TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Floridians are beginning to learn more about how the state’s universities will move forward with the fall semester amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
On Thursday, the Board of Governors presented its blueprint for the reopening of the state’s 12 public college campuses. Presidents and faculty members from each university were in attendance during the digital meeting.
While each university will have to come up with its own individual plans for how to reopen campus, the Board of Governors is supporting students returning back to campus this fall.
The blueprint that was presented was broad but laid out the elements the universities will have to implement moving forward.
The chancellor of the state university system of Florida said there is expected to be 420,000 students and about 74,000 faculty and staff returning to the twelve public state colleges in the fall. He said 72% of those students will travel from their homes to attend.
The blueprint is broken up into the following five sections:
- A healthy campus environment
- A healthy community environment
- COVID-19 virus testing
- Contact tracing and surveillance
- Academic program delivery
Some of the highlights of the presentation include:
- A testing plan for each university, including when and how often students and staff should be tested for the virus.
- Protocols with local hospitals for the response of positive cases or “hot spots” on campus.
- Working with the Florida Department of Health to assist in contact tracing and elevated surveillance related to any positive cases.
- Additional resources that will be needed to provide care and services for students that test positive and quarantine.
During the presentation, a question was brought up, asking if students who don’t feel comfortable returning to campus will have other options for continuing their education with the university. Chancellor Marshall Criser III said universities should have options for continued remote learning.
“Our hope is that we can meet each of these individuals and tailor our academic delivery in such a way that we’re meeting the student where the student wants to be met. And if that’s on campus, we’re working on ways to do that. If it’s remotely, what we want to do is have a platform for that. We want to be able to have the versatility that meets them where they want to be met,” Criser said.
Each university will submit its own plan for reopening in the beginning of June.
The Board of Governors will review each set of plans and decide if they will approve those plans during a face-to-face meeting at the University of Central Florida on June 23.