Living With COVID-19 in the Shadows

By Amaya Morales

Managing Editor

Since returning to campus, FDU admin have been finding ways to tackle COVID-19 and protect the community.

To learn more, The Equinox reached out to Dr. Robert Pignatello, the new senior vice president for university operations, for a Zoom interview.

In the meeting, Pignatello discussed surveillance testing and vaccine exemptions.

Pignatello also referenced President Christopher Capuano’s recent email to the FDU community when discussing the vaccine and mask mandate.

In the email, Capuano said that the school is, “requiring the use of masks inside all buildings for both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals,” effective immediately.

There are protocols in place that students, faculty and visitors must abide by — one of them requires being vaccinated. 

FDU was one of the first schools in New Jersey to mandate the vaccine back in April.

Pignatello told The Equinox there are about 300 unvaccinated individuals between both campuses. These individuals had to apply to receive an exemption from the vaccine mandate. For others who have yet to get vaccinated, there was a deadline extension for the second dose by Sept. 20.

“It’s important to break the back of the virus, infection transmission and stop the creation of other variants,” said Dr. Pignatello, regarding the vaccination requirement.

Before COVID-19, a health and safety committee consisting of outside public health and medical officials from local and state governments, was established to study different aspects of the pandemic and monitor what’s going on. 

Compared to other schools in New Jersey, Pignatello believes that FDU has taken the pandemic seriously and will maintain the protocols put in place. 

“I think we have taken very strong, reasonable approaches to prevent [virtual learning] from happening,” Pignatello said. 

FDU will continue to clean common areas like classrooms and restrooms on a daily basis through its cleaning contractor.

“It’s important to remember here that… nobody can do this on their own. It takes all of us — the faculty, staff and students — to take personal responsibility for their own safety and the safety of everyone around them so that we can maintain a safe environment.” 

All FDU health and safety protocols for COVID-19 can be found here.

Watch the full interview here.

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Angelo Carfagna (top left), Managing Editor Amaya Morales (top right) speaking with senior vice president of university operations Robert Pignatello (center) via Zoom.