By Elizabeth Scalzo
The last update from FDU regarding the coronavirus was June 12. Before that, updates appeared weekly — if not more frequently.
Why did updates suddenly stop?
The pandemic is an emergency situation and must be treated as one. Time and time again, we are told “the task forces are working on plans,” which we commend. But, there are no updates. No official word. Students deserve to know.
For direction, we found The New Center for Higher Education Leadership (CHEL), which offers a twice-monthly newsletter to help institutions navigate this difficult time. The newsletter includes a number of in-depth categories such as strategic planning, faculty development and student success. It also promotes a webinar series that has resources for universities including one on crisis communication.
There are countless examples of universities that have plans posted on their websites and regular updates during this time of crisis. One of the most detailed website plans we’ve seen is from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. UNLV’s website is sorted by categories on how the school plans to reopen and answer any questions a student or parent may have.
Students at Florida Gulf Coast University can click weekly video updates from their president on the college’s coronavirus page.
Rutgers University has a detailed handbook on its website about returning to campus. The school updates students on a weekly basis on reopening plans.
Seton Hall, a private university, has not updated its main page, but updates its Frequently Asked Questions page as information becomes available. Seton Hall also offers resources for faculty, students and employees on its main coronavirus updates page.
The examples go on and on: Many other colleges and universities have appropriately and effectively communicated to their student body and staff.
FDU’s last missive was more than half a month ago, on June 12, and FDU students have questions that need answers. The lack of communication from the administration needs to be fixed.
The Equinox is reporting and will continue to work hard to fill the gaps, but we can only do so much when information is not being communicated to our reporters, and the most common answer is “The task forces are working on it.”
How long do these plans need to be worked on before they are ready?
New Jersey just released an important 10 category planning requirement for colleges and universities to follow and submit to the state secretary’s office at least two weeks prior to the scheduled reopening.
So, there is roughly a six-week period before (remote) classes start at FDU. If the plan is still to allow residents to move in when online classes begin, that means FDU only has four weeks to complete its plan to submit to the state secretary’s office.
That’s one month to have everything completed.
The Equinox promises to do what journalists do and do it as quickly and accurately as we can.
Art by Elizabeth Scalzo
No talking between FDU administration and students regarding COVID-19.