FAMU needed to take more COVID-19 precautions during homecoming

Students Participating in FAMUs homecoming Pep Rally. Photo Courtesy: FAMU’s Facebook Page

Florida A&M University had their 2021 homecoming celebrations at the end of October, and now many of their students are experiencing flu-like symptoms preventing them from returning to campus.

Homecoming is a time for celebration between students, alumni and supporters. FAMU’s homecoming tradition is big to all its supporters, but this year’s homecoming has led many people to feeling ill after having a blast at events on and around campus last week.

Tanya Tatum, FAMU’s Director of Student Health Services, spoke with the Tallahassee Democrat earlier in the week and informed them that FAMU had 102 positive flu cases on campus just this past Wednesday.

This is not a surprise. FAMU did require their students to wear a mask to indoor events. But students, alumni, and supporters gathered in masses on the campus grounds for outdoor events, and many times there were no masks in sight.

Lakya McQuitery, a senior Psychology major at FAMU, said that she recalls seeing FAMU personnel turning students around if they did not have a mask during an indoor event.

“In terms of guidelines that FAMU put in place, the only thing I remember was mandatory masks for certain events,” said McQuitery. “At the comedy show, people were turned around if they did not have a mask.”

FAMU recommended that everyone in participation at their events wear a mask to prevent illnesses, especially in the height of the pandemic. FAMU is also a huge advocate for vaccinations for both the flu and COVID-19 to help prevent severe illnesses.

Tatum told the Tallahassee Democrat that students at FAMU have low vaccination rates for both COVID-19 and influenza. However, this is a crucial time to get tested for the flu and to consider getting the vaccine to help stay healthy.

Jade Patterson, a graduating public relations major at FAMU, says she has been feeling sick and believes that FAMU could have done more to prevent the spread of illnesses during homecoming season.

“Way more could have been done,” said Patterson. “There were so many people from out of town that came for homecoming. And we are still in the middle of the pandemic at the end of the day, however homecoming did take place amid flu season and a weather change,” she says.

Patterson said she had to get tested for both COVID-19 and the flu; However, both of her tests came back negative but she’s still very sick.

As the Thanksgiving break approaches, students should take precautions while they enjoy time away from studies. The CDC suggests that everyone should get vaccinated each year for the flu, avoid people who are sick, cover their cough and wash their hands.

More information regarding ways to healthy during the flu season can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/actions-prevent-flu.htm.