Duck & Cover: FIU’s COVID Response

Nathan Nayor/Staff Writer

While watching the “Duck & Cover” instructional video for a class, I realized the painstaking similarity between the largely useless tactic and the US response to COVID-19 last year, which just so happens to be FIU’s response this year: “Let’s not put money into actual prevention, let’s put money into the illusion of safety!”

Similar to the lack of emphasis on nuclear bunkers for safety during the Cold War, FIU has made little effort to protect its students and faculty.  The enforcement of strict limitations on dorm residents while still having sports games available seems like a contradiction, especially noting how the institution’s highest reported infections amongst students was during football season.  Closing all but one kitchen in Panther Hall due to the actions of athletes in other buildings is very unfair, especially when we know who is causing the spread. Why could they not simply ensure those players were not having parties or cancel football season?  Was the revenue from a season doomed to fail from the start worth infecting students and faculty?  Students on campus have been partying like there is no tomorrow, which is to be expected from a college full of cooped-up young adults who want to socialize.  You can always expect one party per dormitory building per night.  

Having the pool open in the housing quad is also a terrible idea, as it is a very close space and people cannot swim with masks on, so they take them off.  Currently, FIU pushes to reopen midsummer before vaccines have been thoroughly distributed and at the risk of students who cannot acquire the vaccine. 

In my experience in FIU’s on-campus quarantine, the quarantine protocols on campus do not truly prevent spread, as there is no camera monitoring in University Apartments nor post-quarantine testing done to prevent spread during and after the prescribed 10 days.  A student would be better off self-quarantined in their own dorm where they already have all the necessary supplies to be comfortable instead of having to move and bring bedding, hygienic supplies and any other necessities.  

The only crucial difference is that the student’s OneCard is deactivated for the duration of the quarantine, but the student would still be able to go to any of the restaurants on 107 avenue and spread the virus there.  Furthermore, the mandatory testing FIU uses to monitor for COVID-19 tests for antibodies instead of RNA or similar tests, so a false positive can show up within a three month period after initial infection, wasting the student’s time and the university’s resources in quarantining a student who may not actually have the disease anymore.  

Possibly the most egregious action the university has committed is cancelling spring break under the pretense of travel increasing COVID cases.  Florida has been notorious for not enacting hard measures to prevent the spread of Coronavirus and misinformation.  With Miami being a popular tourist location.,COVID spread from travel was going to increase anyway, especially with an incompetent governor who cares more about allowing people to kill protestors than enforcing mask mandates. This is remarkably similar to how the US government told citizens that ducking and covering your head would keep you safe from the heat of a nuke instead of working to end the nuclear threat.  Remarkably similar to how the US government decided that the semantics of a space race is more important than assuring that the residents of the United States can be protected. 

The Coronavirus pandemic has been a terrifying threat for over a year now. To watch friends lose loved ones has been disheartening.  Florida and FIU’s responses to the pandemic are salt on a fresh wound that just may never close.  

A family watched the horizon for the mushroom clouds that never came.  When the bombs dropped, who knows how many of them would survive?  Who would rot away from radiation poisoning? Who would be incinerated at the blink of an eye?


The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of PantherNOW Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.

Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

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