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FAMU increases in-person class size for Spring semester

Posted at 6:24 PM, Oct 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-22 23:10:00-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — More classroom doors will be open for students and professors at Florida A&M University come spring.

FAMU announced Thursday afternoon it will be increasing in-person teaching for the spring semester, and not everyone agrees with this next step.

The University says slow COVID-19 numbers in students and faculty and campus mitigation measures were a major part of their decision.

Some faculty say they still think it's too soon.

Everyone returning must complete a COVID-19 evaluation and training for students that will take place online.

Return kits will be distributed for those returning to campus for the first time in 2021.

Meeting restrictions have been relaxed, allowing up to 30 people.

All residence halls will be allowed to open in the spring.

Face to face services for student services will also be increased.

Each department will report to the administration on staff that will be returning.

The president of FAMU Faculty, Dr. Roscoe Hightower, says he doesn't think it's the right move.

"We consider ourselves here at the university scientists and researchers, and we make decisions on data, and based on the data there is no clear indication as to how and why we're going to able to entertain a safe and healthy work environment," said Hightower.

The university says they are rising to the board of Governors' challenge to increase capacity in the spring, and their reopening plan allows them to adjust based on the environment on campus.

At last check, the university reports a total of 106 cases since August 1st.

"I think it's something we can handle," said Xavier Hammond, a freshman at Florida A&M University.

Hammond says increasing in-person classes in spring 2021 is something they've been working towards since the start of school.

"I think we've all been looking out for each other and making sure everybody else stays safe," said Hammond.

The school has slowly loosened restrictions, weeks ago increasing the gathering capacity from a max of 10 to 30 people.

FAMU President Larry Robinson says their task force gave them the green light.

"That task force has successfully developed and guided us through our reopening plans and has advised us appropriately when changes needed to occur and using good data and good science," Robinson said.

It's important to note there is not an exact number of students who will be allowed to return.

Virtual options will still be available for students and staff, including the first three days of the spring semester to give time for testing after the break.