Dozens of Spelman College faculty have decided to stop teaching in-person classes temporarily, citing concerns about the lack of “clear and enforceable” safety guidelines from school administration as COVID-19 cases continue to increase across the state. 

The historical Black women’s college in Atlanta started classes on Wednesday. A day later, however, the Spelman College faculty council announced that several professors will stop teaching in-person classes. 

"Much to our disappointment, faculty have not received clear and enforceable protocol and safety guidelines that will ensure our health and wellbeing when teaching face-to-face," the council stated, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "While awaiting acceptable responses to these concerns, we have decided not to teach in-person. Most faculty will use alternative instructional methods for course delivery.”

Other collegiate faculty members across Georgia have expressed similar concerns through letters and petitions

Despite the faculty's concerns, administrators said the college remains open for in-person instruction.

"We welcome the input of faculty," the school said in a statement, according to The Atlanta Voice. "We will continue to monitor the state of community spread in the city of Atlanta and Fulton County while continuing to closely follow guidance from the CDC, and adjust plans for on-campus instruction accordingly." 

Spelman is a part of the Atlanta University Center Consortium, a group which includes Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College and Morehouse School of Medicine.

Earlier this year, the schools announced that faculty and employees must be vaccinated for COVID-19 in order to be allowed on campus during the fall. However, faculty said the school didn't include details about how it plans to enforce vaccinations or mask-wearing, The 19th reported. In response to the concerns, administrators said an expanded guideline has now been posted on the Spelman website for students, faculty and staff.

The 22-page document includes rules requiring face coverings for employees and students in all classrooms and most indoor and outdoor spaces on campus. Spelman also states that noncompliance will be considered a violation of the college’s code of conduct.

"The health and safety of the Spelman community is a top priority for the College as we restore the residential college experience this year," the school stated. "With the guidance of the medical community and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we have implemented mandatory vaccinations, along with masking and periodic testing, in order to obtain the lowest possible risk to the campus community." 

According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, only half of Spelman students had been vaccinated as of last month. Georgia reached a gruesome milestone on Tuesday when it surpassed more than a million cases since the start of the pandemic. The state reported 4,257 COVID-19 cases and 24 deaths on the same day. Many of the cases that are now being reported are mostly coming from unvaccinated people, WRDW reported

Jesse Goldberg, a humanities research fellow at Penn State University, applauded the women of Spelman for standing up for their rights.

“In numerous historical movements, Black women have been at the forefront setting examples for doing the work necessitated by moments of crisis, always at great risk,” Goldberg told The 19th. 

Kaylin Daigle, a junior at Spelman, also praised the faculty. 

“I know that I admire the faculty and I know that they are being trailblazers for educators around the nation today,” she said.