By Naniyah McClain
Student Lifestyle Editor
The students of FDU have logged a year of online courses — talk about an anniversary nobody wants to celebrate.
During this period of isolation and remote instruction, Zoom is where a majority of campus events have happened.
The pandemic has caused a separation of students, faculty and staff, loosening the ties of community on campus: We have drifted apart over the months. We have lived in our bubbles — at home, taking no chances, or on-campus, by strict regulation.
“Despite students being allowed to come back on campus and live in the housing, due to the pandemic, the students are prohibited from leaving their dorms unless necessary,” Gissell Umana-Garcia, a junior communications major, said.
“There are no social events and meeting up with other students is discouraged. This is obviously saddening and takes away the entire experience of living in a college dorm.”
Students no doubt miss visiting their friends on campus, going to the gym, and going to the library at 11 p.m. during finals. These things aren’t happening now.
The rules and regulations for students to return to campus, released in July, gave students an insight into fall 2020, but not a clear view because the pandemic was constantly changing things and the future was hard to predict.
Now, looking toward the fall semester, those feelings — confusion, insecurity and frustration — return.
“I feel like this will be the new ‘norm’ for a while to come,” Elijah Woodard, a junior communications major, told The Equinox.
The vaccination process gives hope for a full return in the fall. But, as we have all learned this year, this pandemic is so unpredictable. Hopefully, we will be able to reunite and share our community face-to-face — masked, or unmasked, at a distance or not.
Right now, we are waiting for a new plan. Will that bring us unity? Will the plan include the rules and regulations that were followed by the perhaps 300 students on campus now, some of whom did not have the choice to live elsewhere?
The fall semester back was not without issues.
In October, a number of students and student-athletes reportedly attended an off-campus party in which nine attendees (four residents/five off-campus) subsequently tested positive for the virus, forcing some into quarantine and shutting down some athletic team’s activities.
That event is a prime example of a lack of unity that corrodes our community.
“The lack of unity also comes from students that don’t really adhere to the rules and regulations that are in place and still want to do their own thing,” Umana-Garcia said.
“Personally, I don’t want to be around students who don’t care about their health or the well-being of those around them,” said Woodard.
“I believe the campus is doing the best they can right now,” said Umana-Garcia.
“I feel like the University has done it’s part in making sure the campus is prepared to host students again,” said Woodard.
Umana-Garcia suggests FDU should implement supervisors in dorms and buildings around campus to create a sense of community that does not involve being aggressive about restrictions, social distancing, social gatherings, etc.
Woodard suggests FDU ensure that new standards are being enforced at all times and for students to be reprimanded if they do not comply with the standards. Woodard also suggests for the campus to create flyers to educate students, staff and faculty about how to stay safe, properly wear masks, washing hands, etc.
These students hope that their advice will influence others to follow the proper procedures in order to revive the campus life that we once knew.
Art by Naniyah McClain