After a year and a half of school events and a non-existent homecoming last year, most people don’t want to hear this, but – Florida A&M has to cancel the homecoming.
In the midst of a continuously growing pandemic with lives lost every day, is the fun – potentially damaging – really worth the life threatening?
Most of the students are excited to hear that this is happening, but the annual event is for alumni and their families to return to their alma mater to celebrate.
46,000 cases and 400 deaths were reported in Leon County in September with 3 million cases and 49,000 deaths statewide – not including alumni and supporters who live across the country – vaccinated or not .
North Carolina A&T, Spelman and Morehouse canceled their return home over the past month due to the severity of the ongoing pandemic. Due to the cancellation of their return by other universities, FAMU being the last to stand, may entice even more people to attend, thus increasing the chances of exposure.
As the first public HBCU, we must lead by example and ensure student safety. It can be considered irresponsible to host super spreaders.
FAMU could shut down the campus and classes will return remotely, delaying the hard work and progress the university is making, not to mention the money they have invested to operate in person during the pandemic.
For senior graduates, this can affect whether there will be a graduation ceremony in December and if there is one, how many tickets will be allowed for each student.
Safety precautions can be implemented, however, Governor Ron DeSantis prohibits public schools, including FAMU, from requiring mask warrants. Therefore, FAMU can only encourage the wearing of the mask, but in the land of the free this is not likely.
In the first home football game since returning to campus, unmasked students can be seen crammed like sardines in the stands. The same will apply to events like comedy show, step show, concerts and others.
This Friday, the Student Government Association held an in-person cheering rally at the Gaither Gymnasium where they announced rapper Lil Baby will be returning for the Coming Home gig with Moneybagg Yo with tickets sold – to students as well – For $ 65.
Both performers canceled their homecoming show which included Lil Durk in Florida State which was scheduled to take place the previous weekend. While their decision to pick Al Lawson was flattering, students got to see Baby in 2019 in exchange for a canned voucher, so why pay more? Call FAMU spoiled, but why didn’t they choose another artist?
Although the majority of current students are enthusiastic, the alumni and upper class students are curious as to why they decided to bring him back.
“I’m not really excited to see him for the second time and have to pay for a concert ticket,” said Kamari Carter, a fourth-year health sciences student. “I feel like the school is repetitive and lazy with its selection of artists.”
She has no plans to attend and would have liked to see artists such as: Baby Face Ray, Roddy Rich or NBA Youngboy, instead.
Whether there are mandatory events at school or not, party planners have already started rolling out their reunion week programming that features outside celebrities, increasing anticipation and, therefore, attracts a larger crowd.
Certainly, the party will continue – with or without the participation of the student government.
Students can benefit from sight COVID tests – both rapid and PCR – and vaccinations. The CDC recommends that anyone who has been in contact with a positive person self-quarantine for 10 days. With testing, the virus is not detected until at least six days after exposure, if it is contracted. On the positive side, the number of people vaccinated is increasing every day, but people are still dying at an alarming rate.
Will the university require a two-week quarantine afterwards? Should classes use distance learning as before? The emphasis is on the desire to regain that piece of normalcy, but are the long-term consequences taken into account?
If our illustrious institution feels that canceling the homecoming is too much, it could adopt a “hybrid” operation like Howard University. This would limit in-person events to students only with virtual events for alumni, but the football game will still be open to everyone.