Not Worth the Risk: Why Some College Students Aren't Moving To Their Respective University
Florida College students are beginning to move into their dorms or off-campus housing. But some are choosing not to move due to Florida being dubbed a 'hotspot' for the coronavirus.
Gaurav Harshe is an international student who's getting his second master's degree from Florida State University. Fall 2020 will begin his first year in the program. But Harshe says he has reservations about moving from Colorado to Florida:
"Colorado's dealing with the coronavirus much better in my opinion, and I feel much more safer here than to move into Tallahassee, which will probably be a hotspot when other students from the state move in there from Central Florida and South Florida."
Harshe says he also received pressure from his family back in Mumbai to stay where he is:
"They were seeing the news that Florida's having an uptick in cases, and record-breaking cases. So they just warned me that, 'you are not going to move no matter what.'"
For now, Harshe is staying in Colorado and will be doing his classes and graduate assistantship remotely. Vincenza Berardo, with the Graduate Assistants Union at FSU, says that even the students who want to move to Tallahassee are facing problems:
"I heard from one graduate assistant who said that she and her husband were looking to purchase a house when they moved here but they couldn't. The houses are on the market for a day and then gone, and so they were having an incredibly hard time finding somewhere to live."
FSU students begin classes on August 24. The university has been preparing throughout the summer to handle the influx of fall students. It's developed a daily wellness check app for employees to use. It's also providing COVID-19 tests for students and staff. University President John Thrasher released this message online:
"We've been cleaning and sanitizing classrooms, residence halls, and other campus facilities, and we've been preparing a mix of face-to-face and remote learning classes."
FSU will require face coverings in all indoor facilities, and masks will be given out. Other universities have been developing plans as well. University of South Florida College of Public Health Dean Donna Petersen says signs around the Tampa campus will remind students to social distance and wear face coverings:
"Tells you what doorway to use for entrance and what doorway to use for [an] exit. Has decals on the ground for queuing at points of service."
She says face coverings are required indoors as well. Student-athletes and those living in residence halls will be required to get tested for COVID-19. A random sampling of students, faculty, and staff will also be tested. Paul Duncan is Senior Associate Dean at the University of Florida's Graduate School in Gainesville:
"Throughout the fall and subsequent semesters, we're establishing rules about physical distancing and mask-wearing, and things like that to make the campus as safe as it can reasonably be given the circumstances."
But the United Faculty of Florida's Executive Director Marshall Ogletree says even if universities do the best they can, students might not follow those guidelines when they're out in local communities:
"What happens after hours? That's to me one of the most difficult things around this because there isn't any real control over that."