Arianna Otero / Contributing Writer
FIU Students returned to campus on Jan. 10 following a winter break where Miami-Dade had a total of 210,367 reported COVID-19 cases–the highest since January 2021–according to New York Times statistics.
Despite university banners covering walls, chairs and tables, students crowded the hallways of the Modesto Maidique Campus (MMC) without wearing masks and disregarding social distancing.
“I’m good being back on campus…I hope we don’t go online and I think at one point we’re going to close because Omicron has gotten really bad,” said freshman Miriam Bosero. “But I hope it doesn’t.”
FIU administration encourages university students, staff and faculty to wear their masks indoors and offers vaccination sites at the Student Health Centers and FIU Clinic on campus. They urge students to use the P3 app, a symptom tracker, which is updated to align with current CDC guidelines.
The Panther Mover, Panther Express and CATS shuttles are still up and running and continue to display signs encouraging mask usage.
Dining locations on campus have reopened, including Panera, which opened on Jan. 10 for the first time since shutting down. Many locations have expanded their hours since last semester.
Sophomore Gabriela Hernandez-Trujillo was surprised FIU bagan the semester with in-person classes.
“I thought the semester was going to be online,” said Hernandez-Trujillo. “I think at the end of the semester, [classes] will have to go online due to COVID and all the new cases.”
Selin Gurdikyan, an international student studying biology, expressed her excitement for the new semester back in person.
“It’s amazing,” said Gurdikyan. “I missed being at school and seeing my teachers and classmates. I’m happy.”
Students await potential new guidelines and protocols with the changing health climate as the university monitors the situation.
Additional reporting provided by Maya Washburn.