How FAMU employees operate during COVID-19

FAMU employees rise to the challenge to keep others safe despite the pandemic. Photo courtesy

Florida A&M University has shifted its on-campus culture to online teaching for most students. For the employees, it’s a new world.

FAMU released a fall 2020 reopening plan for the university discussing the different procedures that are being enforced to protect the faculty, staff, students and community.

“Face coverings are required on University campuses. Faculty, staff, and students will receive ‘Return Kits,’ which include face coverings, hand sanitizer, and print materials. Sanitizer refill stations dispersed throughout campuses in buildings and offices. Visitors are required to wear face coverings. Disposable face coverings are available throughout campuses and for purchase,” FAMU said in a release.

“Faculty, staff, and students will undergo a COVID-19 training and education program before their return to campus.”

Kyla Abdelbain, a resident assistant in Young Hall, explains how her first year as a RA has changed and what she and the university are doing to keep safe.

Abdelbain was excited for her first year as an RA, because she had applied once before. She wanted to experience this opportunity to make an impact on her residents’ lives as her previous RAs did for her.

“In the midst of this pandemic it has changed the housing lifestyle dramatically,” Abdelbain said. “We are still trying our best every day to give students an exceptional student experience while taking all necessary safety precautions; like eliminating visitation and minimizing dorms from doubles to singles,” she said.

“Residents still found ways to connect with others within their residents’ halls and as an RA, I love to see that because it reassures us that they can still find friends even with the limited opportunities we have now,” she added.

The RAs are still conducting room inspections where they are wearing masks and asking the residents to step out of the room, practicing social distancing.

Housing has also implemented a curfew for 10 p.m. that the RAs have strictly enforced to make sure their residents are staying safe.

As far as RA safety protocols, they are required to get tested for COVID-19 every two weeks to ensure they are safe and not infecting others. They also clean the desk in between shifts along with enforcing mask wearing at all times.

“I plan to keep my residents safe by continuing to get tested every two weeks and limiting myself to the places I go outside of school,” Abdelbain said. “I also plan to keep my residents safe by encouraging my peers/fellow RAs to do the same. I hate to be that person to kill the vibe, but I will make sure my residents are following code of conduct regulations by not having any visitors and wearing a face mask every time they enter the building.”

While the housing community has one way of keeping its community safe, other communities on campus are operating a little differently.

Morgan Head, a FYE peer mentor, explains how she’s maneuvering through the semester as a mentor to the class of FAMU 2024.

“We are only allowed to meet with our mentees virtually as well as assist in SLS courses online,” Head said. “We have virtual meetings with our mentees being that we can’t meet with them in person. On the Zoom meetings we discuss upcoming assignments, encourage them to stay focused on their classes and express the importance of achieving a 4.0.”

Peer mentors before COVID-19 used to physically be in the SLS classes assisting the students in class and out.

Head hopes to have the same impact through the Zoom meetings that she could have had on campus.

In the fall 2020 reopening plan, FAMU said, “Faculty, staff and students returning to campus are expected to participate in daily self-screenings for COVID-19 symptoms and temperature checks before leaving home. High exposure workspaces may require additional temperature checks before entering the workplace.”

You can read more on how different university communities are operating during the COVID-19 pandemic on