Before arriving at Florida State University, students didn’t quite know what they were getting themselves into. After the second week of classes, the students have gotten a pretty clear look at how the university has been dealing with this pandemic. With face-to-face classrooms limited to 25 to 50 people, many typical activities and classes online, and masks required throughout, the students here are looking at a different campus than they are used to.
The plan as of now for students is that no face-to-face classes will be held after Thanksgiving. This means anyone living on-campus will have to return home and finish the rest of their semester there. In terms of amenities, FSU has decided many will stay open, but with several modifications. The Leach Center, Fitness & Movement Clinic, Main Campus Fields, Westside Courts and the Rez Lakefront Park & Retreat Center remain open. All of these have limited hours and require masks. For the fitness centers, appointments are required along with a daily wellness check and all group classes are online or outside.
As far as coronavirus testing, testing is available by appointment at the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center. It was announced on Sep. 4 that the university will start randomized testing for students. This program will begin Sep. 14 and optional testing will be available through the Sep. 11. “The University’s goal is to test at least 5-10 [percent] of those who are on campus daily based on the average from the prior week,” according to Florida State University News. Any student or staff member who is involved in “on-campus activities” will receive a notification that they are to be tested on a Sunday and an appointment must be made by the following Tuesday.
The staff at FSU has been in contact with its students. For any FSU students, a message was announced from the president of the university, President Thrasher. In this message, he expressed his and FSU’s stance on the actions of the university’s students. He states, “Let me be perfectly clear: We will not tolerate any behavior that puts the health and safety of the campus or the Tallahassee community at risk. Consequences may include disciplinary probation, administrative action or suspension.” The university also alerted students of at least one positive case at the “former Alpha Tau Omega (ATO) fraternity house.” They recommended immediate testing and self-quarantining.
FSU is also finding new ways to keep the students committed to following COVID protocols. The University of Florida, the well-known rival of FSU, will be competing with students at Florida State to see who can get the most people to sign a pledge. According to Florida State University News, by signing this students “agree to follow public health guidelines, such as gathering only in small groups, proper social distancing, wearing masks or face coverings, and washing their hands frequently. Signees also commit to keeping the Tallahassee community in good health and recognizing their actions play a direct role in helping to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”
What’s at stake here? Nothing more than good old fashion bragging rights, and according to President Thrasher, we need those rights. He states, “Losing this competition is not an option. I know our students will rise to the challenge and sign the pledge, as well as practice healthy habits to stop the spread of the coronavirus.” Students have until 11:59 on Sep. 13 to sign. So, any FSU student who has yet to sign the pledge, sign it at pledgetlh.fsu.edu.
To all students, parents or just anyone reading this, remember to do your part. Wear your mask, stay socially distant and stay responsible. One day, FSU will return to a new normalcy and we all need to do our part to ensure it.