UF issues draft of Fall 2020 reopening plan

University of Florida
University of Florida

 The University of Florida is planning a “broad reopening of campus for the fall semester” and has issued a draft of its reopening plan that addresses components of a healthy campus, COVID-19 testing and academic program delivery.

“We are one of the few universities that owns world-class hospitals with an academic health center,” the plan states. “We have faculty and staff who are experts in epidemiology and public health. We have faculty leading research on vaccines, therapies and modeling COVID-19. Our Gainesville campus is in a community that has flattened the curve and has not had a surge of cases that threatened the capacity of our hospitals.

“Now is the time for Florida Gators to lead. We are, and we will continue to do so.”

A comprehensive “screen-test-and protect” approach will include testing for all faculty, staff and students at no cost and a 10-station drive-through testing site that will operate on campus and under the direction of UF Health medical professionals, the plan states.

 The draft covers UF facilities in Alachua County as well as locations elsewhere throughout all 67 counties in the state. It was developed with input from “11 issue-oriented task forces, the deans of all the colleges and a medical advisory team,” with upholding local, state and federal guidelines.

 The plan embraces online and distance learning for the curriculum that can be delivered that way or in a hybrid of in-person and online.

“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 draft states. “We also expect each college and department to determine the best mode for delivery for a particular course or section of a course, just as they always have.

 As football season approaches, the plan encompasses student athletic programs.

“The UF Athletic Association has developed, implemented and will regularly update plans for the return of its employees and student-athletes in accordance with UF’s policies as well as applicable NCAA and Southeastern Conference standards,” the draft states.

 “The athletic department’s plans have also been anchored by the expertise of UF Health and the department has worked closely with campus leadership. All athletic staff, coaches, and student-athletes will participate in UF Health’s screen- test-protect program. Decisions about intercollegiate competition will come later and be made in conjunction with the NCAA and SEC.

 “Further, University Athletics may choose to make testing mandatory for athletes, and other extracurricular activities may require mandatory testing at the discretion of the leadership of those extracurricular functions. Any student who becomes symptomatic will receive a COVID-19 test and be quarantined if COVID-19 positive, and their contacts will be traced for exposure assessment in accordance with Department of Health rules and processes.”

If a student tests positive the plan states, “Arrangements have been made with housing and service providers to quarantine students, if needed. Students living in traditional residence halls will not be allowed to remain in their regular campus residence during quarantine.

Further, if any student tests positive, Student Affairs staff will reach out to them and

provide support based on the student’s unique needs. This includes access to food, as well as connections to the Student Health Center and Dean of Students’ Office for assistance with temporary academic accommodations.”

 The plan will continue to develop as the late August start date nears.

It  “will remain adaptable as circumstances evolve,” with regular updates provided through http://www.ufl.edu/health-updates/ and https://coronavirus.ufhealth.org/screen-test-protect/ 

To contribute to the conversation and offer input about the plan email: reopen@ufl.edu 

“The Gator Nation will not be deterred,” the draft states. “We have decided that we must learn to live, study, and work in the midst of COVID-19.” 

To review the entire draft, go here

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