NORTH PHILADELPHIA - Move-in day at Temple University looks very different this year then in years past. Students must take a mandatory COVID-19 test and not everyone is happy about starting the new semester with in-person classes.
Some faculty members say it’s not safe amid the pandemic.
It was day one for freshmen on Temple University’s North Philadelphia campus. A day that’s normally all about excitement. But, Monday’s move-in seemed more about caution.
“Not going to parties, wearing my mask out, washing my hands and things like that. So, I am worried about myself, but I’m going to do the best that I can to stay as healthy as I can,” freshman Madeline Gillespie said.
Students arriving on campus were greeted by mandatory COVID-19 testing sites and signs throughout campus reinforcing the necessary precautions. As the freshmen were moving in, their parents were just trying to wrap their heads around the new normal.
“I mean, we’re definitely concerned. A little nervous about it. We’re hoping everything works out just fine. Hopefully everybody’s going to use the proper precautions and everything will be ok,” parent Jim Forry said.
The uncertainty of students and hope of parents did not reflect the feelings of a group of teachers who organized a caravan protest Monday morning. They drove around campus making sure their feelings of being disrespected were heard.
“We are protesting the fact that Temple is re-opening because we believe that it is unsafe, that people will get sick, people may die and Temple is putting money over the lives of people,” one teacher stated.
The administration explained they understand the concerns, but they say, students want to be on campus.
“Back in the summer, when we did surveys of our students, they told us, many of them want to come to campus, especially first year students. You know, they just graduated high school, they’ve been thinking about coming to college for years. They wanted to have some sort of in-person experience,” Temple spokesperson Ray Betzner commented.
Because of that, they believe their plan can accomplish the in-person experience in a responsible way, but they realize changes may have to happen as the semester evolves.
“We’re going to continue to monitor this situation. If we feel, after talking with the city, after talking with others that there is a change taking place and that this cannot continue in a safe way, we are ready to pivot and go to an all online experience,” Betzner added.
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