Fordham’s Slow Start to the Spring Semester


New normal. Return to normal. Post-pandemic reality. These are all phrases that have been hanging over our heads since most of the country has returned to school or work which have since doubled in incidence as we entered the new year — the traditional period of fresh starts. With that in mind, it’s easy to see how the community’s priorities may have shifted, for the worse or better. 

The last editorial published by the staff of Volume 103 focused on the executive board’s question of whether The Fordham Ram spoke too much about the COVID-19 pandemic that semester. To that end, we here at the Volume 104 staff of the Fordham Ram are wondering this: is Fordham itself saying enough about the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Jan. 3, the Office of the Vice President for Administration sent students an email promising information on the university’s new policy for surveillance testing “in the coming weeks.” The next week, students received a message from the Office of the President stating that students should shortly expect details on Fordham’s new health and safety policies for the spring semester, “many of them new.”

As of Jan. 25, the only details given to students on the new health and safety policies are two emails sent on Jan. 20 and 21, from the Office of the Senior Vice President (SVP) for Student Affairs and the Office of the Vice President, respectively. These emails once again claimed that there would be surveillance testing on campus for this semester, but failed to provide any instructions regarding testing beyond the initial test to enter campus. Although they promised new rules, they only reiterated previous policies such as the mask mandate for community spaces on campus and the requirement of the booster vaccine. Perhaps controversially, it also reminded students that the spread of omicron in New York City had already peaked — something that’s difficult to accept for those of us on campus who remember Fordham’s campuses host students from 49 states and 87 countries, including California, who has only recently peaked and begun declining.

However, one thing we at the Ram haven’t seen from Fordham is communication regarding surveillance testing, as well as any meaningful changes to Fordham’s COVID-mitigating policies. Most of us on the editorial board have already been contact-traced within our first week of classes and note with trepidation that the email we received said that we were “strongly encouraged” to test, wording that doesn’t suggest it being mandatory. With the amount of students coming onto campus from states where omicron has only begun its spread, is it really safe to not require that students get tested after being exposed to COVID-19?

Similarly, despite assurances that The Marketplace would be offering to-go options for Fordham students due to the risk of transmission when eating, many students had not specifically been informed of the containers students are allowed to request from the cashiers, containers which run out more often than not.

As much as we’d like to have a fresh start to the semester and achieve the true “return to normal” that’s been dangled in front of us for the past few months, the lack of any substantial information from Fordham remains a concern. Are we still in enough danger to require stricter reminders of mask policy on campus and closing down the gym, or is the spread of omicron largely over? Can Fordham afford to keep students waiting for information on surveillance testing and contact-tracing procedures? With students eagerly attending classes, going to their jobs or internships and meeting up with their peers after a lengthy winter break, these are the kinds of questions Fordham can’t risk not answering.