UF releases plan for reopening
The University of Florida released the draft of a reopening plan on Monday that anticipates students and faculty returning to classrooms in the fall wearing masks, keeping some distance from each other, and getting regular tests for coronavirus infection.
The “UF Reopening Plan” was released late Monday afternoon on the university’s website. It is clearly marked as a draft that is subject to continued revision.
Last week, the governing body of the state’s 12 public universities approved a blueprint for colleges to follow throughout the semester to aid the safe return of students and faculty in just months.
The state is allowing each public university to make plans that account for the seriousness of the pandemic in their region. Representatives will present their plans to the Board of Governors on June 23.
“We have decided that we must learn to live, study, and work in the midst of COVID-19,” UF’s plan states.
It requires student organizations, such as sororities and fraternities, to submit plans for maintaining health and safety to UF administrators before they can resume activities.
Students coming to Gainesville from states listed as hot spots by Gov. Ron DeSantis must quarantine themselves for 14 days or be cleared by testing before returning to campus. In March, DeSantis listed those states as New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Louisiana, but that may be updated before students return.
“All students will undergo a screening assessment for COVID-19 risk factors as they return to campus; at-risk students will receive medical triage and COVID-19 testing,” the report states.
Options will be available for employees and students with underlying health conditions or other factors that make returning to campus risky while COVID-19 continues to be a threat.
Employees and students who don’t comply with distancing and face-covering requirements will be directed to leave and could face disciplinary action if they refuse.
“Every person coming to UF’s campus — whether a faculty member, a staff member, student, vendor, or visitor — is expected to adhere to the health and safety guidelines established by the university,” the plan says.
UF ended classes on campus in early March as the coronavirus pandemic spread broadly in the United States. The spring term was completed through online instruction that continued through the summer terms.
“Depending on a student’s major course of study, we expect that most undergraduate students who would prefer to take most or all of their courses remotely would be able to arrange a schedule to do so,” the UF plan says.
Course schedules for the fall are still being reworked with registration for classes expected to begin late this month or early July. That includes provisions to allow as many students as possible to complete the fall semester away from campus after the Thanksgiving break.
UF athletes are expected to begin arriving next week. The UF Athletic Association has developed its own plan for health and safety of student-athletes and staff, in conjunction with the NCAA and the Southeastern Conference.
“Decisions about intercollegiate competition will come later and be made in conjunction with the NCAA and SEC,” the plan states.
This story originally published togainesville.com, and was shared to other Florida newspapers in the USA TODAY Network - Florida.