July 28, 2021

Florida Gulf Coast University to Reconsider COVID-19 Restrictions On-Campus Amidst CDC Declarations

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By Eric Daugherty

Wednesday, Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU), a public Florida university, sent an email to students and faculty announcing that the university is reconsidering COVID-19 protocol on campus for the 2021 Fall semester.

The school currently has plans to reopen to pre-COVID operational capacity. Students would not be required to wear masks. It is unclear if FGCU will backtrack based on questioned Center for Disease Control and Management (CDC) guidance.

Parents are concerned that one year of college for students, at FGCU and across the state, was ruined because of school-level COVID restrictions. Classes were largely online and any in-person class was low capacity and socially distanced.

FGCU sent an email to most faculty explaining that a virtual town hall will be held on August 5th with FGCU leadership regarding a reconsideration of restrictions.

Florida’s Conservative Voice has obtained the letter that the State University System sent on July 27th, which read that “[they] strongly recommend that all students get vaccinated for the COVID-19 virus before arriving on campus.” The letter is signed by all State University System Presidents.

Many are hopeful the current reopening plan will remain in place, especially given rising vaccination totals across Florida.

FGCU does not require students to obtain the COVID-19 vaccine to engage in normal activities mask-free. However, they are strongly promoting social distancing and the vaccine with questionable phrasage as to the optionality of the vaccine.

One graphic on FGCU’s facebook reads “Rolling up my sleeve so I can… play ball with my friends at the URWC and keep everyone safe.” “#WingsUpVaxUp” is an emerging slogan at FGCU.

Students may still play sports at the FGCU University Recreation and Wellness Center (URWC) if they are unvaccinated against COVID-19. 

The reconsideration comes as the CDC backtracks on their recommendations. Critics of the new CDC guidance that recommends everyone wear masks indoors in high-transmission areas regardless of vaccination status point out that the evidence that was cited utilizes a study from India that used a non-U.S. authorized vaccine to study “breakthrough cases.” The study was rejected in the peer-review process initially.

At the time of publishing, FGCU has not announced any changes to COVID protocol in the Fall 2021 semester.

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