Florida A&M University students returned to campus last Monday after a full year of distant learning.
Last year, COVID-19 impacted thousands of universities worldwide, including FAMU. This created a major shift around the globe. The new “norm” for students was isolation from others, finding a new way to learn and adopting new habits like wearing a mask.
Considering the tough conditions due to COVID-19, for many freshmen and sophomores, being back on campus was now a time to rekindle relationships, meet new people and develop social, educational and recreational opportunities. Some upperclassman had opposing views about campus life as they caused a major kerfuffle on campus believing that this could be the start of another pandemic coming in the near future.
Pensacola native Da’sire Richardson is exhilarated about being on campus as she comes in as a freshman.
“Getting the full HBCU experience is something that I’ve always dreamed of. I am happy to be able to live in my dorm, participate in upcoming events and expose myself to my culture. This week is going great for me. I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way,” she said.
For some students, walking on campus freely with no mask made them feel “alive” again, but for others not so much as they continued to take COVID-19 precautions.
Kimiya Watkins, a senior public relations major, wears her mask daily and thinks masks should be mandatory for the well-being of all students.
“There is no such thing as social distancing on campus. Classes are filled with students and keeping a six-foot distance is impossible. I am concerned about the health risk associated with being back on campus and this may have not been a well-thought-out plan,” she said.
The ongoing worries continue after finding out last Wednesday afternoon one student had been exposed to the coronavirus and is already quarantining for 14 days.
Stephanie Peters, a graduating senior business administration major, has concerns about COVID-19 numbers spiking.
“The idea of being back on campus sounds delightful, but I personally think students deserved the option to choose online or face-to-face learning. In a time like this, the most important thing is safety. It isn’t fair to people like me who feels unsafe. I would prefer to continue to learn virtually until the virus fully goes away. The mental stress I have over my safety while balancing classes is overwhelming,” she said.