Fall Semester 2020
The Board of Governors is providing the State University System of Florida Blueprint for Reopening Campuses for Fall Semester 2020 that identifies critical elements to guide the 12 state universities as each one develops an individualized plan. Each university has a dedicated mission with unique strengths and characteristics, and it is important to recognize that each campus community has an extraordinary environment that includes students from all regions of the state, nation, and world. The distinctiveness of each university community makes it critical that every university plan prioritizes the health and well-being of all students, faculty, staff, vendors, volunteers, and visitors, particularly as all institutions continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic. University plans should anticipate the agility necessary to respond to changed conditions and enhance the resiliency of each institution. Equally important to the Board is that the 12 universities remain focused and unwavering in the delivery of high-quality academic programs and services. A commitment to these priorities will enable our universities to continue to meet the Board’s academic performance and student success goals.
The traditional campus experience for students will be different from past years, adapted to promote a healthy environment, as we all learn to co-exist with the COVID-19 virus. As all universities continue to work to enhance health and safety precautions, academic pursuits, social interactions, extracurricular activities, and athletics will occur in new and unique formats that will still be positive and rewarding experiences.
A HEALTHY CAMPUS ENVIRONMENT
- The foundational priority of each university’s plan will be the health and welfare of all students, faculty, staff, vendors, volunteers, and visitors.
- Health and safety on a university campus is a shared responsibility for all involved. All students, employees, vendors, volunteers, and visitors will be subject to new policies, procedures, and oversight designed to promote a safer and healthier environment for teaching, learning, and working, including strategies to protect individuals at higher risk for developing adverse outcomes of COVID-19.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), state, and local social distancing guidelines that are in place at the time of each university’s Fall opening should be implemented in all campus facilities and should include procedures for enforcement for all constituents.
- The use of face coverings and hand sanitizers should be addressed in each university plan.
- All students and employees should be educated and trained in the requirements and expectations for the new health and safety procedures and the consequences for non-compliance of these university policies.
- While recognizing that the national and regional athletic conferences will develop plans with their member institutions for intercollegiate competition, each university plan should provide specific protections and protocols for participation in athletic competition by their students, staffs, and spectators that comply with CDC guidelines and state policies regarding COVID-19.
- Each university plan should consider the campus’s current and projected health environment as it plans for the gradual and measured approval of student extracurricular activities, including Greek organization operations and functions, student organizations, clubs, intramural sports, and social gatherings.
- In light of the highly contagious nature of the COVID-19 virus, each university should have the capability to regularly clean and disinfect all university facilities, including classrooms, office spaces, housing and food service facilities, research equipment and laboratories, and public spaces.
A HEALTHY COMMUNITY ENVIRONMENT
- Each university plan should emphasize that the health and safety of its campus is a shared responsibility among students, employees, vendors, volunteers, visitors, and surrounding community members.
- Governmental leaders, business owners, and health care providers in the surrounding university community should accept a shared responsibility with the university to promote the health of the campus and its surrounding community. As important partners, these entities should be strongly urged to commit to adhering to and endorsing national and state guidelines and university policies that are in place to promote health and safety.
- Every individual coming on to a state university campus should be expected to accept personal responsibility for his/her actions by following all CDC recommendations and university policies. Each university should establish and publicize consequences for non-compliance of all relevant national, state, and university policies.
- Universities should support prevention and mitigation strategies developed by the Florida Department of Health for other infectious diseases that may worsen or are similar to COVID-19, such as influenza.
COVID-19 VIRUS TESTING
- A COVID-19 testing plan is needed at every university to determine who in the campus community should be tested, when and how often they should be tested, to enable employees and students to return to campus in a controlled, phased-in approach.
- A survey or screening methodology should be incorporated to identify and prioritize individuals who warrant testing, and include reporting of travel to/from geographic areas with significant community transmission.
- The testing plan should include a regimen for individuals coming to the campus from state, national, and international geographic areas with significant community transmission.
- A university testing plan should include a process that will enable health care professionals to rapidly respond to identified “hot spots” on the campus.
- Protocols will need to be established with local hospitals and health care systems and the capacity of the local hospitals and health care systems clarified prior to reopening the campus.
- A Clinical Advisory Committee on testing and tracing established by the task force will recommend a clinical framework for repopulating a campus.
- Universities who are able to assist other institutions in the SUS with the development of a university testing plan are encouraged to do so.
CONTACT TRACING and SURVEILLANCE
- Contact tracing is under the authority of the Florida Department of Health. Universities should work with the Department of Health and the local county health departments to determine if universities can assist the Department in contact tracing efforts for individuals testing positive.
- For students in on-campus housing, facilities (rooms, building sections, or temporary housing, on or off campus) must be identified that will be suitable for isolating positive virus cases until they are no longer infectious. Resources should be made available to provide care, counseling, and other services to these individuals and include the ability for quarantined students to continue their studies.
- The status of the health environment of the campus should be regularly monitored to enable campus leaders to quickly respond to significant increases in virus infections and hospitalization rates. A campus threshold that will trigger a return to tighter social distancing and behavioral restrictions should be defined in advance.
ACADEMIC PROGRAM DELIVERY
- Universities should continue to explore new and creative ways to use technology to deliver classes in a variety of delivery modes using alternative instructional formats and hybrid combinations of face-to-face and online delivery modes.
- Reasonable alternatives should be made available for faculty and students who are unable to participate in available class delivery formats, including individuals with serious illness, older adults, and individuals of any age with serious underlying conditions who may be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
- Class sizes and classroom densities, as well as outdoor and non-traditional spaces, should be evaluated in consideration of the current CDC, state, and local social distancing guidelines.
- Universities are encouraged to consider varied course scheduling and calendar options to accommodate alternative instructional delivery formats.
- Faculty training and professional development should continue to provide enhanced training and support for new online technologies and non-traditional modes of delivery of instruction.
- Each university plan should acknowledge that from the time of the development of its plan to the time of the beginning of fall semester, the health environment of the local community will likely look very different. The need for flexibility should be stressed to all students, faculty, and staff as schedules and delivery modes may need to be adjusted in reaction to the evolving health conditions on each campus and in each campus community.