Home / Health remains focus, concern at FGCU during move-in month

Health remains focus, concern at FGCU during move-in month

Reporter: Anika Henanger Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:

FGCU students and staff continue to return to campus as the start of the fall semester gets underway. A student has already tested positive for the coronavirus, and the university says an employee at the campus has too.

FGCU confirms a WGCU employee on its campus has tested positive for the coronavirus. The employee last stepped foot on the university campus Aug. 7.

Health remains a concern during the COVID-19 pandemic at FGCU, with approximately 15,000 students and 3,000 faculty and staff members returning to campus in August.

We spoke to FGCU President Mike Martin, staff, students and parents on campus Wednesday. Martin said he spent some of his day meeting and talking with parents and students about school and safety during the pandemic.

That starts with masks. Everyone’s must wear them if they are within six feet of someone else, and that will depend on the honor system to start, with discipline if necessary.

FGCU freshman Greg Batdham is moved into his dorm room and his classroom Wednesday.

“They switched my last class to online, so I’m totally online right now,” Batdham said. “But I would’ve been totally fine with going to in-person classes.”

Class online is the new normal at FCGU. It’s among ways the university is shifting to keep its entire student body and employees safe on campus.

Ruth Rodrigues, the FGCU director of emergency management, is coordinating that plan and told us it boils down to personal responsibility.

“I’d like to remind everyone, the university doesn’t have a dome around it,” Rodrigues said.

Martin said the university will do whatever it takes to keep employees, students and the community safe.

“Obviously, if there is a significant another spike that either affects us or we are affecting or both, we will have to rethink what we do,” Martin said.

That included shutting down campus for the rest of the school year.

For parents such as the Szeezils, they are happy to be moving in their freshman son. Their biggest concern is his upcoming “blend/flex course” where only half of the students get in-person-instruction. Their son is not one of them.

“Trying to learn chemistry online by yourself?” Wally Szeezil said.

“We’ll see how it goes, but we told him tutoring is an option,” Shellie Szeezil said.

And by yourself isn’t exactly an easy way for the new class to make new friends either.

“My biggest concerns are going to be socializing with people because, with everything going on and stuff, it’s going to be kind of hard,” Batdham said.

COVID-19 testing available on campus for students, procedures in place

No one at FGCYU has to leave to leave campus to get a test this fall. Students with symptoms can get tested here on campus all semester long.

We spoke to college mom Suzanna Rosacker, whose daughter is entering her freshman year at FGCU.

“I’s been a little crazy, needless to say,” Suzanna said.

Rosacker’s daughter, Lilly Rosacker, was getting moved in and ready to saying goodbye during the pandemic.

“It was nerve-wracking,” Lilly said.

Both mom and daughter told us they appreciate knowing what will happen if someone on campus tests positive for COVID-19.

Emergency director Rodrigues told us that means students would go into quarantine.

“If they needed other services such as a laptop or webcam to continue their academic studies, we would be able to provide that to them as well as food services or laundry,” Rodrigues said.

And it works the same way for an instructor. But would a whole class have to quarantine?

“That would be highly unlikely,” Rodrigues said.

To make sure students understand all of the new procedures, FGCU requires everyone take mandatory COVID-19 training.

“I think they’re gonna do everything they can like or sure, ike it’s as sanitary as its gonna get,” Lilly said.

“She’s smart about it,” Suzanna said. “She wears her mask. She’s very germ freaky anyway. I think she’d do OK, hopefully.”

That’s what every parent hopes for. The university has posted signs everywhere reminding students and staff to social distance and wear a mask.

Asymptomatic testing is available to students and staff for free on campus her for the next week during the return to campus.