Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,
As you prepare for next week’s Thanksgiving break and the conclusion of on-campus instruction for the semester, I’m writing to share important reminders and to express my thanks and gratitude.
Despite the challenges we’ve encountered this semester, at each turn you have demonstrated a consistent commitment to the well-being of our community. While USF’s tremendous resiliency doesn’t surprise me, it does reinforce my immense gratitude for being part of a community that is unified by a responsibility to adapt our thinking, traditions and behaviors to prioritize the health and safety of others.
The pandemic is not over, and as we embark on a well-earned break, we must remain vigilant and follow the guidelines and protocols that are known to limit the impacts of the virus on our campuses and communities.
The State University System of Florida has released important recommendations based on guidelines from the CDC and the American College Health Association. I urge each of you to review them here. Travel is known to increase risk, so extra vigilance is warranted. If you must travel, be sure to review regulations that may be in place at your destination.
As previously announced, after the Thanksgiving break, USF will conclude its on-campus instruction for the fall semester. Starting November 30 through the end of the semester, all classes will be held online, and no in-person events or activities will take place on our campuses. The intent of this action is to minimize the risk of exposure among the USF community related to travel and gatherings during the break. To also minimize this risk, residential students who plan to remain in their residence halls for the duration of the fall semester are strongly encouraged to avoid travel and large gatherings during Thanksgiving break. Similarly, faculty and staff should consider the risks associated with travel and gathering with others and plan to self-isolate after the holidays or at a minimum, be extra vigilant in following all mitigation measures to prevent any further exposure.
As we look ahead to the spring semester, planning is well underway, and we will share more details in the coming weeks to help you prepare. For students, there are steps you can take now:
Registration is currently open for freshmen, sophomore, junior, senior, graduate and professional students. For the best chance to get the classes and the instructors you want, it’s wise to register now. USF’s finalized spring course schedule offers an expanded, flexible mix of face-to-face and online courses designed to address your needs.
You can also sign up now for residential housing. The Spring 2021 Housing Application is available online for our Tampa and St. Petersburg campuses and we encourage you to review the benefits of this option.
For anyone coming to campus, we will again require the Return to Campus COVID-19 Assessment be filled out before the start of the spring semester.
And, in the spirit of friendly competition, you can join me and the USF Student Government in our campaign to hold ourselves Account-a-Bull in the fight against COVID-19 by taking a pledge to maintain health and safety guidelines. It’s easy to sign the online pledge form to reinforce your commitment to community. Our goal is to collect more signatures than our friends at the University of Central Florida before the start of our football game against UCF on November 27. I’ve already sent UCF President Cartwright the words to the USF fight song for him to sing on social media when we win!
Above all, remember that we’re in this together. We will prevail.
With thanks and gratitude for all you do, I wish you all a very happy and safe Thanksgiving and holiday break.