FDU Town Hall Answers Students Questions

 By Naniyah McClain

Social Media Team Member and Staff Writer

The FDU community learned what student programming, classes and campus life will look like this fall during a virtual town hall meeting on July 23. 

The meeting was to discuss the details surrounding the finalized plan for the fall semester, which was released on July 20 and answer student questions.

Some 172 students and faculty members who were able to privately send their questions in the chat box attended the virtual meeting. 

The facilitators of this meeting were: President Christopher Capuano; Craig Morton, office of disability services representative; Steve Nelson, metropolitan campus executive; Luke Schulthesis, vice president of enrollment, planning & effectiveness; Gillian Small, university provost and vice president for academic affairs; Vidal Lopez, dean of students;  and Juhi Bhatt, associate dean of student conduct & community standards.

The meeting began with a brief slide show of plans for Fall 2020 followed by questions from students privately sent to Craig Morton in the chat. 

“What we are doing on campus is like a social psychology experiment where everyone has a role and that role mainly is to make sure that you understand the rules and help us enforce those rules,” Capuano said. 

In accordance with the NJ executive order No. 155, school must resume with higher safety standards. The university plans to partner with public health experts (who have not been named) to advise and assist FDU in policy plans and protocols. 

“Some classes will be referred to as a ‘hybrid model,’ where half of the class will come in-person on Monday while the rest of the class will use technology to join that class or do some other work assigned by the faculty member. On Thursday, students will switch,” Small said. 

Gillian Small mentioned tools that can be utilized for this are Zoom rooms, where cameras are installed in the front and back of every classroom along with built-in microphones to allow students who are home or in their dorms to have a full view of the classroom and instructor. 

Students will be responsible for checking Webadvisor to see if changes have been made to their classes’ schedules or rooms because new living quarters will be available to separate students who may have contacted the virus, rooms will be switched around. The university will be providing sanitizing supplies to clean and disinfect desks, chairs and/or lab spaces. 

“There will be enhanced cleaning of common and high touch areas, using an EPA registered sanitizing product,” Morton said. The restart plan will include installing enhanced HVAC filtration and fresh air augmentation systems. 

Daily self-screening tests will be done by both students and faculty using the app, CampusClear. Students must be tested 72 hours before returning to campus. However, students from states that fall within New Jersey’s required quarantine status can choose either to quarantine at home or in their residential halls for 14 days in lieu of testing.

For housing, triple rooms will be reduced to doubles and residents will not be allowed to go into residence halls that are not their own. Students are still allowed to leave campus for the weekend, but must make sure to follow safety procedures

“We have to police our own spaces on the campus,” Capuano said. 

President Capuano mentioned that if someone of the FDU community is not wearing a mask the proper way or at all, it is important to inform them. If that person does not follow the rules, you must call the public safely to take care of the situation. 

There will not be any indoor events on campus. There will be no self service in the dining halls. Packaged options, limited indoor seating, and Grubhub dollars are dining options available for students. Students will also be able to use an app (that has not been fully mentioned) to order from dining halls. 

Here are a few questions from the chat box that Craig Morton answered: 

Will international students be able to take online courses?

  • International students are allowed to take online courses, but the university is doing everything we can to get international students back on campus.

Will residents be able to have separate microwave units in their dorms?

  • Students will receive information about micro fridges (which will be displayed in the housing packets in the next few days). The university will have all-in-one microfridges that students will be able to rent and use in their rooms.

How will visitor restrictions be enforced?

  • Students must politely ask students who don’t belong in their residence halls to leave. Residential assistants and Public Safety can be notified if rules are not followed. 

If a student in one room contracts the virus will the student’s roommate have to quarantine with the student?

  • The students will be allowed to isolate together but if conditions get worse, they will be placed in a quarantine unit.

When will financial packets be released?

  • Financial packets have been released. The university is making sure that financial statements are being updated. Please contact the financial aid office, they will be more than happy to walk families through the process.

Will nurses be available after hours?

  • Yes, nurses will be available. Students will be given a number to contact if they feel any symptoms.

Will commuters be monitored, especially those who travel by public transportation?

  • Yes, commuters will be monitored/tested just like resident students.

Will nursing majors be able to return to campus while completing hospital internships?

  • Yes, nursing majors are allowed to return to campus. Nursing majors will be closely monitored.

The university has set plans that will be implemented during the fall semester. While they have been made, the facilitators mentioned that guidelines are subject to change. 

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Art by Elizabeth Scalzo.

FDU town hall reveals what campus will truly be like this fall.