COVID-19 | February 8th, 2022
Professors Now Must Use Sick Days For COVID-19
By: Adrianne Harden
Florida A&M University’s new policy reportedly requires employees to use their sick days for quarantine. Many students and faculty are questioning what this means for professors that may have used some or even all of their sick days.
According to CDC data, Florida is leading the country in coronavirus cases. Florida health officials are even expecting a rise in cases within the next two weeks. The newly implemented rules are a bit concerning for students.
“I hope that FAMU rethinks this new rule for the safety of their students and their employees”
Jayda Miller, a junior elementary education student at FAMU, said that making employees use their sick days for quarantine is a careless decision — especially if they are low on sick days. “I hope that FAMU rethinks this new rule for the safety of their students and their employees. COVID-19 is not over, so I think that the university should stick to what they have been doing. Having class in person is already putting people at risk. This is not the time to start implementing new rules.”
On average, an employee will receive 7 sick days a year. The CDC‘s latest COVID-19 protocol is recommending five days of quarantine for the new Omicron variant, regardless of vaccination status. This means that if an employee is required to use their sick days and they happen to contract Omicron, they will only have 2 days left for the year after quarantining.
Chandra LaNier, a professor in the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication, said that the new rules are risky. “The university’s new rules are a bit concerning. I feel like if there are going to be any changes regarding COVID-19, there should be mask requirements set in place to keep everyone safe.”
According to the FAMU website, the university expects students to wear a mask and get vaccinated, but it is not required.
At Howard University, located In Washington D.C., coronavirus policies are implemented a bit differently. Howard University is now requiring students and staff to wear a face mask and to have both the vaccine and the booster.
“The American health system is out of date and universities are complex”
Universities are not the only institutions that are implementing alarming changes regarding COVID-19 employee policies. According to CNN Health, many Americans are starting to show up to work sick due to not being paid while quarantined.
Jeffrey Wilkinson, another professor in the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication, believes that the structure of the American health system is reflected in workplaces as well. “The new changes seem to be counterproductive. The American health system is out of date and universities are complex. Hopefully, they will rethink that policy.”
Other professors were asked for their opinion on the new changes, however, they asked to remain unnamed. The consensus of the anonymous professors was that the changes are a little worrying, but all they can do is encourage others to wear their masks and to continue social distancing while in the classroom.
Wesley Boone, a senior graphic communications student, said that encouraging his peers to be cautious is imperative with this new policy in place.
“As a student leader, I like to encourage others to get vaccinated and wear their mask so we can continue to have in-person classes and campus life,” he said. “We can not afford for these professors to get sick so I hope all my fellow rattlers continue to protect the ‘FAMULY.’”
With the second anniversary of COVID-19 hitting the United States, many feel as though there is a never-ending cycle of novel policies and rules not only in the workplace but in the country. As new variants continue to emerge every few months it seems as if this is the new reality for Americans.