JSU lifts pause on in-person student organization events with new restrictions

Thomas Ashworth, Correspondent and Scott Young, Editor in Chief

The university announced on Wednesday that it will lift the pause on in-person student organization events effective Thursday, Sept. 10, but with new restrictions and directives.

Joshua Robinson, JSU’s associate dean of students, said in an email to students on Wednesday that the decision to enact the pause was “in response to a rise in COVID-19 cases.” The pause was announced on Aug. 26.

“Since August 26, 2020, active cases at JSU followed by the COVID-19 task force have decreased,” said Robinson.

Robinson explained that student affairs would be entering “precaution level 3,” which requires student organizations to submit a COVID-19 Event Consideration Guide to the university, prohibits alcohol at student organization events, limits in-person activities to groups of 20 or less, encourages outdoor programming and permits only virtual programming for large groups.

“It is important that student organization leaders remain vigilant and take proactive measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 on campus and in our community,” said Robinson. “JSU reserves the right to impose another pause on student organization activities if organizations do not abide by the directives listed above.”

He also said that organizations that violate the directives will be referred to the Office of Community Standards and Student Ethics for disciplinary review.

Yesterday, the JSU Student Government Association gave a presentation through Microsoft Teams to discuss and explain new guidelines being implemented.

Auburn McKee, the SGA vice president of organizational affairs, introduced new levels that organizations will follow as JSU continues to monitor the number of active cases among students.

“Level One will be the baseline when levels are low,” said McKee. “Student organizations will be offered training and resources on current best practices and guidelines. Upon request by a student organization, the Dean of Students Office Staff will review the COVID-19 Event Consideration Guide with the requesting party.”

Vice President of Student Senate, Cindy Danini, described level two of the new guidelines.

“Level Two is relatively similar to Level One, however some things do change,” said Danini. “For example, student organizations will be required to submit a COVID-19 Event Consideration Guide which will be reviewed with the Dean of Students Office Staff. Another thing that changes is that in-person activities are limited to groups of 50 or less.”

McKee then explained level three of the guidelines, which the university is currently under.

“The main difference with level three is that in person activities are limited to groups of 20 or less,” said McKee. “We also want to emphasize that student organizations will be required to submit a COVID-19 event consideration guide, which will be reviewed with the registered student organization.”

Danini detailed the last level outlined in the plan, which is level four.

“Although the policy does change for the other activities within JSU, the policy for registered student organizations moving from level three to level four does not change,” said Danini. “You will still need to submit a COVID-19 consideration guide and there is still a limit to groups of 20 or less.”

The JSU COVID-19 Consideration Guide, mentioned above, has a questionnaire asking about how the event will be conducted, what guidelines are already set for the organization, if the event can be held virtually, if masks will be provided and more. This set of questions will help the Dean of Students Office Staff determine if the event is safe to hold, and if not, can help them provide advice to the people organization holding the event.

As of Wednesday afternoon, JSU is reporting 75 active cases of COVID-19, which is updated and monitored by the university task force. This number of active cases have declined from the 165 active cases reported on Tuesday, a one-day decrease of 90 cases.

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