Gerard Albert III, Joshua Ceballos, Tamica Jean-Charles/ PantherNOW Staff
After announcing that students who could go home, should go home, FIU Housing sent an email yesterday that ordered students to move out by this Friday, March 20.
All students are asked to make arrangements to move out by noon on Friday, March 20, 2020, unless you meet one of the following criteria:
- Unable to fly home because of flight restrictions
- You are part of the Fostering Panther Pride program
- You are essential personnel for Housing & Residential Life
- You have an extreme situation that prevents you from returning home, such as your own or someone’s health in your home
Students who already left campus to go back home will need to retrieve their belongings by Sunday, March 22.
“Residence halls’ front desk and building A will be open from 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. for you to retrieve your key. After removing your items, you need to return your key at your residence hall front desk or Building A if you live in University Apartments. You must also complete the on-line check-out form in the housing portal located in my.fiu.edu.” the email stated.
If students can’t return to pack up their things they can designate someone to do it for them or let housing staff pack and store their things for free until August.
“We’re doing this sooner rather than later because we don’t know what later looks like,” said Senior Director of Housing and Residential Life Andrew Naylor.
Naylor said he’s not sure if people will be able to come and get their things in the next few weeks, in case there is a shutdown of the state.
If none of the options mentioned on the email for picking up belongings work, Naylor said residents can email firstname.lastname@example.org and the office will work with them to figure out how best to deal with their stuff.
Some students have raised the question of a partial refund for the semester. If residents can’t come back to their dorms, they wonder if they should have to pay for this month.
Naylor said that no plans have solidified about refunds, but the topic is being discussed by the state.
“Those conversations are happening at the [State University System] level,” he said.
Senior math education major Jocelyn Velez flew back home to Georgia hours before the email was sent by housing. Now she has to drive back down to Florida to pick up her things from University Apartments by this weekend.
“The part that upset me the most is the fact they want us to do this so quickly. Now my mom has to miss a day of work cuz I have no other choice,” Velez said. “I don’t trust someone to pack all my stuff.”
Velez was doing an education internship teaching at a public school, but since the school system closed she’s had nothing to do.
“I wanna be a teacher and I got really attached to the kids so it kinda sucks,” she said.
Ke-ana Durham, a senior social work major, is staying on campus because she’s a part of Fostering Panther Pride, a program for students who are homeless or formerly in foster care. She’s worried because the people from her program who assist her are not on campus.
“I’m staying but I’m also extremely nervous because the liasons for my program aren’t on campus if needed,” she told PantherNOW in a WhatsApp message. “And since I graduate this semester they normally help with transitioning but I’m not sure that anyone will be of assistance with that.”
Danielle Tepsitch felt safe knowing she could stay on campus during the outbreak, out of fear of possibly putting her mom in danger. Now, after travelling to New Orleans for a conference, she returned to the email telling her to pack her things and move out.
“I will be moving out of Parkview on Friday officially, ending my senior year one month early and with no final goodbyes to my close friends,” said Tepsitch, a senior marketing major.
She says FIU has put her, and other on-campus students, in danger by reintroducing them into small spaces, such as elevators, where someone could potentially spread the virus.
The sudden decision also put Tepsitch’s roommates in a compromising position. One of her roommates already went back home to Tallahassee, but now might have to come back to get the rest of her things.
With the outbreak cutting her last semester short, Tepsitch is more worried than ever about what the future holds.
“It’s a sad time and the uncertainty of the future makes it worse,” said Tepsitch. “Usually when you graduate you have some certainty around you but at this moment the only thing I know now is that I won’t be returning to my campus and that my time in college has come to an end.”
This is an ongoing story and will be updated.
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