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FAMU begins to ease COVID restrictions as cases decline

Posted at 6:00 PM, Apr 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-01 18:00:11-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Thursday is the first time in more than two months that Florida A&M University will no longer be under a campus lockdown. A dip in positive COVID cases now means more freedom for students as the semester is coming a close.

"It's great seeing cases starting to decline," said FAMU Student Affairs VP Dr. William Hudson.

FAMU is now counting a percent positive below 1.5 percent for all students and staff. The university only reported eight students testing positive in March. Steady decreasing numbers are leading to a lift on the midnight campus-wide curfew. The school is also raising the allowed gatherings from 10 to 30 people. Dr. Hudson said the fight isn't over yet, though.

"We still have cautionary things we're looking at due to Spring Break and visitors. Not just for the state of Florida but the whole country," said Dr. Hudson.

Dr. Hudson said people are still asked to mask up, stay socially distant and be smart, by continuing to get tested if they have symptoms. Staff will still have staggered schedules. For people like Tia Huie, as a third-year Rattler, she's ready for more restrictions to be loosened.

Huie said she's happy the university decided to let all students return in person this fall.

"I know some people are hesitant but it does feel good to have some stuff return back to normal," said Huie.

A virtual town hall will be held next week to discuss specifics for the return to the classroom for both students and staff.

Florida State University students will also be returning to in-person classes this fall. FSU will begin the process this summer.

At Valdosta State University, Provost Dr. Bob Smith said they're not letting up.

"We've had to be very inventive during this period of time," said Dr. Smith. "We've obviously never approached something like this before."

VSU is still keeping mask guidelines and social distancing in place. They're also looking at lowered cases. The university has counted five positive cases from students in the last week of March. Now, they're looking forward to when CDC recommends more changes, with health top-of-mind.

"The safety of our students and faculty and staff is absolutely our highest priority," said Dr. Smith.