Vaccinations encouraged but not mandatory for returning employees.
Nearly 700 Florida A&M University faculty, students and staff tuned into a Return to Campus virtual town hall meeting hosted by President Larry Robinson, Ph.D., and the Senior Leadership Team Wednesday.
The one-hour event was held to discuss plans for when employees return to work on campus full-time on July 1. Many employees have been working remotely since spring 2020.
President Robinson lauded the efforts of members of the community as the University coped with an unprecedented health crisis.
“I am extremely proud of how you have handled the global pandemic and everything you have done within your power to limit the spread of the virus by wearing of masks, consistently washing your hands and sanitizing your spaces, as well as practicing social distancing,” Robinson told the virtual gathering. “The results of your positive actions have been a relatively low number of positive cases at FAMU, and we want to continue that trend as we prepare for pre-pandemic operations in the fall.”
As a show of appreciation for the employees’ hard work, Robinson recommended and the Board of Trustees approved a $2,000, one-time, merit, lump sum payment to faculty and staff. Those eligible for the payment are expected to see the funds in their June 18 paycheck.
“It’s our way of saying thank you for helping the University navigate through one its most difficult years ever,” Robinson told the audience.
Among the concerns raised by faculty and staff was whether vaccines were required for those returning to campus. Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer Rica Calhoun, chair of the Operational Continuity Task Force, said vaccines are not required for employees returning to campus, but the University is strongly encouraging faculty, students and staff to use the free vaccination site at the Al Lawson Jr. Multipurpose Center. The site is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
In anticipation of a full return to campus this summer and fall, plans are already in the works for Homecoming 2021 and the inaugural season in the Southwest Athletic Conference (SWAC).