Returning to Campus

A Healthy Community Environment

The health and safety of each campus is a shared responsibility among students, employees, vendors, volunteers, visitors, and surrounding community members. As a multi-campus institution, USF has a footprint in four counties and draws its workforce from at least a six-county area. We recognize that we are embedded in these communities and benefit from our interdependent relationships. As our employees and the majority of our students commute into and out of our campuses each day, our efforts to mitigate transmission of COVID-19 must necessarily be coordinated with those of these surrounding counties.

Since the beginning of this event, we have been working closely with governmental, clinical and community-based partners. We have helped staff testing sites with our clinical partners and those stood up by Hillsborough County; we identified students and faculty to extend the workforce of the FDOH to support contact tracing; we have volunteered our expertise to both state and county government; we have produced and made available critical supplies including testing swabs and face shields and donated PPE to the county; we have created a program to provide monitoring and support for COVID-19 positive cases who are not hospitalized to make sure they get any medical or related social services they may need; we have created an ability to focus on long–term care facilities in the area that are at particularly high risk for COVID-19 transmission and the most severe consequences of such infections; we have coordinated with Emergency Management offices around alternate care sites and hurricane response; and we have provided countless media interviews, op eds, and educational messages on various social media. 

We track on a daily basis the data provided by the FDOH, the emergency managers in our four-county area, and our clinical partners (Tampa General Hospital has developed a consortium of hospitals in a twelve-county area and they share those data with us as well). We have particularly close and long-standing relationships with the directors of the four county offices of the FDOH in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Manatee, and Sarasota counties. We created a syndromic surveillance system to enhance the data being gathered from the public on COVID symptoms and we have assisted in developing models for considering the possible impact of likely strategies or governmental decisions.

There will be expectations all members of our University communities, including all visitors and vendors, for all health and safety standards. Physical distancing, face coverings, and surface disinfecting protocols will be in effect and will be enforced for everyone on any of our campuses. We will also provide guidance to our faculty, staff, and students on our expectations for how they comport themselves when in public outside of campus. The primary goal remains to mitigate transmission of COVID-19 on our campuses and in our communities; this is both an individual and a collective responsibility.

The following table depicts the various risk mitigation strategies intended to promote health and safety at the University. Each is accompanied by enforcement strategies intended to be employed to promote compliance. The specific action(s) taken in response to conduct that does not support health and safety standards will be fact specific and consistent with USF due process requirements. The behaviors and University responses listed in the matrix are not exhaustive or exclusive. The University reserves the right to respond to noncompliance with health and safety standards in lawful ways not described in the matrix.

 
Risk Mitigation Strategy Level and Nature of Enforcement
Longer term (14-day) isolation of COVID-19 positive cases Removal from campus and referral to Student Conduct with possible provisional suspension if a student, or referral to Human Resources with possible disciplinary action if faculty or staff
Shorter term (2-10) day isolation awaiting an indicated test result Removal from campus, possible provisional suspension if a student, possible disciplinary action if a faculty or staff
Wearing of face coverings in classrooms, group work environments, or enclosed public settings where physical distancing may not be able to be maintained Request to comply with the guidance followed by removal from the activity, e.g. class, lab, studio, congregate spaces or a workplace until the guidance is followed; followed by possible suspension; followed by possible separation; additional consequences for disrupting the activity
Completion of baseline symptom survey Reminders followed by redirection when attempting to access other applications, followed by suspension of network access
Completion of periodic symptom surveys Reminders followed by redirection when attempting to access other applications
6 feet of separation between other people, where signage and markings indicate such is to be maintained Request to comply with the guidance followed by removal from the activity
Completion of education modules on risk mitigation and enforcement Multiple reminders to reach goal of 90% of employees in any unit on campus completing
Local disinfecting of workspaces including offices, frequently used areas and other areas where work is conducted including classrooms, labs, etc. Request to comply with the guidance followed by reminders followed by warnings

 

USF is woven into the fabric of the surrounding local communities, and a healthy campus environment directly impacts a healthy community environment. The relationships that the University has built and fostered with local governmental leaders, business owners, and health care providers in the surrounding community are invaluable in promoting the community commitment to adhering to and endorsing national and state guidelines and university policies that are in place to promote health and safety.