TSU first-time freshmen move in residence halls; parents, students impressed with university’s COVID-19 preparedness

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University President Glenda Glover welcomed first-time freshmen to the campus this week and assured the new Tigers and their families that TSU has worked diligently to create a safe environment amid the coronavirus pandemic.

President Glenda Glover, and Chief of Staff, Dr. Curtis Johnson, tell reporters that the university has taken the necessary steps to ensure a safe campus, as students return. (TSU Media Relations)

“Safety is a priority. We made adjustments based on where we are in the world today, and so far, it is working,” Dr. Glover said Tuesday, as more than 2,300 freshmen began moving into their residence halls. Classes start Monday, August 17. “We couldn’t have everybody coming in at the same time, so we assigned each person a time to arrive.” 

Yuri Hopkins, her mom, dad and younger sister drove all-night from Miami, Florida, to be sure she was on time for the early check-in. She said the health screenings and the orderly move-in process “made me feel at home right away.”

Yuri Hopkins (in red) and her family, from Miami, Florida, were among the first groups to arrive for the early morning check-in. Hopkins will major in nursing. (TSU Media Relations)

“I am ready for TSU besides, I was ready to leave home,” said Hopkins, who will major in nursing. “My uncle came here and I have heard a lot of good things about their nursing program.”

Yuri’s father, Leshawn Hopkins, said he is sad to leave his daughter behind, but he likes what TSU is doing and that gives him hope.

“I am sad but she is prepared,” he said. “The pre-screenings, temperature checks for everybody coming on campus got me feeling more confident that she is in a safe environment.”

President Glover talks to incoming business administration major Oryanna Elizabeth Davis, right, from Memphis, Tennessee, as her brother, Omari Jolliffi, looks on. (TSU Media Relations)

Amiya Jenkins, of Nashville, whose sister Janice Broadway is a senior political science major at TSU, was on time for her early morning check-in at Wilson Hall. She is continuing a long TSU lineage in her family. In addition to her sister, several relatives, including her mom, attended TSU. So, becoming a Tiger is a dream come true.

“I couldn’t wait to join my sister,” said Jenkins, who will also be majoring in nursing.  “Nearly all my relatives came here. It’s a tradition, and the school is offering me what I want, and I like how prepared they are to protect us from the virus.”

Dean of Students Frank Stevenson, right, welcomes Meghan Borrum, second from left, who arrived from Atlanta with her mom Sabrina Borrum, and family friend Brian Papin. (TSU Media Relations)

Amiya’s mother, Tavina Hopkins, added, “The rooms are so clean and the staff has been so helpful. I am proud of my school and how prepared they are.”

In her State of the University address on Monday, Glover emphasized safety, and referred to the implementation of a comprehensive safety plan that includes a 14-day “safer in place” policy upon arrival for all students in residence halls. The policy requires students to stay in their places of residence unless they need to perform essential activities, such as getting food, or going to medical appointments.

Volunteer workers help check in new arrivals at Watson Hall. (TSU Media Relations)

Under the plan, all classes will be online for the first two weeks, and there will be both in-person and online instruction throughout the semester, which will end by Thanksgiving. Additionally, classrooms have been assessed to determine the number of students that can occupy the rooms, based on guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Other safety measures include wearing of face coverings and social distancing at all times; regular cleaning and sanitizing of buildings; temperature checks upon entering campus and randomly throughout campus; installation of shields throughout the campus; and establishment of a non-emergency COVID-19 phone line and email for reporting concerns.

Dean of Students Frank Stevenson said the university is excited to welcome students back on campus, and will do everything necessary to ensure that students adhere to regulations put in place for their safety.

“We are going to be very intentional about sharing our expectation as students move on campus so that we can have a safe campus community,” said Stevenson, who is also associate vice president for Student Affairs.

Chicago native James Bracey, Jr., right, prepares to check into Watson Hall. Mom America Bracey, sister Kayden Bracey, and dad James Bracey, Sr., came along to see Bracey Jr., off to college. (TSU Media Relations)

“We are excited about how we are facing this challenge to make the student experience very unique. The process has been very smooth. We have parents who have come from all over the country and they are trusting us with their students and we have a plan that we believe is one of the best in the country for how we manage our campus environment during this pandemic.”

 James Bracey, Sr., of Chicago, whose son James Jr., checked into Watson Hall, said he is also excited about his son coming to TSU, and is impressed with how prepared the university is about protecting students from the pandemic.

“I am okay with him leaving; it will be an adjustment but I like where he is going,” said James Bracey, Sr.

James Bracey, Jr., who will major in business and marketing, said he read a lot about TSU and likes the business program at the university.

“I chose TSU because I heard good things about it and when I checked the business program I really like it. I will miss my family and friends but I am ready to start this journey,” Bracey, Jr., said.

James Bracey, Jr.’s mom America Bracey, and 12-year-old sister Kayden Bracey, also came along to see their son and brother off to college.

To learn more about TSU’s campus operation plans for fall reopening, visit www.tnstate.edu/return.
Department of Media Relations

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About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.