Student concerns over on-campus adjustments and safety precautions in response to COVID-19 were the focal-points of FSC’s first virtual Town Hall on Nov. 10.
Students were concerned about issues that they have noticed this semester when it came to face masks and COVID-19 testing.
“If someone is out mowing and they’re completely by themselves in the open air we’re not requiring that they wear a mask at that point,” Vice President of Finance Terry Dennis said. “It’s whenever you’re going to be in an interaction with other people and walking.”
In terms of faculty members and some refusals to wear masks during campus tours, administrators urge students to report those incidents when they see them.
Random on-campus testing is completely random, which is why there are some students that have been tested multiple times and others who have not been tested at all. If a student tests negative but has been in contact with someone who has COVID-19, they will quarantine for 14 days, as per the CDC guidelines.
“CDC guidelines on that, you can test negative, but that does not mean that you don’t have the virus about to start,” Dennis said. “Even if you’re testing negative, they still strongly recommend and require that you go through 14 days of quarantine. It’s actually a longer period than if you tested positive and you’re just waiting on the symptoms to go away.”
All students need to participate in contact-tracing when required to do so.
The COVID-19 Dashboard updates the student population about amount of COVID-19 cases at FSC. The updates typically occur on Monday and Wednesday. President Anne Kerr agreed that the Dashboard will now be updated three times a week – with the addition of Friday – and if there’s a large influx of cases, they will update the dashboard accordingly.
“If we have some kind of major spike – they say on Tuesday we had some kind of major spike that was detected – we could always, of course, do an off-cycle update as well,” Kerr said.
As for the safety of staff, professors will be able to teach remotely if they feel safer in doing so.
“All full-time faculty who requested remote teaching were granted that ability to do so,” Academic Provost Brad Hollingshead said.
There were some concerns over how the school will continue to follow FSCares protocol since it was announced that more students will come back next semester.
Freshmen students currently living in freshmen housing will most likely not have to move out of their current residential halls, but students living in non-traditional freshmen halls will move after Thanksgiving. Freshmen will receive boxes from their RAs and the school will move items for them.
In order to maintain safety in public eating areas such as Tutu’s, the school will provide additional outdoor seating.
Administrators also talked about the influx of Zoom bombings, stating that it is not an issue unique to FSC, and that students should make sure to have an administrator monitoring who is going into each meeting.
Director of Athletics Drew Howard reported that plans to continue sports in the spring semester were laid out earlier in the fall semester when the cases were “flat.”
“Now cases are going up, but hospitalizations are going down, so we’re really closely monitoring what’s happening in our area,” Howard said. “The SSC and NCAA were keeping a close eye on everything, and while we are planning to play sports in the spring, we are constantly watching that, and no formal, final decision really has to be made any time soon.”
It is still unsure whether intramurals will come back next semester, nor did Howard give an estimate of when students will be allowed to play intramurals again.
“When it is safe to do those things, we’ll continue to do those things,” Howard said.
Administration has also vowed to diversify campus staff and student population. The school sent out a survey to students and staff where results unanimously favored a more diverse campus student and staff population.
“That is a priority. How we go about doing that, that’s the tough part,” Diversity Officer Wilhelmina Tribble said. “The one thing that we do know is that that’s something that favorably looked upon mostly everybody on campus.”