During Wednesday’s virtual Return to Campus Forum, UCF President Alexander Cartwright reviewed the university’s plans to reopen campus this fall.
“We will go fully remote after Thanksgiving break to avoid many people who’ve left the area returning to campus,” he said.
UCF interim Provost Michael Johnson clarified on-campus housing will remain open after Thanksgiving break despite the transition to the move to remote learning.
Cartwright said the university intents to return in August with a limited capacity and with increased safety and cleaning measures in place.
The most current draft plans can be viewed here
Faculty, staff and students returning to campus will be required to complete training that outlines the university’s health measures.
How are classes for face-to-face instruction being decided?
“We serve an academic mission at our core, and must do our best – regardless of the pandemic – to ensure our students have the highest-quality educational experience and are able to stay on track with their studies,” Cartwright said.
He said Johnson is working with the colleges identify how courses can best be offered and which courses had the greatest need for face-to-face experiences, such as senior-level design classes or performing arts, for example.
Cartwright said the university is prioritizing on-campus classes that are typically needed for first-time-in-college students, where the on-campus experience is critical for student retention and success.
What about events?
“We are working with our fraternities and sororities on what their virtual recruiting will look like, along with helping other registered student organizations find new ways to adjust their fall plans,” Cartwright said.
He said he is anxious to know exactly what our fall sports will look like as the university awaits guidance from officials.
Is COVID-19 testing required?
The university plans to roll out a robust contact tracing and medical symptom surveillance program — utilizing student volunteers to begin this summer — but not every student will be tested.
Targeted COVID-19 testing for specific populations will take place for the following groups:
- Students returning to on-campus housing.
- Students and staff residing in Greek housing.
- All student-athletes.
“We will not be requiring every person who returns to campus to be tested,” Cartwright said.
What if a student tests positive for COVID-19 during the semester?
“We are encouraging faculty to make their coursework available to students virtually for those who choose to be remote or who need to because of health reasons,” Cartwright said.
Cartwright said UCF’s academic leadership will continue encouraging faculty to be flexible with their students need to quarantine this fall, or who may experience other disruptions in their coursework.
What if I live on campus?
“We are setting aside spaces at NorthView, UnionWest and Rosen apartments for UCF Housing students who need to be quarantined, based on availability,” Cartwright said.
On-campus housing will have reduced occupancy this fall and more information will be available in the next few weeks, Cartwright said.
Will face masks be required?
Cartwright said 100,000 reusable face masks have been ordered for every student, faculty and staff member to be distributed at locations at all UCF campuses — he said more information about how to get masks will be available in the next few weeks.
A new emergency university policy will be posted online and applies to all members of the university community, including visitors.
Cartwright said repeated acts of non-compliance will result in disciplinary action and it will be clear on how the university intends on how to enforce them.
Is social distancing required?
Cartwright described the fall as looking different. He said virtual options will be encouraged when possible to avoid unnecessary gatherings.
“As part of our phased-in approach, we began with 30% capacity limits for our buildings and office spaces,” Cartwright said. “We will continue to increase to 50% or more as August approaches.”
Is the university taking steps to provide extra cleaning?
UCF said there will be enhanced cleaning and increased cleaning frequency of common touchpoints, bathrooms and common areas consistent with CDC guidance.
Hand sanitizer stations, touchless devices and plexiglass dividers will be installed, as well.
Faculty, staff and students will be responsible for cleaning and maintaining their individual workspaces, including desks, chairs and computer equipment, the virtual meeting presentation slides states.
What are the next steps?
“On July 1, we will communicate to students which courses and sections will be offered in-person and online,” Cartwright said. We know many students are anxious to find out the latest on their courses; that information will be final on July 1.
He said faculty will return on Aug. 8, and a phased-in on-campus move-in approach for student residents will begin Aug. 8 and the first day of class is Aug. 24.
Where can more information be found?
UCF is launching a new COVID-19 email for the community to provide input, in addition to the website and FAQ’s page.