We are fast approaching a new year, but COVID is still a fear in everyone’s mind. Last year with most classes online, student organizations had no other choice but to turn to platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams. While there are some on campus who have started gathering in-person, others are more cautious. This divide has raised the question of whether student organizations should be meeting in large groups.
FGCU’s COVID response for this year has consisted of encouraging students to get vaccinated, recommending masks, providing vaccine incentives, and random COVID testing opportunities. We fill out the Veoci app every day to not just make sure we’re good to go to class, but that we’re also good to attend things like club meetings and other events.
The CDC released new information regarding guidance for instructions of higher education on Nov. 1. They recommended that organizations take into consideration both the level of community transmission and COVID vaccination coverage.
Different student-run organizations are taking on COVID in various ways. Some are strongly encouraging masks and social distancing and adding a zoom component for those who cannot attend in-person, while others are taking advantage of the outdoor ‘loophole.’
“All of our meetings; whether it be general meetings, design committee meetings, steering committee meetings, or DSA monthly general meetings, have a zoom-in option,” Co-Chair of the Young Democratic Socialists of America Kaylee Dombrowski said.
Zoom allows people to join from wherever they are and neutralizes health and safety concerns. It is also convenient for those running on a busy schedule.
The CDC recommends wearing a face mask indoors regardless of vaccination status, but the virus is less likely to spread outdoors while socially distancing. Clubs that meet outside for sports and recreational activities can avoid wearing masks because of this.
“The sailing club does meet in large groups, but the meetings are not always mandatory, so we usually have about eight people at one meeting,” President of the Sailing Club Cheyenne Middleton said.
Since they are on the waterfront, they have more freedom to be spaced out and Middleton says they aren’t too concerned about COVID.
Greek life organizations are also handling COVID differently. Each individual chapter can decide how they will take on this pandemic.
“In Chi Omega, we are required to wear masks in all indoor society events and we space out whenever possible,” FGCU freshman Zorie Dworzanowski said. “It’s been pretty normal especially since we’ve been in person and not virtual.”
Even though some things have changed with COVID, students are extremely grateful that they still get to experience student life on campus amidst a worldwide pandemic.