FAMU DRS to combat COVID

Photo courtesy of Katie Lepri via WLRN.org

Florida A&M University’s Developmental Research School is making strides towards resuming face-to-face instruction following a two-week switch to remote instruction for all DRS students and faculty amidst additional positive COVID-19 cases.

The FAMU Board of Trustees held a special meeting on Thursday in which FAMU’s College of Education Dean Allyson Watson provided an update on the school’s effect following COVID-19.

“On Monday, Sept. 20, 2020, the entire school district moved to remote learning due to two confirmed cases of COVID-19 on the campus, which resulted in 13 staff members and several students being quarantined,” said Watson.

If one teacher staff member has a positive case and that impacts people that they’ve come in contact with—even with safety precautions and wearing masks— they are still required a 14-day quarantine and responsible for making arrangements.

“And that’s why we decided and thought it was best to go to remote instruction for two weeks,” said Watson.

FAMU DRS currently has 634 students enrolled compared to last year’s 593 students. According to Watson, there are currently 460 remote learners and 174 hybrid and face-to-face.

According to Watson, FAMU DRS works closely with Tanya Tatum, director of the Bragg Memorial Stadium testing site, and in line with the Florida Department of Health on the matter of contact tracing. The entire leadership team underwent testing on Sept., 24, and are awaiting results. Thus far, all that have been reported are negative. 

As a result of the contact tracing, eight out of the 18 faculty were recommended for isolation, according to President Larry Robinson, who highlighted a lesson in the findings. 

“It really impacts the operations of a school— or any other business,” said Robinson. “So, trying to figure out how to manage people’s movements is still very important in this environment that we’re in.”

Robinson discussed the importance of tracing and acknowledged FAMU’s Operational and Continuity Task Force’s recent recommendation for a return to remote operation. 

Superintendent Johnson and his team are working seamlessly to follow CDC, Florida Department of Health, and local guidelines to safely sanitize the entire DRS campus while cultivating a reentry plan that accommodates face-to-face instruction, according to Watson.

“FAMU DRS administration will continue to monitor the distance-learning platform and continue to maintain a level of instruction and integrity for each student,” Watson said 

The proposed tentative return to campus is Monday, October 5, according to FAMU DRS Superintendent Micheal D. Johnson.