FAU Requires Students to Test for COVID-19

On Friday, December 18th, the Florida Atlantic University Department of Housing sent out a mass email requiring all students, whether new or returning, to submit a negative COVID-19 test result. The email also stated that the test results must be submitted by January 11, 2021.

Although FAU is doing this for the health of their students, many concerns have risen since 10:29 AM, Friday morning. I just had to know what the FAU student body thought of this new requirement, so I got in contact with some students to hear what they had to say about it.

“I kind of feel like I’m being violated a little. Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic I’ve always said I didn’t want to get tested because it just looked really scary and uncomfortable. Instead, I’ll just be safe, wear a good mask, social distance and wash my hands every time I step back into my crib.” 

“It’s almost like I’m being forced to take the vaccine. Is that going to be next? It honestly concerns me.”

“For me, I don’t mind it because I’ve been tested twice for my job. However, I can see where some students would not agree or approve of getting tested especially because it’s now required which means if you don’t get tested then what happens?” 

“It just makes me super uncomfortable. And what’s even more crazy is that even if all students living on campus are COVID negative, are we still not allowed to have guests? Are we still not allowed to visit our friends in the next residence hall? In my opinion, FAU is doing way too much for this, and not enough for racial issues.” 

“I’m just in awe because they are quick to fill or put two students in a studio “double” (a small space with no room dividers or doors except the bathroom) but have the campus apartments with four rooms (with doors and closed spaces) not filled and only have two students sharing an entire 4 room apartment. None of it makes sense.” 

From the interviews I conducted, the majority of the students were not in favor of being required to get tested in order to live on campus. This disapproval stems from fear and irrationality. Yes, there is logic behind getting tested but it brings frustration because the school has been asking and requiring a lot from students. This is not including state policies and requirements we also have to abide by. It seems as if FAU is just “doing too much”. Does that mean we also have to get tested every two weeks or every month? A student can submit a negative test result in January but who’s to say they won’t go out and catch COVID within that same week? So is this requirement even effective or necessary?

Either way, we know FAU Housing is the least considerate of all departments on campus (biased statement) so they could care less about how we feel about these requirements. Here’s the statement that proves it all.

Residential students who do not obtain clearance as noted above will have their access to the Recreation & Fitness Center and their residence hall/ student apartment disabled on January 11 at 9 am. They will be required to be tested at FAU SHS prior to access being re-activated.” FAU Housing Department.”

I personally cringed when I read the email in its entirety. I greatly despise the fact that we MUST get tested just to live on a campus where we can’t do anything. There are barely any events on campus, at least black student events. We can’t have any guests, not even from the neighboring residence hall. We can’t walk in or out of our dorms or apartments without being suffocated by a mask. UVA for example requires you to wear a mask when you get into the double doors, but here’s the catch! UVA is an outdoor apartment building meaning as soon as you step out of your assigned room or walk into those rusty double doors, you are outside with nature. No hallways. No crowded elevators, since the building is only 2 floors. No walls or rugs to hold the germs and bacteria. Students in residence halls with sand volleyball and bbq pits can’t go outside to enjoy a fun 1-on-1 game or grill. We are basically on lock down, especially for the students who abide by every one of these antagonizing rules. 

I asked my interviewees how they thought the future of FAU would go in terms of COVID-19 and here are some responses. 

“I hope it doesn’t escalate to where a vaccine will be required to live on campus. FAU has to understand that people do not get tested or take vaccines for so many reasons- reasons that matter.” 

“I’m not sure. By the looks of things, we’re not getting any freedom any time soon.” 

“I don’t know. I wish I had a better answer but things are so uncertain right now. Hopefully, things will get better and not worse.” says an anonymous student.

“I won’t be surprised if FAU does more stuff. I’m just glad I’m graduating very very soon.” 

“The future of FAU won’t look too good regarding COVID. I think students aren’t going to follow any of the guidelines and that’s going to make FAU go even harder with these rules.”

To no surprise, the majority are unsure of FAU’s future with COVID-19. Kareem made a good point when he said that if students aren’t following the rules, cases will increase, and FAU will have no choice but to stricken the guidelines on campus. On top of Canvas asking us to fill out the COVID-19 Wellness Check every single time we log-in (1+ times a day), these other rules will be even more of a burden, mostly on students if guidelines aren’t met.

I am looking forward to seeing how many students actually get tested and how many don’t. I know there are some students who are willing to risk their gym access and housing contract after speaking with some of them. Hopefully things only get better or at least more at ease in the Spring of 2021.

If you feel or think that your test may come out positive, I would not suggest waiting last minute to get tested or risking that housing contract!

If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, please call FAU Student Health Services at 561-297-3512. If you have any questions please contact Housing and Residential Education at housing@fau.edu or 561-297-2880. For the most updated information related to COVID-19 please visit http://www.fau.edu/coronavirus/

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