UCF unveils plans for reopening

Leaders at the University of Central presented a plan for the school's reopening to the Board of Trustees during a teleconference on Thursday.

The plan, titled Planning for Repopulation of Campus, includes guidance on how to reopen the school’s main campus after the COVID-19 pandemic forced most students, staff, and researches to finish the 2019-2020 school year remotely.

UCF trustee Joseph Harrington said during a conference call on Thursday that a lot of faculty members are “quite concerned” about returning to campus in the fall, but transparency about the plans is helping quell those fears.

“Very few people are saying, ‘Yeah, it’s time. Let’s go right back right now.’ The most that people are saying is, ‘You know, I have a performance class or a ceramics class or an upper-division physics lab class that really can’t be done any other way so let’s explore what we have to do,’” Harrington, a faculty member, said.

While no plans are final --- and university officials maintain that plans will likely keep changing due to the coronavirus still being a novel virus --- consensus is building at some universities.

The University of Central Florida Board of Trustees on Thursday talked about requiring everyone on campus to use face masks, moving certain classes to arenas or large conference rooms to allow social distancing and setting aside some dorms that can be used to quarantine people.

UCF officials are also developing plans that would allow at-risk employees and students to continue working and learning remotely, looking into the care of students who would be forced to quarantine in on-campus housing and considering online activities for students, as social events would be restricted.

For students, it would be a hybrid of face-to-face, mixed, and online classes. The plan includes potential social distancing charts for two actual classrooms as well with one only holding about half its normal capacity, and the other less than 30%.

The plans also call for occupancy guidelines in the residential halls which will include quarantine space inside. Additionally, the plan would give out masks and sanitizer kits to students returning to campus, and call for testing, screening, and a contact tracing system to be in place to combat COVID-19.

At this point, state universities are asked to submit their plans for reopening to the Board of Governors by mid-June with the board expected to make decisions on the proposals by the end of the month. The board is slated to consider the plans on June 23.

Some information taken from The News Service of Florida.