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Morgan kicks off semester with virtual campus events

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Alana Bynes-Richardson with The MSU Spokesman
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The university’s campus activities board and event administrators prepare to hold upcoming semester’s events under new COVID-19 guidelines.

Jah'I Selassie, The MSU Spokesman

Following numerous outbreaks of the omicron variant across the country, Morgan State University looks for a way to conduct campus events safely for students.

With students returning from winter break, members of the campus activities board and vice president of student affairs, Kevin Banks must adapt to new guidelines implemented by President David Wilson.

Banks explained events will be virtual for the first weeks of the semester to ensure the safety of all students and prevent any possible COVID-19 outbreak.

“We anticipate over the next two weeks that we’re going to see a lot of COVID tests positive because that’s what’s happening across the country,” Banks said.

He later said when events may be held in person again, events open to the public may require proof of vaccination and/or a negative COVID-19 test.

“There’d be some requirement that we make sure that you have negative tests, and you have your vaccine information on file. So, we’ll be looking at that as we plan, the first several weeks we’re going to be doing virtual events,” Banks added.

The university already set in place an indoor mask mandate for all campus buildings. In effort to assure students have access to masks, the university will provide KN95 masks on campus.

KN95 masks are high-quality face masks that are made with layers of high-tech filtering material and are recommended by the CDC.

KN95 masks will be available at the Center for the Built Environment and Infrastructure Studies (CBEIS,) University Student Center, Montebello Complex, and Earl G. Graves School of Business and Management from Monday to Friday.

According to Banks, 25,000 KN95 masks have already been ordered by the university to help combat outbreaks.

Banks said it is encouraged that students wear their KN95 masks to upcoming in-person campus events as facial coverings are required indoors across campus.

He also mentioned the possibility of the Office of Student Life lowering their maximum event occupancy to 50 percent to encourage social distancing, but it has not been finalized.

Chiziterem Chukwu, junior pre-professional therapy major, does not believe virtual events compare to in-person events.

“I feel like in person, that’s when everybody will show their own personal character and personalities. I don’t think it’s very realistic,” Chukwu said.

He compared the attendance of students at virtual events to that of online classes, where he feels that student interactions are lackluster.

“People don’t really communicate online; their cameras are off, if anyone wants to say something they just go to the chat, nobody will really interact,” Chukwu added.

Amparo Dixon and Sydney Smith, executive chair and vice chair of Morgan’s campus activities board (CAB) are adamant that upcoming events such as “Back to School Week” are carefully planned to ensure the safety of attendees.

“We follow the CDC guidelines for all events, we follow all protocols. As we are virtual for the first few weeks when we do pick up and have events you will still have to social distance,” Smith explained.

Dixon adds to Smith’s statement by emphasizing the importance of students enjoying themselves safely.

“If we didn’t think the event was safe, we wouldn’t have it, we want to make sure that you [students] know when everyone comes to these events, we’re here to have a good time but we’re also here to stay safe,” said Dixon.

The university will return to in-person campus events on February 21st.

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