University stresses ‘Protect the FAMUly’

FAMU’s Student Health Services building. Photo by Dynasty Williams

There is no doubt that back to school looks and feels a little different due to  COVID-19 restrictions. Many schools are opting for remote online instruction.

However, some universities, like Florida A&M,  have chosen to provide some in-person classes and they have had some compliance complications that have resulted in COVID-19 gathering violations among students off campus.

Those violations have prompted the release of new guidelines from FAMU including recommendations for arriving to campus for students. Several new guidelines, via email, from the Office of the Provost have been ushered in, just two days after classes had begun. 

Some universities have reported small COVID-19 outbreaks, like UNC-Chapel Hill and Notre Dame, and have even had to suspend their in-person classes, according to numerous news reports. 

“Many cases were contracted at off-campus events, like parties, school administrators there said,” according to a USA Today story.

The new recommendations include a nine-step guide and instructions on how to navigate the FAMU mobile app for self-health assessments. The guide also includes steps  for contacting health services and explains what should happen should you contract the coronavirus.

The nine-step guide includes required training, getting tested, receiving PPE kits, using COVID-19 self-checkers, maintaining appropriate distances, wearing face coverings and keeping hands clean. 

Using the COVID-19 self-checkers was a measure reinforced in the quick guide email. It also provided an example of what the “daily self checklist” looks like and the questions being asked. 

According to the email,“The FAMU community is strongly encouraged to commit to ‘Protect the FAMUly’ by observing and practicing protective measures, including self screening. Members of the university community are expected to use the self screening assessment at least once each day prior to arriving on campus or attending classes.”

In July, FAMUs initial COVID-19 testing done on student athletes found 12 positive tests of 65 that were taken. 

However, many colleges have reported an increase in positive COVID-19 tests, since the academic school year began last month.

“Across the United States, at least 36 states have reported positive cases at colleges and universities, adding more than 8,700 cases to the country’s tally,” said Madeline Holcombe, a reporter for CNN.

It’s unknown whether or not there have been any recently reported cases on FAMU’s campus. A reputable faculty member was contacted to provide a response, but they still have not provided answers. 

Tanya Tatum, director of Student Health Services at FAMU, provided her information in the email for any questions, and President Larry Robinson, left encouraging remarks. 

“We created ‘Protect the FAMUly’ to reinforce the message that all of us — faculty, students, staff, parents and alumni — are in this together,” Robinson said Tuesday during a news conference. “The fight against COVID-19 requires a collective approach. The health and safety of everyone remain our highest priorities.”