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COVID spike leads Fayetteville State, Methodist to delay start of spring semester


Methodist University and Fayetteville State University are delaying the start of the spring semester because of the alarming spike in COVID-19 infections.

Fayetteville Technical Community College has announced that it will shift some operations temporarily online next week because of the recent surge in positive cases.

According to a Methodist University phone message, the school will delay the start of the semester for on-campus undergraduate students by one week until Jan. 18. All graduates and online programs will proceed as scheduled.

All Methodist University offices are expected to open Monday.

Residential and commuter students, faculty and staff who are coming to the Methodist campus this spring will be required to be tested for COVID-19, the university’s website states.

For additional information, Methodist students and staff are asked to refer to their Methodist email and visit www.methodist.edu

Fayetteville State University is also urging all students, faculty and staff to get vaccinated. Those who have been vaccinated should get booster shots, according to a statement released Tuesday by the school.

The college will begin classes a week later, on Jan. 19, rather than Wednesday, as previously planned, the university said.

The delay will “allow time to conduct re-entry testing for students, faculty and staff and establish (a) priority window for re-entry testing,” the statement said.

Through Jan. 18, the statement read, all staff members will be required to check into a “re-entry testing site at Seabrook Auditorium” prior to work.

From Monday until Jan. 19, residential students will have to complete a re-entry health screening and COVID-19 testing at the student center on campus.

From Monday through Jan. 19, all faculty members and commuter students are required to check-in at the re-entry testing sites at Seabrook Auditorium and the Student Health Center before reporting to work.

According to the statement, Fayetteville State is temporarily suspending visitation in residential dorms; attendance by fans and spectators at athletic games; use of rental facilities; and the hosting of large events. Due to indoor dining being stopped, the dining facilities will provide to-go options for students and staff.

Those students and employees who are not vaccinated must receive a weekly COVID-19 test, the statement said, while face coverings are mandatory for students, employees and visitors in the shared public spaces in all campus buildings.

Classes will begin as scheduled on Monday at Fayetteville Technical Community College, but some changes have been made because of the uptick in COVID cases.

According to a news release, some classes will be shifted online. Instructors will contact their students directly about this, so students should check their Blackboard account and reach out to their professors with any additional questions. 

Those classes serving students with Cumberland County Schools will continue to meet in person if originally scheduled as an in-school class, the release said.

Masking and social distancing will be required in all classes that meet in person. Masks must be worn properly indoors at all times, unless a person is alone in an enclosed room.

Fayetteville Tech supervisors may direct some employees to work from home as long as they are able to do so effectively and can document their tasks.

FTCC said it will re-evaluate the situation next week and inform employees and students no later than Thursday as to operational and testing plans for the following week of school.

Michael Futch covers Fayetteville and education for CityView TODAY. He can be reached at mfutch@cityviewnc.com. Have a news tip? Email news@CityViewTODAY.com.

COVID-19, Fayetteville State University, Methodist University, Fayetteville Technical Community College, online classes