Aitken-Smith leads GSU COVID task force

By Taylor Williams

Merlene Aitken-Smith has one of the biggest jobs on Grambling State University’s campus. 

The associate vice president and chief compliance officer serves as Chair of the COVID Task Force Committee at Grambling State.

As such, she ensures that the campus community complies with all of the state, federal, student guidelines and policies, making sure that all the necessary areas on the campus are moving within compliance. 

The committee includes individuals from different departments such as nursing, housing and student affairs. 

The committee holds weekly meetings to discuss COVID protocols, COVID updates and being more efficient on how to make the campus safe.

She said she and her committee are doing everything in their power to make sure the COVID numbers stay in a good place so students can continue having a successful semester.

“We’ve been doing pretty good just to let you know. I keep track of the positive cases for faculty and staff and students so far this week for students we’ve only had one outbreak,” Aitken-Smith said. 

Aitken-Smith said the safest thing to do is to get vaccinated and when you’re in someone’s proximity make sure you wear your mask. 

“We always say exercise your spacing, but if you can’t maintain that spacing, make sure you wear your mask,” Aitken-Smith said. 

As part of its efforts, the committee was part of the effort to ensure those attending any home sports contests must be vaccinated with proof or show a recent negative COVID test. 

“You don’t know who has been vaccinated and someone may not know it is in their system right now,” Aitken-Smith said.  

Aitken-Smith said the COVID Task Force Committee will continue to do everything in their power to keep the campus with the lowest COVID cases possible while still making sure the community has a great semester.

Aitken-Smith originally joined Grambling State as Senior Associate Athletics Director/ Senior Women Administrator. 

The Yonkers , N.Y., native, earned her bachelors of arts in political science from Brooklyn College and her juris doctorate after in Massachusetts.

This story originally appeared in The Gramblinite.

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