UCF faculty worried about in-person classes for the Spring semester

The University of Central Florida's (UCF) campus will be more crowded come spring semester with officials planning for more in-person classes. Some of the faculty members at the university are worried about that.

“I know there's many faculty at UCF who are concerned about returning to the classroom,” said Professor Robert Cassanello, President of the University's faculty union. He said that with COVID-19 cases still a problem, they don't understand the push to get more people back to in-person classes.

“With cases increasing the way they are and the predictions that are going,” Cassanello said. “We just don't know why there's this push to maximize the number of people on campus.”

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Cassanello said UCF’s students come from around the country and may carry the disease without showing symptoms. He said many professors and staff were at higher risk for the virus, "many faculty feel vulnerable. Many faculty themselves or in their household have a number of serious immunodeficiency problems.”

In a statement to FOX 35, UCF replied, "we are working to offer more face-to-face classes in the spring because we know the on-campus experience is important for our students’ success. We do not yet know how many more face-to-face classes we will offer compared with the fall... We also know much more than we did last summer about how our policies, testing and tracing efforts, and other measures protect the health of our campus community."

UCF freshman Zack Zanyk agreed that the on-campus experience was valuable, stating that “I don't know, I think the environment helps out everyone learn, and it's just a nice environment to be in, overall.”

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Regardless, the union has filed a grievance over the plan. Cassanello added that “there's a great deal of caution they'd like to see the university engage in this return-to-Spring policy."

Cassanello said the school could take up to 30 days to review their grievance before responding.

Tune in to FOX 35 Orlando for the latest Central Florida news.