Dear USF Community,
Earlier this week, I shared with you that the University of South Florida intends to use a multiphase approach to gradually resume additional in-person activities on our campuses with measures in place to promote a healthy and safe environment. Today I wish to provide more details about our four-phase plan and announce that we will move into phase I beginning on Monday, June 15.
Each phase limits the number of individuals on campus and includes precautions to reduce community transmission of coronavirus and mitigate the possible exposure of returning students, faculty and staff. Our decisions to progress to the next phase, or scale back operations if COVID-19 conditions change, will be made by analyzing factors such as public health and epidemiological data; governmental orders and recommendations; and the availability of personal protective equipment.
Phase I does not represent significant changes to the way we’re currently operating as critical personnel have remained on campus throughout the spring, but it allows us to progress toward later phases that permit additional on-campus activities. Our goal, if deemed appropriate as we monitor information over the next two weeks, is to advance to phase II beginning on June 29. Our intention is to reach phase III in time for the start of the autumn semester. We will share more information about phases III and IV at a later date.
The expectations of the campus environment in phase I include:
- All course instruction continues remotely.
- All individuals who can work remotely should continue to do so.
- Faculty or staff performing critical functions can remain at, or return to, work if certain health and safety conditions in the workspace are met, including physical distancing, cleaning materials and hand sanitizer are available and face coverings are worn in enclosed spaces and in areas where physical distancing can’t be maintained.
- No more than 25% of employees should be on campus.
- No events or meetings should be held in person.
- Common areas and gathering spaces remain closed.
The expectations of the campus environment in phase II include:
- All instruction continues to be provided remotely. Small pilot programs with in-person instruction may be launched in Summer B.
- All individuals who can work remotely continue to do so.
- No more than 50% of employees should be on campus.
- Some points of service may open, such as increased dining services, if certain health and safety conditions in the workspace are met, including physical distancing, cleaning materials and hand sanitizer are available and face coverings are worn in enclosed spaces and in areas where physical distancing can’t be maintained.
- Some small, in-person meetings or events may resume, though most should continue virtually.
- Some common areas/gathering spaces may open with health and safety precautions.
Critical staff who have already been working on campus may continue to do so during phase I; however, formalized plans will need to be submitted that detail how the unit will continue to implement health and safety prevention strategies. Any deans, department chairs and other unit leaders who feel it’s necessary for some of their faculty or staff to return to campus in phase I or phase II and would like to make such a request should also use this process. The request form is available here.
We will continue to follow our established processes and work with those in our community with health conditions or personal circumstances that affect their ability to return to campus.
USF’s Division of Human Resources will provide more information for faculty and staff in a separate communication later today.
It is imperative that we all see our return to campuses as a shared responsibility to adopt new behaviors for the health and safety of the entire university community, especially staying mindful of any individuals who are at high risk or may have family members considered as such. Members of our community must take it upon themselves to stay home if you feel sick, follow guidance for wearing face coverings, engage in physical distancing and practice good hygiene by frequently washing hands and using hand sanitizer.
As we move forward, our plans will be flexible and include contingencies to consider reverting back to a previous phase, if necessary. The health and safety of our students, faculty and staff remains our highest priority.
Please continue to check usf.edu/coronavirus for the latest information.
Steven C. Currall
President and Professor