Critical Update: FMU COVID-19

Critical Update: FMU COVID-19

Date: October 11, 2020

To: University Community

From: President Jaffus Hardrick

Re: Critical Update: FMU COVID-19

fmu Front Gate

Greetings FMU family:

Over the past few days, Florida Memorial University (FMU) has been the subject of negative press and social media posts. These communications imply that the University has not been forthcoming about the status of COVID-19 on campus. It is not and never has been our intention to hide critical information from our University community. Please know that negative and inaccurate messaging is damaging to the University and hinders our ability to garner much-needed resources for our students.

The safety of our students, faculty, and staff has been and remains our top priority. Since activating the COVID-19 preparedness plan, FMU has engaged in contact tracing and isolation of individuals who have been exposed to known cases. The plan required the implementation of stringent protocols and procedures that are aligned and compliant with Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines. We also sent mass email updates, enhanced campus signage, implemented temperature checks at the Welcome Center and throughout campus buildings, and distributed personal protective equipment (PPE) to students, visitors, faculty, and staff. We created the www.fmuniv.edu/coronavirus portal to house the most up-to-date information and safety measures.

In preparation for the new academic year, we required students, faculty, and staff to undergo testing before returning to campus. Since the beginning of testing on July 16, the University, through its affiliates, has administered 1,405 tests to students, faculty, and staff. Of these, 81 tests were positive for COVID-19. In all cases, contact tracing was initiated, and the individuals who tested positive were isolated, either in their own home, in the identified campus isolation units, or through our off-campus arrangement with Miami-Dade County.

Unfortunately, in late September, we noticed a spike in positive cases that appeared to be related to a super spreader event off-campus. From this recent incident, we had a total of 69 students who tested positive and were isolated. Of the 69 cases, 61 of these students have completed the quarantine requirements. The remaining five students will complete their requirements on October 12. The University maintains an on-campus isolation program. We also utilize Miami-Dade County’s isolation program at local hotels that includes provided meals.

Each event causes us to revisit, and sometimes revise, our approach. The University is implementing the following additional measures within the next few days:

  • COVID-19 Dashboard that presents vital statistics in real-time;
  • Rapid Test – Test results given in 15 minutes. (Results for the current tests take up to 72 hours);
  • Campus-wide campaign: S.P.R.E.A.D Lion Pride, Stop COVID-19;
  • New Text Message Communications;
  • Enhanced mandatory student compliance requirements with corrective measures;
  • Presidential SPREAD Lion Pride listening sessions with University stakeholders;
  • Instituting an FMU COVID-19 Hotline; and
  • Hiring additional healthcare practitioners

During a meeting with local Health Department officials on Friday, they commended our leadership team for managing this matter according to CDC guidelines. We do understand that we must expand our communication efforts to the University family. As members of the Lion Pride, we all have a stake in keeping our University safe. We encourage you to revisit fmuniv.edu/coronavirus, use our testing resources, adhere to safety protocols and to SPREAD Lion Pride and Stop COVID-19! Also, if one of your peers tells you they have tested positive but are not quarantined in an isolation room because they didn’t let the University know, please contact your Residence Hall Coordinator immediately to address the situation. We are in this together.

Be safe and have a great week!

Dr. Jaffus Hardrick
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Recent developments surrounding COVID-19 have led my administration to expand our pandemic awareness efforts by launching “SPREAD Lion pride. Stop COVID-19!,” an ongoing multimedia campaign that will include branded content on the University’s social media, e-mail, and video platforms. The online home for this campaign is www.fmuniv.edu/coronavirus.
Since February, FMU has been transparent and aggressive about communicating its goals and intentions regarding the safety of the University family. Before the Governor declared a state of emergency, FMU has responded to the impending COVID-19 pandemic by transitioning to remote learning within three days, re-scheduling commencement exercises, and implementing measures to adhere to Centers for Disease Control guidelines. The University is consolidating those efforts into the “SPREAD Lion pride. Stop COVID-19!”, multimedia awareness campaign.

S.P.R.E.A.D. is an acronym for:

Our audience can anticipate timely content on COVID-19 awareness, CDC and Florida Department of Health tidbits, and messages from students and the University administration.

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