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FRAMINGHAM – Framingham State University students returned to campus this past weekend, and start classes Wednesday.

Only about 20 percent of students will be living in dorms on campus, said the University.

And those residence halls will only be at 40% capacity, due to the pandemic.

About 15 percent of the University’s courses this semester are being offered in-person, versus 85 percent offered remotely, according to the University.

A total of 1,226 students are taking at least one course on campus, said University President F. Javier Cevallos.

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“As of now, we have a total of 52 faculty members and 158 staff working on campus. The remaining two-thirds of our employees will continue to work remotely,” said Cevallos.

Students, whether they live on or off campus, have been asked to sign a pledge in regards to the coronavirus.

Violating the pledge will result in consequences, said the univeristy.

“We cannot stress it enough, in order for us to remain open in this limited capacity, it will require everyone to carefully follow our safety guidelines,” said cevallos.

 No large gatherings are allowed by students on or off campus.

“The University will be strictly enforcing this policy and those in violation will face student conduct charges up to and including removal from campus,” said Cevallos.

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Students are required to “social distancing when around others,” and they are required to “Wearing your face coverings indoors at all times and outside when social distancing is not possible.”

 Students were told to practice “good hygiene by washing your hands regularly, sneezing or coughing into your elbow, and avoid touching your face.”

“We have done everything in our power to provide you with some semblance of a normal semester in the safest possible environment. Please don’t risk your health and the health of others by violating these rules,” said Cevallos.

The University said that “students in off-campus apartments are expected to follow the same rules.”

Framingham State University Police is “working closely with Framingham Police to monitor things. Students have been warned that the student code of conduct extends beyond our campus and that they will face consequences for actions that put members of the greater community at risk,” said the University’s spokesperson.

Below is the pledge. Students will be required to sign a copy of this agreement in my Framingham prior to returning to campus for fall semester.

Student Community Health Commitment

A personal commitment to protect the health and safety of our community Framingham State University (FSU) is relying upon the guidance and direction of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), local, state, and federal health and medical professionals in determining our repopulation and return to campus plans. One element of the return to campus plans is for each member of the University community who returns to campus to agree to a set of behaviors that will support keeping themselves, their peers, the faculty and staff, as well as the larger community at a lower risk for the spread or contraction of COVID-19. 

FSU recognizes that the current pandemic has disproportionally affected communities of color and economically disadvantaged areas, and thus as a public institution responsible for adhering to public health guidelines, we need to be particularly mindful of these facts. If at any time after you have voluntarily returned to campus and you feel uncomfortable remaining on campus, please reach out to the Dean of Students Office, Residence Life, or your Academic Dean’s office. We will listen and discuss your situation with you and assist you as you make the best decision for your academic success. Thank you for your commitment to protecting yourself, the university and local communities.

As a member of the FSU community, I AGREE to take active steps to protect the health and safety of every member of our community. Furthermore, I recognize my efforts will keep me and those with whom I live and learn safer and healthier. My success (personal, academic, and/or professional) is dependent on staying healthy and agreeing to shared behavioral changes that will help me and other members of the University and local community avoid illness. I AGREE to invite others to participate with me by reminding them of their responsibility to our greater community.


To Protect Myself/Others/Our Community, I Will:

Keep informed

 Read all University emails and monitor the FSU COVID Webpage to stay informed about health and safety updates or responses to COVID-19.
 Respond to messages from University staff or public health officials who may be checking on my well-being or otherwise need my assistance.
Hold myself and others accountable
 Demonstrate social responsibility by following public health guidelines on campus, in local businesses, public places, and on all public transportation. Show compassion, care and respect for other members of the community.

 Serve as an active bystander and commit to encouraging safe behavior in my peers, keeping each other accountable in a manner that is both respectful and productive, and reaching out for advice when in doubt.
 Be kind to others as we navigate how to do what is best for others and for ourselves. 
 Seek assistance from University and community staff or resources to support myself or other members of the community during this challenging time.
 Report any concerns regarding compliance to expectations outlined in this agreement via Residence Life staff, Community Standards Office, Dean of Students Office, or my Academic Dean’s Office.

Practice sanitation strategies
 Prepare and bring to campus a COVID-19 safety/cleaning kit that includes face coverings hand sanitizer, disinfectant and wipes, disposable gloves and zip lock bags for waste disposal.
 Carry hand sanitizer, an extra face covering, and cleaning wipes in my bag/backpack.

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Make sure I have back-up supplies.
 Wash my hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds frequently. Use hand sanitizer at times when soap and water are not available.
 Avoid touching my face, mouth, eyes or nose and sharing food, drink, utensils or similar items.
 Minimize touching surfaces in shared areas and keep my personal belongings and shared common spaces clean.

Practice social distancing
 Maintain appropriate social distancing, especially in classrooms, labs, or in any shared indoor spaces and avoid crowded rooms, elevators, busses, or off campus locations where social distancing is difficult.
 NOT host and or attend gatherings and parties where social distancing is not possible and remove myself from the gathering immediately upon a legal order from the Framingham Police Department, my local police department or FSU Police Department.
 Respect signs, barriers, and protocols intended to assure social distancing between community members and observe the posted public health modified occupancy limits.
 NOT guests to campus guests and understand that residence halls may only be entered by University staff/service providers and students assigned to live in that building.

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Wear face coverings
 Wear a face covering when in public and/or at social gatherings to avoid asymptomatic transmission and to normalize the behavior in our community. Including FSU buildings including but not limited to instructional spaces, offices, and common areas, public transportation, outside when six feet of social distancing cannot be maintained, or as directed by University or local/state health authorities.

Avoid traveling
 Limit leaving residence hall or home to attending in-person classes, tending to necessary university business, work, shopping and meal pick up, health care, outdoor activities, and other necessary university or personal business.
 Limit my own personal travel outside of Framingham and surrounding communities.
 Acknowledge that travel beyond the Boston/Metrowest area (except as required to commute to the campus for school or work), particularly out of state, may require me to follow additional public measures such as being in self-quarantine.

Conduct personal health monitoring
 Monitor myself for symptoms of COVID-19 daily and report to the Framingham State University Health Center or my Primary Care Provider (PCP) if I experience any COVID- 19 symptoms. 
 Stay home and promptly contact the FSU Health Center if I feel ill or after possible exposure to someone who is ill or has tested positive for COVID-19 and avoid close contact with others.

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Participate in testing
 Participate in testing and contact tracing as instructed to preserve community health.  If I have questions, I will contact FSU Health Center. 
 Take a viral test if I am experiencing  COVID-19 symptoms, or if I have been contacted and notified I was in close contact with someone who has tested positive.
 Communicate and work with the FSU Health Center if you have concerns about COVID19.
Place myself in isolation and quarantine if recommended
 Develop an isolation and quarantine plan before returning to campus and assemble a go-kit in case I need to be isolated or quarantined and cannot return home or to my room.
 Adhere to isolation and quarantine instructions if I test positive for COVID-19 or if I am exposed to someone who has tested positive.
Practice strategies to assist with contract tracing if needed
 Keep track of my activities and limit my social contacts to a core group of friends. This will help protect me and assist with exposure (contact) tracing. 
 Download and activate any required FSU approved public health applications and respond to calls or texts from contact tracers to enable tracking of the disease.
Understand things are regularly changing as we move into the semester
 Consider getting a flu vaccine when available during the fall semester.
 Understand that the University may additionally limit interactions if a spike in cases occurs on campus.

I understand COVID-19 is a highly contagious virus and it is possible to develop and contract the COVID-19 virus even if I follow all of the safety precautions above and those recommended by the CDC, local, state and federal health and medical professionals. I understand that although
the University is following the coronavirus guidelines issued by the CDC, Massachusetts Department of Public Health and other experts to reduce the spread of infection, I can never be completely shielded from all risk of illness caused by COVID-19 or other infections. 

By editor

Susan Petroni is the former editor for SOURCE. She is the founder of the former news site, which as of May 1, 2023, is now a self-publishing community bulletin board. The website no longer has a journalist but a webmaster.