University of South Florida

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Faculty Guidance and Advice for Fall 2020 (7/22)

Dear Colleagues,

With the beginning of the Fall semester a month away, I want to take this opportunity to share with you the first edition of USF’s Faculty Guidance and Advice for Fall 2020.  This document is intended to help you prepare for the opening of our new academic year on August 24 within the ever-changing context of this global pandemic.  I urge you to take the time to read this important document along with the many university plans, policies, procedures, guidance and support tools that we have provided. This document is intended for use by all full-time and part-time instructional faculty including graduate teaching assistants.

Faculty Guidance and Advice for Fall 2020 represents a thoughtful compilation of valuable contributions by many and is the product of helpful reviews and input from members of the USF Faculty Senate, the United Faculty of Florida, the Chairs’ Council Steering Committee, and university leadership including deans, vice provosts and vice presidents. Most importantly, this must be viewed as a living document since, as conditions change in the coming weeks so, most likely, will this guidance and advice. We will provide you with updates when they become available. 

As we continue to track the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, you should know that USF’s decisions on the resumption of classes will be guided by the evidence, informed by epidemiological data and the most current scientific findings. I know and understand that you are rightly concerned about current levels of community spread and the potential threat to you, your family members, colleagues, and students. My thoughts are with those members of the USF community who have been directly impacted by the virus. We know that this pandemic is affecting our students, faculty, staff, and their family members in different ways. Assuring the health and wellbeing of the USF community, across all campuses, will continue to be our highest priority as we plan for Fall 2020. This will be a shared responsibility for those students, faculty, and staff returning to campus, who will be required to comply with USF expectations regarding daily symptom checks, regular handwashing and sanitizing spaces, required physical distancing, mandatory face masking, and following testing, and self-isolation protocols.

Our students are anxiously awaiting the beginning of classes this Fall as they start or continue their journey toward earning a degree from USF. Access for Success has become a hallmark of our preeminent research university and, as one university, students will now be able to enroll in classes delivered from any of our three campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Sarasota-Manatee. Guided by intellectual rigor and relevance it is important that, together, we meet the high expectations of our students as they seek a world-class education delivered through a variety of instructional platforms and learning experiences. As you will see, we are providing a broad range of faculty professional development programs to support your design and delivery of classes this Fall. USF’s carefully planned and substantively modified Fall class schedule will be released this Friday July 24. However, as in years past, and especially given the changing public health conditions we are experiencing, the Fall class schedule will continue to be refined in the coming weeks.

As you plan your Fall classes, it is critically important that all instructional faculty prepare now to transition to quality online delivery at any point in the coming semester should conditions dictate, and no later than Thanksgiving. This contingency should be viewed as a default class delivery platform and both faculty and students need to be ready.

At the same time, and to the extent conditions permit, I encourage you to fully re-engage with your research, scholarly and creative activities which represents an important part of academic life for our university and so many of our faculty colleagues. I recognize that the pandemic has placed an additional burden on many as you prepare to deliver classes in a sometimes unfamiliar format, and limitations on professional travel may have affected your scholarly engagement in recent months. Yet, further contributing to your research profile will be essential to your career development as well as strengthening USF’s reputation as a top tier research university.

As you pore over the following pages you will notice that it is likely that we haven’t addressed all of your questions. That’s in part due to the continuing uncertainties we face for, as we’ve come to realize with regard to COVID-19, we are still learning much about this virus, its spread and the community’s response. We, of course, plan to provide you with additional information as it becomes available and decisions are forthcoming. Meanwhile, if you have questions please reach out to your department chair, college dean or send me a note at I should also note that President Currall and I, along with Dean Donna Petersen, Chair of the USF COVID-19 Task Force and your college dean, will host a series of information sessions where faculty members will have an opportunity to ask questions of USF’s Academic & Student Success Leadership and others. An invitation from your college dean to join via Microsoft Teams will follow in the coming week.

In closing, I’d like to take this opportunity to extend a special note of gratitude to Drs. Cindy DeLuca, Paul Dosal, Robert Bishop, Charles Adams, Jim Garey and so many other leaders on USF’s  Academic and Student Success Leadership Team for their continuing, tireless, and creative efforts in helping us navigate these difficult times.

Best regards,

Ralph C. Wilcox
Provost & Executive Vice President

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Coronavirus Updates

This is an evolving situation. Please refer to the most recent information presented.

USF students, faculty and staff: Please check your USF email frequently. Your email will be used to convey targeted information.

The University of South Florida continues to closely monitor the evolving coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The health and safety of our students, faculty and staff is our highest priority as university leaders work closely with local, state and federal agencies to share the most updated information.