Students not convinced it’s safe to return to campus

Photo courtesy FAMU News

Florida A&M University reinstated its curfew and canceled some sports for the spring due to the rise of COVID-19 cases in the community. Classes are still set to take place in person despite the increase of positive cases on campus, and some students dont think its safe just yet.

Hyflex classes will become the new normal for students at FAMU starting in the spring semester. This type of instruction is hybrid flexible and will allow the faculty member who is physically teaching in the classroom to instruct students face-to-face and remotely at the same time. COVID-19 cases are still increasing on campus yet the university is hopeful this type of instruction will be safe for students and staff.

Were monitoring the situation on a daily basis and making sure that we do everything we can to maximize safety,” Maurice Edington, the provost and vice president foracademic affairs, said.We are looking at CDC safety guidelines in terms of how we should set up the classroom environment, work environment, facilities …were going to continue to monitor the situation and be responsive to what we see.”

Some students are not convinced that this type of instruction is safe for anyone with the potential of the virus growing as the spring semester begins.

I really dont want to be on campus during a pandemic,” said Denaisha Williams, a philosophy major at FAMU. The university should wait until the nation declares we can continue as normal. New cases are being added everyday as we speak.”

A total of 286 cases of the COVID-19 virus have been reported at the university according to a FAMU dashboard that is updated weekly. The university has reported 69 positive cases of students and employees on Nov. 20 with 33 cases being reported in just one week at the beginning of the month. The state of Florida has just surpassed one million positive cases and the rise continues with daily reports in the thousands.

In reaction to this increase, the university implemented a campus curfew and opted out of some sports that were set to take place in the spring semester. FAMUs men’s basketball is one sport that has already started its season and hopes to continue as the team adjusts to the pandemic.

We noticed a significant increase in cases which is why we reinstated the curfew,” said Director of Health Services Tanya Tatum. That was in reaction to what we were actually seeing right now in this point of time. The cancellation of some of the sports didnt necessarily have to do with COVID. I dont want people to think that one is a direct result of the other.”

COVID has directly impacted the student life on campus including athletes who hoped to play this season. Regine Swanson is an architecture major at the university and is hesitant about jumping back into normal student life next semester.

I dont necessarily feel comfortable, especially considering that COVID cases are going up everywhere around the state,” said Swanson. I kind of want to see people again, but I dont think I will go to the games. It doesnt feel safe to me.”