‘It’s Not Over Yet’: Jackson State University, Dobbs tackle COVID-19 in virtual town hall to protect Mississippi and campus

(JACKSON, Miss.) — JSU’s College of Health Sciences (CHS) is partnering with the CDC Foundation for a virtual COVID-19 Town Hall meeting, “Pandemic Surge and Current Strategies,” at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 21. The event is part of a $420,000 cooperative agreement between JSU and the foundation, and it promotes Jackson State University’s “It’s Not Over Yet” campaign that reminds everyone to continue adhering to safety guidelines.

The virtual session can be viewed @Facebook.com/JSUTV and will feature Dr. Thomas E. Dobbs, state health officer of the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH). Furthermore, the event will help address challenges created by the pandemic throughout Mississippi as well as aid the JSU community in balancing its health care and academic goals.

Other panelists will be JSU President Thomas K. Hudson; Interim Provost Dr. Alisa Mosley; Dr. Girmay Berhie, dean of CHS and the School of Public Health; and Dr. Samuel Jones, director of JSU’s Health Services. Dr. Elayne Hayes Anthony, chair of Journalism and Media Studies, will be the moderator.

Among the topics, Dobbs will provide a breakdown of the total reported vaccinations by race and ethnicity and the number of doses distributed in Mississippi from Pfizer and Moderna. Also, he will compare the total number of COVID-19 deaths to those from all other causes (including heart disease and pneumonia/influenza).

Hudson, Mosley and Jones will discuss free testing and academic course options (face-to-face, online, hybrid and online synchronous). Campus leaders and experts also will answer questions about activities and events, CARES funding, vaccinations and other strategies designed to keep the campus community safe. They also will inform the campus about daily health checks.

Because of the severity of COVID-19, Hudson said JSU is committed to carrying out guidelines by the CDC, MSDH and the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning.

“Adhering to all safety and health guidelines and not congregating in large groups is vital,” Hudson said. “Challenges will arise, but it has been proven time and time again that the JSU family is resilient. The new vaccine is also promising and comes with the hope of a brighter future.”

Along with that, Berhie said, “The JSU School of Public Health was designed for crises such as COVID-19 that threaten the health of our population. Our campaign is funded by the CDC Foundation and aims to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among the heavily affected African American community.” Berhie issued a clarion call for the entire population to continue wearing masks, washing hands and practicing social distancing.