It’s been a busy and exciting first week of Fall 2020 at our FIU! With some of our students back on campus, and others learning remotely, our Panther family has successfully kicked off a new academic year with focus, determination and optimism.
In true Panther spirit, our students—and the entire university community—have stepped up to the challenges that have come our way in the last few months with the threat of COVID-19. I know it hasn’t been easy, but you have made it work, and for that I am very grateful.
This week I have been impressed with your discipline. You have shown personal responsibility and respect for your fellow Panthers and your behavior augurs well for the rest of the semester. As we go about our routines in the days and weeks ahead, we all must remain vigilant, mindful and responsible for our health and well-being and that of our families, friends and fellow Panthers.
Equity Action Initiative
While our focus this week has been on a successful start to our semester, we are mindful of the injustice, inequality and racism that continue to haunt minority and underrepresented communities in cities across America. Last Sunday, 29-year-old Jacob Blake was shot in the back by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, as his three young sons looked on.
Protests continue to erupt throughout the nation, and our country is at a crossroads. Can we do better? I believe that we can – that we must – and that’s why at our FIU, we have created the Equity Action Initiative project. The group reviewed and recommended initiatives that will enhance equality, dignity, inclusion and belonging, as we seek permanent reforms that will make our community and our world a better place. Soon, I will share our plan with you.
Today happens to be the 57th anniversary of the civil rights March on Washington, where Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech. As tens of thousands gather in Washington, DC today, let’s honor Dr. King’s legacy and continue to strive for justice, equality and inclusion.
Panthers Protecting Panthers
Just as each of us has a role to play in promoting inclusion and rooting out racism, we also have a responsibility to help stop the spread of COVID-19. That is why we have established our Panthers Protecting Panthers initiative. Our plan requires that everyone wear face coverings while on campus, stay at least six feet away from others and wash hands frequently. We must avoid gatherings and behave in ways consistent with what the health experts tell us helps avoid infection – on and off campus. Please be mindful that Miami-Dade County’s 10 p.m. curfew is still in place. You can visit FIU’s coronavirus website for additional information.
I’m pleased to report that 27,996 students and 7,106 faculty and staff have completed our Panthers Protecting Panthers course and more than 5,600 Panthers have used the P3 app to complete the safety screening questionnaire before arriving on campus.
We believe that all these measures taken together will help slow down the spread of the virus in our community. Students who do not comply with these protocols can expect consequences based on guidelines published by our Office of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity.
COVID-19 case page
You might also be interested to know we have created a COVID-19 case page to document university community cases that have been self-reported to the FIU COVID-19 Response Team.
Returning to school or work
FIU has also updated criteria for students and faculty/staff returning to campus after testing positive for COVID-19 to meet new Centers for Disease Control & Prevention guidelines.
FIU One Card
A valid FIU One Card will be your key to campus, as most buildings will be locked and only accessible by swiping the One Card. Consult the What’s Open section of the Panthers Protecting Panthers website or ShopFIU for One Card office hours of operation and additional information.
All fall events, including homecoming and faculty convocation, will be held virtually. Please look for additional information in the coming weeks.
Panthers, you have played an important role in a good first week to this new semester. It makes me more optimistic about your willingness to do what it takes to move forward safely with our Fall 2020. Stay the course, Panthers. Better days are ahead.
In the Panther spirit,
Mark B. Rosenberg