Masked students? UCF outlines big changes under reopening plan

Campus has been largely closed since March due to coronavirus pandemic

The University of Central Florida is preparing to reopen for the fall semester, but with some big changes.

ORLANDO, Fla. – The University of Central Florida is preparing to reopen for the fall semester, but with some big changes.

During a meeting Thursday of UCF’s Board of Trustees, officials outlined safety measures that could be taken when the campus reopens.

Under the proposal, both students and employees would be required to wear face masks. News 6 saw signs posted on buildings around campus encouraging students to wear face coverings and practice social distancing.

University leaders also discussed reducing class sizes or moving them to bigger venues to allow for social distancing.

Currently, officials are not planning on requiring temperature checks for students or employees.

UCF student Christian Mendez returned to campus on Friday to move out of his dorm room. He said he did not imagine his freshman year would end with taking online classes at home.

"I had some tough physics and calculus classes that had to go full online. No labs or anything makes it a little bit harder to learn the material," Mendez said.

Also part of the university’s reopening proposal is planning for hybrid learning with a mix of face-to-face and online classes.

“If we get some face-to-face labs and maybe a few classes here and there to help solidify the material and ask questions in person, I think we’d be able to get that done,” Mendez said.

The university said it would also enhance cleaning in common areas.

State universities must submit plans for reopening to the Board of Governors by June 12. The university is presenting the plans to the Board of Trustees on June 18 and then to the Board of Governors on June 23.

If approved, the university hopes employees will return to campus this summer and students in the fall.

Mendez said he would feel safe coming back with the proposed measures in place.

"We're all hoping to reopen and get back to school, but obviously safety is important," he said.

UCF is the largest university in Florida, with more than 69,000 students, according to the school’s website.

About the Authors:

Cathleigh is a newscast producer and has been with News 6 since 2014. She graduated from the University of North Florida with a degree in communications, with a focus in broadcast journalism. Cathleigh produces the 5:30 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. newscasts.