It’s going to take a lot of work and a lot of work on everybody’s part to make this happen.”
Turner is nothing short of excited about the upcoming semester.
“We look forward to seeing you in a few weeks,” he said. “We have plenty of questions to answer, but we want to make sure that everybody’s well informed and we can start the semester off on the right foot.”
All questions regarding move-in procedures can be sent to the housing department’s email at firstname.lastname@example.org