ORLANDO, Fla. – As of now, the University of Central Florida is planning to bring students back to campus come fall but there won’t be crowded classrooms and bustling residential halls like in semesters past.
The campus has been closed to students and many faculty since March to stop the spread of COVID-19. In order to open it back up again, some health and safety changes will need to be made.
The school’s plan for bringing Knights back in August was released Wednesday in conjunction with a virtual campus forum. The plan at this point is tentative since it still needs to be reviewed by the state’s Board of Governors before it can be made official and there’s the possibility that changes could be made.
Regardless, it paints a thorough picture of how university leaders plan to make sure the on-campus environment is safe for faculty, staff, students and visitors.
“UCF’s plan for academic delivery in the fall will be focused on providing superior education to its diverse student body. The plan allows for easy, efficient transition of course offerings to remote instruction should the need arise,” the document reads.
Among the most noticeable of the changes is that masks will be required for anyone inside a building or who is in close proximity to another person. That includes instructors while teaching classes.
Signage reminding those on campus to wear a facial coverings, practice good hygiene and keep six feet apart from others when possible will be posted in common areas and on digital screens to make sure that Centers for Disease Control and Prevention protocols to stop the spread of coronavirus are followed.
Classes with more than 100 people who move to remote instruction while others will likely follow a hybrid model that allows for those who want or need to stay home the option to still receive the course material. Details on which classes will move to remote instruction are expected to be released on July 1.
“We must remember, that we are in this together and we need to take care of each other," UCF President Alexander Cartwright said.
After the Thanksgiving break, all classes will move to online only for the remainder of the semester, although the library, residence halls and other campus buildings will stay open.
Because students are being asked to miss class if they’re feeling ill or have been around someone with COVID-19 symptoms, attendance requirements are being discouraged.
There won’t be a mass testing mandates for all students, only those who will be living in on-campus or university-owned housing will need to prove they’re negative. Other changes there include moving most dorms to single occupancy, frequent cleaning of common areas, discouraging large groups and prohibiting visitors.
Campus move in dates have been staggered starting about two weeks before the fall semester to reduce foot traffic.
About 65 rooms have been set aside to quarantine students who fall ill with COVID-19 symptoms.
Hand sanitizer will be readily available on campus, changes have been made to the air conditioning system to reduce the risk of germs spreading and 100,000 reusable face masks have been ordered.
As far as cleaning areas such as work spaces or chairs in classrooms, that will fall on individual workers or students.
Even with the safety enhancements in place, many university experiences such as Greek life recruiting and on-campus activities will need to take place online. While athletes have already started to return to the school, a decision hasn’t been announced about how sporting events will look going forward.
To read the 20-page plan in its entirety, click here.