By Nancy Sanchez-Diaz
Students are questioning the efficacy of FDU’s reopening plan.
President Christopher Capuano released FDU’s plan for reopening its New Jersey campuses in an email to students, staff, and faculty on July 20.
The plan introduced six main protocols for this coming fall:
- Physical (or social) distancing
- Screening, self-monitoring, and surveillance
- Reduced density in classrooms, residence halls, dining halls, and workplaces
- Personal protective gear such as protective masks in social and public settings, and maintaining appropriate personal hygiene
- Newly configured spaces and use protocols
- Training for students, staff, and faculty regarding COVID-19 measures and safeguards.
Despite the safety measures that will be set in place, the biggest concern among students is having to rely on others to do their part when returning back to campus.
“Seeing as how very few people are obeying the guidelines now, FDU’s guidelines for our return doesn’t really make me feel any safer,” said junior theatre major Juan Ramirez via text message.
Another student agreed.
“These guidelines are important to have, especially at the rate that this pandemic is going,” said senior graphic design major Rebecca Olowookere via text message. “But, truthfully, I think the safest bet is just for everyone to stay home.”
Other students, however, are worried about limited student services.
According to page 20 of the reopening plan, library resources will only be available for contactless pickup.
Students seeking assistance from the help desk will also have to schedule an appointment in advance, which may cause traffic and high demand.
“The limits placed on student services will undoubtedly make for a negative student experience,” junior psychology major Adam Matter said via text message. “But this is the best that FDU can do given the circumstances. If they were to fully open the library, I think people would heavily scrutinize this decision.”
While students will be allowed on the computers, seats will be spaced out to comply with social distancing standards, limiting the amount of computers available. Their usage will also be closely monitored.
Besides the library and computer lab, there are also concerns about dining.
“I am disappointed that our dining options have been limited, mostly because I do like to take advantage of my unlimited plan by primarily eating at the Student Union Building (SUB),” Matter said. “However, I understand that the buffet-style of the SUB dining hall is too much of a risk.”
While the reopening report promises precautionary measures for the fall, the overall health and safety of the FDU community heavily relies on everyone else upholding their end, which just doesn’t seem to be convincing enough for many students.
“We should have just moved everything online,” Ramirez said. “It would avoid the problems we are now forced to deal with and all the anxieties that we now have.”
There is the option to take all classes online but it only applies to immunocompromised students, according to page 15 of the report.
Even then, the change must be approved and will be judged based on the severity of a student’s health condition and the type of program that they are enrolled in.
“I am thankful that FDU is giving students the option to pursue their education in the safest way possible while also providing a true college experience worthy of our money,” Matter said. “At the end of the day, whether you’re a student or staff member, I am confident that FDU will not force us into situations we wouldn’t feel comfortable in. They are looking out for us.”
The 37-page guide is available in the form of a PDF file, which can be found on the FDU website.
Art by Nancy Sanchez Diaz.
Students voice concerns regarding campus reopening plan.