News | March 21st, 2020
COVID-19 Halts Freshman Year
By: Amiya Abner
Amidst the demands for social distancing, the blitz for anything antibacterial, the lack of food and essential paper products, anxieties of a looming global quarantine intensifies. Florida A&M University’s freshmen students are feeling truly ambivalent under the weight of how the coronavirus pandemic has changed their student lifestyle for the remainder of the spring semester.
Mass hysteria crawled through every corner of the world almost immediately Friday, March 13, after President Donald Trump declared an on-air national state of emergency regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 200 colleges and universities across the U.S. have closed in an effort to decrease the spread of the coronavirus.
It was stated through email Tuesday, March 17, that FAMU employees would be transitioning to temporary remote work beginning Wednesday, March 18, and remote instruction for students will be extended to the end of the semester.
FAMU President, Larry Robinson, sent a letter addressing the students, faculty, staff, and friends stating: “To prevent the spread of coronavirus and safeguard the health of our community, we will be conducting online and alternative instructional modes for the remainder of the spring semester.”
With this expeditious protocol, FAMU students express the difficulty of keeping up with all the potential changes regarding the remainder of the semester. Many are still grasping the idea of no longer being able to continue their studies in an on-campus, face-to-face lecture format.
“We were sent home for spring break with such little information pertaining to what was going to happen next, as far as being allowed back on campus or not,” said first-year Animal Science student, Kiara McCalsiter. “I understand that we’re having a very serious pandemic, but at the same time it’s saddening that the ‘best year of your life’ had to come to an end so quickly.”
Florida A&M is known for its notorious annual spring elections, greek probates, spring preview days, and a host of exclusive events that only happen during this semester. Students expressed how they felt discouraged to hear that these activities would no longer take place.
Freshman Political Science student Semera Wilson stated, “Having the semester end unexpectedly is disappointing because there were things I was really looking forward to, like spring campaign season and other campus events that only happen in the spring.”
For students like Junior Victor, a first-year Criminal Justice student who was admitted to FAMU in the spring semester expressed his frustration with the pandemic and how it interferes with his desired style of completing the remainder of his studies on campus. Victor poses a concern for students that may not have access to the appropriate resources to thrive in remote instruction.
“After I heard that we might not get to continue our classes on campus and that we would be switching online, I was happy at first, but then I realized that online might be a harder way to keep up with our assignments especially since I liked to spend most of my time completing my work in the computer lab that housing had provided for us,” Victor said.
Like Victor, many freshmen understand the cautionary measures the university has put in place, but having the rest of their year abruptly end is disheartening.
“The coronavirus is getting real serious and I knew at some point that if we all stayed on campus, we would have higher chances of getting it so I understand. At the same time, I really was looking forward to finishing this semester because this was my first time stepping foot on FAMU’s campus and now my freshman year is over,” he said.
While residence halls and the main dining hall are still open for students who need to remain on campus, parents and students are asked to return to campus between April 6 and May 2, to move out their belongings.
FAMU would like to kindly remind all students, faculty, staff, and families to carefully adhere to all health protocols and advisories for the benefit of each individual’s health and well-being. For more information about COVID-19, hours of operation for food services, university bookstore and Business Center services, as well as University Housing FAQs, stay proactive and consistent with checking your FAMU emails regularly for the remainder of the semester.