By Amaya Morales
Resident and commuter students alike question how FDU will proactively protect the health and safety of its community, especially in the case of a student or faculty member contracting the coronavirus.
While there has been a decline in new cases or infections in New Jersey, long-term predictions indicate that social distancing and wearing masks will be key in keeping rates down. There are still a lot of questions that need answers and FDU does not have them yet, making students’ worries even greater.
Via text, Roman Mioduszewski, a senior and a campus resident from Union, N.J., echoes what many students have been discussing among themselves. “I am really concerned that FDU doesn’t have a solid plan for [students] returning to campus. Since many places across the country are still closed, how are we going to adapt to that? And being an athlete, when we compete, we travel all over the place.”
Basic issues that have been in the daily news cycles across the country are also front and center before FDU reopens on Aug. 17.
Jade Silva, a senior and a commuter from Ridgefield Park, N.J., said via text, “My biggest concern is how FDU is going to incorporate social distancing within the classrooms without cutting class sizes … [and] how the classrooms will be kept clean.”
Questions submitted to Provost Gillian Small, Dean of Students Vidal Lopez, and Director of Metro Student Health Services April Quatrano were directed to Associate VP of Communications Angelo Carfagna.
“The [university COVID-19] task force is working on these testing plans and protocols as we speak. While we hope to have answers shortly, we are not quite there yet,” Carfagna told The Equinox on Monday, June 15, via email.
On June 18, New Jersey released a set of standards for universities and colleges to follow to reopen this fall. Universities are required to submit their plan to the state secretary of higher education’s office at least two weeks prior to returning to campus.
Additionally, the governors of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut released a travel advisory for visitors or residents returning to the tri-state area to quarantine for 14 days.
What Other Colleges Are Doing Before Reopening
As FDU considers plans regarding student safety, other schools like the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill already have a plan for those who have the virus and ways they will be protecting other students.
The chancellor of UNC-Chapel Hill discussed university plans on the CBS news program “60 minutes” on June 14, including the preventative measures the institution will take to ensure the safety and security of all students and faculty for the fall semester. The plan includes having two dorm buildings reserved for students who have to quarantine and limited occupancy in all classrooms, dining halls, and other facilities.
UNC said it will be tracking and tracing the virus, limiting gatherings, and requiring students and faculty to wear masks at all times.
Rutgers University, with multiple campuses in New Jersey, plans to open at 35% capacity this fall. The plan was revealed on Friday, June 26. in the “Returning to Rutgers” guide. Students and faculty members will be required to wear masks while on campus.
FDU students, faculty, and other workers understand these tempestuous times and the uncertainty, but many questions still linger.
Amy Moreno, an FDU senior and a commuter from Hawthorne, N.J., expressed her concerns via text: “It’s hard to know if we will be able to return to campus.”
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Art by Amaya Morales