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UCF faculty union upset about school’s spring semester plan

More in-person classes will be offered next year

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ORLANDO, Fla. – As the University of Central Florida prepares to offer more in-person classes starting in the spring semester, the school’s faculty union has filed a grievance citing coronavirus safety concerns.

United Faculty of Florida at UCF posted a message on its website earlier this week saying that members have expressed anxiety about having more in-person classes starting in January.

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“We ask the administration – to take seriously the significant health risks during the ongoing pandemic and what these risks mean for all employees and their loved ones. We understand the ground is continually shifting because the objectives of state lawmakers and those of the universities are at times at odds. We nonetheless hope that at this critical moment, UCF administration will listen to the faculty and act with the wellbeing of all of us in mind,” the statement reads.

A UCF spokesman said the same safety measures, including physical distancing and requiring face masks, will be in place for the spring semester.

“We are working to offer more face-to-face classes in the spring because we know the on-campus experience is important for our students' success. We also know much more than we did last summer about how our policies, testing and tracing efforts and other measures protect the health of our campus community. We will continue to emphasize to our entire community the importance of abiding by our COVID-19 protocols. But it is significant that to date we have seen no spread of the virus resulting from our classrooms,” a spokesman said.

Faculty members who are considered high risk have the option to request a remote teaching assignment.

The university’s COVID-19 dashboard lists 797 student cases and 143 staff cases reported between March and Saturday.