Community leaders are encouraging student interactions with the surrounding communities while emphasizing the importance of maintaining the health and safety guidelines.
“We would love to see Furman students downtown, wearing masks, and in small numbers,” Brotherton said.
Although Furman Focused has shared health and safety guidelines to protect those living on campus this semester, the surrounding towns can also be affected by the actions of Furman students.
Dr. Shaniece Criss, a Furman professor and member of Travelers Rest City Council, shared her recommendations for students hoping to engage with Travelers Rest (TR). Criss explained that almost all aspects of life in the Upstate have been altered due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and TR is no different. From virtual city council meetings, mask ordinances, and hybrid public school models, the city has implemented many adaptations this year. During this time, Criss asserted that “kindness and consideration for others,” is essential. She emphasized that “students need to remember that every time they go into Travelers Rest, there are people of all ages and different levels of health in the community.”
Criss elaborated that our responsible actions, such as wearing a mask and social distancing, can support surrounding businesses. Criss also noted that “we impact more than just the city center itself. If cases remain high, children won’t be able to go to school, which may prevent parents from working, further straining our community.” Criss asked students to abide by our Furman community guidelines both on- and off-campus, as these decisions “protect more than just ourselves, but also our surrounding community.” Criss concluded, “Even through the pandemic, TR has remained a special place, and welcomes Furman students to enjoy our restaurants and businesses in a safe way. We will get through this together.”
Similarly, Beth Brotherton, the Director of Communications and Neighborhood Relations for the city of Greenville, called students to engage with the surrounding community safely. Brotherton explains that the economy of Greenville has been drastically impacted by the pandemic, especially due to the reduction in tourism, which supports accommodation and restaurant services.
“We would love to see Furman students downtown, wearing masks, and in small numbers,” Brotherton said. “Now is the time to support local businesses. Think twice about ordering online, come eat an outdoor meal with a couple friends, and please support our community before it’s too late for some of our businesses.” Despite temporary closures, several Greenville projects, from construction work to human trafficking awareness campaigns, have resumed with modifications. “There will be an end to this,” Brotherton claimed, “and there’s no reason we can’t go back to normal if we do it safely.”
Both the cities of Travelers Rest and Greenville have implemented mask mandates and health education campaigns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. Community leaders are encouraging student interactions with the surrounding communities while emphasizing the importance of maintaining the health and safety guidelines for the protection of everyone in the Upstate.