PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Their bags are filled and the suitcases are rolling as students at Temple University started moving back onto campus on Saturday. The school has made some COVID-safety changes for the spring semester, which starts Monday.
There are now three options for masks – a surgical mask with multiple layers of material, a surgical mask with a cloth mask over it, or a KN95 mask.
“I’m glad to be back it sucked being at home all cooped up,” one student said.
Like many, students at Temple studied virtually for the first three weeks of the spring semester due to a rise in COVID cases.
“Monday we’re gonna open and we’re fearing that it’s going to be business as usual but the virus hasn’t gone anywhere yet,” Will T. Jordan, of the Temple Association of University Professionals, said.
The decision to return to in-person learning is striking a chord with TAUP – the union that represents university faculty.
In a letter, they called the move reckless.
“Faculty, we wanna be in the classroom we wanna be on campus but we want to do it safely,” Jordan said.
The group says they met with Temple leaders to implement common-sense safety measures such as social distancing and contact tracing to no avail.
“We get this 11th-hour meeting with a list of demands that would make us safe and we’re told ‘No no no no no,’” Jordan said.
The university, however, says they’ve made changes such as banning cloth masks and encouraging students to get the booster shot.
“I feel like there’s a good amount of precautions taking place and especially with everyone coming back after New Year’s and Christmas, that two weeks kind of let everything die down,” Logan Wright, who attends Temple, said.
In the meantime, only time will tell what happens next.