FAMU's COVID-19 Safeguards Include Quarantine; School Won't Say Where
Florida A&M University will place students who are exposed to the coronavirus in campus apartments but the school is mum about identifying which ones students will be placed in. Since the start of August. 14 students and nearly 20 staff members have tested positive for Covid-19. Two students have already been moved and placed in quarantine.
“Two students are currently living in the on-campus apartments and proper procedures have been done in order to maintain safety for the rest of the students living on campus,” said FAMU President Larry Robinson in a press conference with reporters earlier this week.
The university requires all students who are staying on campus to sign a form with guidelines and conditions. The form says “At any time, FAMU may request or require a resident to leave housing when that resident’s continued presence in the housing community poses a health or safety risk for community members.”
Kaih Jones, a freshman, says she’s fine with that.
“I am aware that we have to move out of our dorms if we contract the virus but I’m not sure where that is,” she said, questioning why the school won’t say where students will be staying.
FAMU Student Services Health Director Tanya Tatum says it’s to protect “the privacy of students.”
Tatum says the length of the quarantine period “depends on the situation, but students can stay in isolation for 10 to 14 days or maybe even longer. It all depends on the situation.”
While FAMU officials are silent on the location, former Resident Assistant Nakia Grant says students will be moved to Palmetto North, a dormitory that was scheduled to be torn down 4 years ago and also had a serious mold issue 3 years ago. The school reopened Palmetto North after experiencing a surge in new students at the time.
Andrew Skerritt, Assistant Director of FAMU Media Relations, says campus apartments, which include Palmetto North, meet state and federal safety regulations and are in good condition for students to reside in when necessary.
FAMU does not make Covid-19 testing mandatory due to Florida legal restrictions, but the school has launched a mobile app for students to use as a self-screening assessment. It says some 300 students have signed up so far.
Students, faculty, and staff are required to screen themselves once a day once each day, prior to going to campus and answer a series of questions about their health. The answers in the assessment will determine if they’re able to proceed to class or campus. Robinson, FAMU’s president, says about 85% of the school’s classes are being offered online.