Florida Tech pivots to remote learning for start of semester due to rising COVID-19 cases

Lab courses will remain in person, school officials say

More students feeling depressed about remote learning
More students feeling depressed about remote learning

MELBOURNE, Fla. – Florida Tech has suspended in-person classes except for labs for the first two weeks of the spring semester due to a spike in coronavirus cases nationwide, according to a news release from the school.

School officials said in an update Tuesday that classes will resume Jan. 11 as planned but will be taught virtually.

“Out of an abundance of caution given the nationwide increase in COVID-19 cases following the holiday season, Florida Tech is suspending in-person class instruction for the first two weeks of the Spring Semester (Jan. 11-24) except for lab courses. The semester will begin as scheduled Monday, Jan. 11, but classes will be remote learning only for the first two weeks, then resume in-person with remote learning options,” the release read.

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Officials said students should contact their lab instructors for additional guidance regarding in-person labs.

Following the two-week period of virtual learning, all classes are expected to resume in-person on Monday, Jan. 25, with remote learning options available as they were for the fall term, according to the school.

Officials also said the school is taking the following precautions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  • Panther Dining Hall will be to-go only and the Rathskeller will be delivery only as of Thursday, Jan. 7 until Monday, Jan. 25.
  • Orientation and welcome week will be virtual, visit www.fit.edu/orientation and Florida Tech Engage for details.
  • Clemente Center will be closed for all recreational activities until Monday, Jan. 25.
  • No in-person meetings (virtual only) for student clubs and organizations until Monday, Jan. 25.
  • Room reservations for group meetings are suspended until Monday, Jan. 25.
  • Campus tours are temporarily suspended and will resume Monday, Jan. 25.

School officials are asking anyone traveling during the holiday break to follow the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) recommendations and best practices.

All students planning to return to campus this semester are asked to do the following before their arrival:

  • Quarantine at home 10 days prior to arrival to Florida Tech.
  • Read and acknowledge the “Student Florida Tech Safe Commitment.” This can be found in a student’s Canvas account upon sign-in and must be acknowledged to continue using the Canvas account. All students, including remote students, are asked to complete the pledge.
  • Use the #CampusClear app daily upon returning.

Anyone who believes they may have been exposed to COVID-19 over the break or is feeling ill is asked to stay home and contact the school’s COVID-19 case manager. Anyone with a confirmed case of COVID-19 must isolate for 10 days at home and should not return to campus until they are fully recovered, school officials wrote in the release.

Like the fall semester, face coverings, physical distancing and daily wellness checks will remain in use and in place for the spring semester.

The school has also updated its quarantine policy as follows in accordance with the CDC’s guidelines:

  • Quarantine can end after day 10 without testing and if no symptoms have been reported during daily monitoring.
  • Quarantine can end after day 7 if a negative test is obtained and if no symptoms were reported during daily monitoring. The test must be completed within 48 hours before the time of planned quarantine discontinuation (e.g., in anticipation of testing delays), but quarantine cannot be discontinued earlier than seven days.
  • In both cases, continued symptom monitoring and masking through day 14 are required.

“The adherence by our students, faculty and staff to our Florida Tech Safe Plan, as well as the temporary measures outlined above, will enable us to have another successful semester,” school officials wrote in the release.

Click here for more updates from Florida Tech’s pandemic response team.

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