Morgan students return for spring semester with new COVID protocols

On the first day of classes, students weigh in on what it means to return to campus.

Jah'I Selassie, Staff Writer

As winter break ends, students geared up for the spring semester beginning this Monday.

With newly implemented guidelines from the university, students are left to adjust to another new normal.

The first day back for students consisted of plenty of masked faces and new rules.

Students attempted to social distance in classrooms, but some rooms did not provide students with enough space to stay at least one chair space from each other.

In the University Student Center, students flocked to the newly opened Chick-fil-A to order their meals to go. For a brief period, the Canteen, student center food court, also closed its seating areas.

Several professors sported KN95 masks while lecturing, while others wore two cloth masks for extra protection against COVID-19.

Though students were excited to return to campus, some remain wary of possible COVID-19 outbreaks occurring within the student body.

Naima Patterson, freshman computer science major, is skeptical of Morgan’s plans to reopen following surges in positive cases from the Omicron variant.

“I’m excited, but I don’t really know how it’s [covid cases on campus] really going to be mandated. I know where I’m from in Prince George’s County they just shut schools down completely,” Patterson said.

She went on to explain that it is difficult to obtain COVID-19 tests in her area, as negative tests were required for students to return to university-managed housing.

“When I looked to get a rapid COVID test it [available appointments] was nowhere to be found. Even though I know that I’ll get it, I know I won’t be getting my results back on time,” she added.

The university health center expanded its COVID testing site last week to provide testing availability for faculty and students prior to the start of classes.

China Rose Riley, freshman multimedia journalism major, shares Patterson’s anxiety in returning to campus as the pandemic continues.

“I’m really excited [to return to campus], but at the same time with how quickly COVID-19 is spreading, it makes me very nervous because at this point, anybody can get it and anybody can have it and not a lot of stuff is being implemented at school.”, she explained.

While many students are excited to return to campus, some individuals are not in agreement with the decision to conduct in-person instruction.

Rashard Morgan, sophomore multiplatform production major, does not believe the university should be holding in person classes at this time.

“I know that the [positive covid] cases now are more than last year…So, I don’t know why they [campus administration] are still letting us on campus right now,” he said.

Although he believes in-person classes are currently a safety hazard, Morgan is glad the university offers classes with Morgan Flex, both online and in-person.

“I personally like it [Morgan Flex classes] because even though I’m on campus, like when the cases started to go up, I would do the virtual option. I would just stay at home. I would stay in my dorm and just go to class virtually and do the work,” he continued.

Kevin Banks, vice president of student affairs, briefly commented on the increased positive cases at Morgan at the end of the fall semester.

“As previously shared by President Wilson, COVID-19 cases have spiked across the nation due to the Omicron variant. Similarly, we also experienced a moderate uptick in COVID-19 cases on our campus just prior to the departure for the winter break,” Banks wrote.

He continued by emphasizing the requirement of every student to be tested for COVID-19 before returning to their university-managed housing.

“For those who fail to comply [with university COVID-19 protocols], you will be referred to the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities and risk forfeiting face to face instructions, housing, and other privileges for attending events on campus… don’t be an example, be a leader and help us “Protect the Cave”!” Banks added.