Parent of Valdosta State University student concerned about dorm safety

Updated: Jul. 28, 2020 at 11:28 PM EDT
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VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - A parent of a Valdosta State University (VSU) student is concerned over the school’s plans for student living.

On Tuesday, VSU held a virtual town hall meeting where the school addressed some of those concerns.

“The reason I am likely to send him back is because he is young. He is likely, if he gets it, he will get better quickly but there is going to be somebody on some campus that doesn’t feel well and what if that is my son,” said Janis Shelton, whose son is a junior at Valdosta State University.

The family lives in Atlanta, so her son lives on campus when he’s in school.

Shelton said she reviewed the fall plan online but there were some things that weren’t very clear when it came to student living.

Parents concerned over campus student living.
Parents concerned over campus student living.(Bobby Lacey | Valdosta State University)

Shelton wrote a letter to the school last week with a list of concerns and said she never heard back. However, some of those questions were answered during Tuesday night’s town hall meeting.

“What if someone on his hall tests positive, they say they will quarantine them but where will they quarantine them? Who is going to take care of them? How is that going to be handled? Will parents be notified?” asked Shelton.

Dr. Zudy Chu, the director of housing and residence life at VSU, said there will be quarantined spaces in the residence halls for those who are sick and do not have anywhere to stay in the area.

“We do have quarantine spaces in our halls where we will kind of help that student get to the space and then be able to quarantine there for the time being, according to the CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] and Georgia Department of Health recommendations. Within that, we will have services in there, we will have dining, how to get that person food,” explained Dr. Chu.

If someone tests positive or is showing symptoms, school officials ask that they call the health center instead of going. The health center will walk them through the process of determining symptoms and what the next step will be.

Dr. Vince MIller, the vice president of student affairs, said the university does not plan to announce each individual positive case. Instead, the school use contact tracing within the campus if a student or staff member tests positive.

Shelton said she’s worried about her son’s safety, especially in a dorm with roommates. She said her son and his roommates have a plan in place but wonders if it will be enough.

”What happens if your roommate is feeling bad? What do you do? You are sharing a bathroom with the guy, are you going to take him to the health facility, you know. How exactly does it work?” Shelton asked.

Parents concerned over campus student living.
Parents concerned over campus student living.(Valdosta State Univesity | Valdosta State University)

As far as the dining hall goes, VSU officials said there will be social distancing, reduced capacity, marked floors, no self serve stations, take out options and frequent cleaning.

Before returning to the university, students will have to complete a return to campus survey. They must acknowledge what is expected and provide emergency contact information. They will also have to answer some health screening questions.

The survey will determine if the student can return or will need to delay their start.

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