By Naniyah McClain
Member of Social Media Team and Staff Writer
Since the start of the COVID-19 quarantine, FDU students have been eager to know how the university will reopen for the fall semester.
President Christopher Capuano sent an email Tuesday, July 7, titled “President’s Update – Preparing for Fall 2020 Semester,” in which he writes that the university is following guidance from the New Jersey Secretary of Higher Education in following the restart standards required from each institution.
“There remain some uncertainties ahead, so we are preparing for different scenarios and, more importantly, we are depending on federal, state and other public health directives to guide us while anticipating that some of those directives may change as conditions warrant,” Capuano wrote in the president’s update.
“Still, we are determined to take reasonable and responsible measures to safeguard our community and, to the extent possible, limit the adverse impact of COVID-19 on the quality of the educational experience at FDU,” he said.
The university states that if there are no vaccines, developed therapies and protocols that “balance college life with what’s best for the health and safety of our community” by the time the campus reopens, the FDU community should practice physical (or social) distancing; screening and self-monitoring. The numbers of students will be reduced in different places on campus, along with mandatory mask-wearing in addition to training for the FDU community.
Students, faculty and staff are required to complete and report a self-screening before returning to campus. If COVID-19 symptoms are present, Student Health Services and Human Resources must be contacted. Students with COVID-19 will be isolated from other student residents. Students who may be at risk of contracting the virus will receive ongoing random testing. Hand sanitizer dispensers and plexiglass shields will be installed throughout the campus.
The university plans to begin remote learning on Monday, Aug. 17. In-person classes begin on Tuesday, Sept. 8, and the semester ends on Nov. 24, with final exams on Nov. 18-24. There will be no breaks in October, adhering to the same plans that were made in the university’s May 29 update.
“In addition, ending the fall semester earlier will enable us to offer a more robust winter session, allowing students to complete more meaningful internships, get ahead in their degree programs, and save money in the process,” said President Capuano.
According to state guidelines, after returning to campus on Sept. 8, classrooms, libraries and computer labs will practice social distancing, but academic advising and faculty office hours will mainly be conducted remotely.
Study-abroad programs are canceled for the fall 2020 semester.
How and Where Students Reside Will Look Different
The density of living spaces will be reduced. Game rooms, kitchens and fitness rooms will be closed. Laundry rooms will have a restricted maximum capacity.
According to the email, “Students can begin moving into dormitories when classes begin on August 17, as long as that is permissible under state and local directives at that time. Moving in will be conducted on an appointment basis, the details for which are forthcoming.”
Appropriate cleaning procedures will be made for the dining halls. Sneeze guards and plexiglass barriers will be in place. There will be pre-packaged grab-and-go options with extended hours. Food handlers are required to wear masks and gloves.
All recreation activities must be approved by the executives, the deans of students or a designated senior officer of the university. Due to the state of the pandemic, there is a possibility that on-campus recreation activities will be suspended until further notice. Many online activities will be created to give students the opportunity to communicate with each other.
FDU plans to resume its schedule of intercollegiate athletics. The online schedule is currently sadly empty as the university is waiting for the National Collegiate Athletic Association to make the decision of whether sports will/will not continue in Fall 2020.
The Equinox previously reported, there will be no tuition increase for the 2020-21 academic year. The cost of graduate programs also will be simplified and reduced in the fall.
After waiting three months for a statement to be made by the University, the FDU community welcomes a sampling of what it may be like to return to campus for fall 2020.
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Art By Elizabeth Scalzo
FDU reveals fall 2020 reopening plan.