The shift from the designated code green to code yellow due to an increase of not only students testing positive, but the number of contacts accounted for from positive students, caused much concern from the student body. To quell concerns, the Fairfield University Student Association held a question and answer session for students regarding the color change and anything that popped up after a full month on campus.
FUSA President Vincent Gadioma and FUSA Vice President Tobenna Ugwu led the session with Karen Donoghue, vice president for student life, Susan Birge, associate vice president for health and wellness and director of counseling and psychological services, Will Johnson, Dean of Students and Todd Pelazza, director of public safety.
The first questions focused mostly on the reasoning behind the switch to a more severe code level. Birge stated that it was due to an increase in students testing positive and a reactionary increase in students coming into contact with the positive students. However, she mentioned that it isn’t much of a worry. “It’s actually a good thing that they are all mostly known sources,” Birge said.
At this new color, there are a number of mitigation strategies in place to fall back to code green.
The student guest policy has now changed so that students can only go inside or visit students within their own residence areas. For example, students living in Regis Hall can only visit other students living in Regis Hall, and students living in the Barnyard Manor townhouses can only visit students also living in the Barnyard Manor townhouses. Donoghue stated that this policy will be in place for at least seven days.
Johnson clarified a point about consequences for those not following guidelines, as apparently rumors have been spreading that the Dean of Students’ office has not been strict or swift enough on dealing with conduct issues. He stated that multiple students have indeed been removed from student housing. Going forward, consequences will be swift for those who are repeatedly caught disregarding guidelines.
Pelazza stated that the LiveSafe app, which students had to download to keep track of COVID-19 related symptoms, has been widely used by students. On average, the health verification survey gets 4,000 to 4,300 responses from students, faculty and staff, meaning that the majority of the Fairfield University community is utilizing the app.
He wants to also soothe concerns that public safety has been using the app to track students. The app can track your location if you go into settings and select “share my location always,” but it will only be activated if you notify the app of an emergency and ask for public safety to come to you.
The question and answer session lasted just under an hour and the entirety of the Zoom session was recorded. If students are interested in watching the session, the video is posted on FUSA’s YouTube channel.
All in all, FUSA believed this to be a successful and well-attended meeting, with 92 viewers. If students have further questions that the session didn’t answer, FUSA wishes for those with questions to email firstname.lastname@example.org, drop a comment in the FUSA Comment Box available on their Instagram (@fusa47) or attend a General Senate Meeting. The General Senate Meetings occur every other Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. and students can voice any opinions, concerns, ideas or suggestions. The next meeting will be held on Sept. 23.
“It is my sincere hope that students left the webinar feeling more informed and confident in the University’s plan to keep our campus open and safe,” said Gadioma.
Ugwu said, “the most important point I took away from the webinar is that we should not be alarmed by the new color code–instead, it gives us all something to work towards. If we continue to social distance, wear a mask and follow the standards set by the University, we can get the numbers down and return back to green. My greatest hope is for us to put in our best effort, as we are not only protecting our own health, but the health of our fellow Stags.”