Florida A&M University (FAMU) President Larry Robinson, Ph.D., said in the face of the threat posed by the COVID-19 delta variant, the University expects students, faculty, and staff to get vaccinated and wear masks indoors to ensure a safe and successful fall semester.
“Our expectation for the fall semester is for all of our students, faculty, and staff to get vaccinated to not only protect yourselves and the people you love, but others as well, including this University. There is no reason for that not to happen,” Robinson said during a speech to faculty and staff Wednesday at the annual Faculty Preplanning Conference.
Robinson’s comments came before he issued a two-page letter to the FAMU community reiterating the expectation for the coming school year.
“Everyone at Florida A&M University has an obligation to the FAMULY to take steps to prevent further transmission of COVID-19,” Robinson said. “We are in this together, and we all have important roles in furthering our personal health and that of fellow students and colleagues. It is the right thing to do – and medical experts say that vaccinations and masking are two tools we can use to achieve these goals.”
The stepped-up messaging for mask wearing applies not only to students, faculty, and staff, but also to vendors, and visitors.
The campus is home to both free, no-appointment-required vaccination and test sites. Since it opened on April 25, 2020, the Bragg Memorial Stadium COVID-19 testing site has conducted more than 400,000 tests. The vaccination site, now located at 674 Gamble Street, offers the Pfizer and Moderna, two-shot vaccines, and the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
COVID-19 cases are surging because of the new delta variant, and the large numbers of unvaccinated people and other issues – setting new local and state records for hospitalizations. The FAMU School of Allied Health Sciences has loaned ventilators to Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare and Capital Regional Medical Center because of the surge in hospitalizations of critically ill patients. The University is offering up to $1 million in prizes to encourage students and employees to get vaccinated. Robinson lauded those who have already done so.
“I would be remiss if I fail to applaud those who are already vaccinated for taking this crucial step toward preventing the spread of the virus and for leading by example,” Robinson said.
“I am proud of the way our students, faculty and staff have persevered in the face of this unrelenting pandemic over the past year and half. It has brought a new, deeper meaning to our motto, “Excellence with Caring.”
But Robinson acknowledged there was more work to do.
“As we have witnessed, letting our guard down before the fight is over can lead to dire consequences,” he said in the two-page letter. “Safeguarding your health and the welfare of this great institution entrusted to us requires a continued commitment from each and every one of us.”