The University of South Florida’s plan to resume more on-campus operations and some face-to-face courses, in-person services and other activities in the fall was approved this afternoon by the Florida Board of Governors.
The four-phase plan includes precautions to promote the health and well-being of students, faculty and staff while continuing to deliver high-quality academic programs, conduct high-impact research activities and carry out the university’s other core missions. USF’s plan is modeled in a way that provides flexibility to adapt depending on any changes to COVID-19 conditions.
“The approval of our plan by the Board of Governors represents a significant step forward in the process of bringing University of South Florida students, faculty and staff back to our campuses,” USF President Steven Currall said. “The health and safety of the university community will remain our highest priority as we move forward.”
Each phase of USF’s plan limits the number of individuals on campus and includes measures to reduce community transmission of COVID-19 and mitigate the possible exposure of returning students, faculty and staff. USF will make decisions to advance to the next phase, or scale back operations if conditions change, by analyzing factors such as COVID-19 data, governmental orders, public health recommendations and the availability of personal protective equipment.
“USF is fortunate to have world-class public health and medical experts among our faculty to help us through this process, a benefit not every university in the state or nation has available to them,” Currall said.
In the fall, USF will deliver classes using a flexible hybrid approach that includes a mix of fully face-to-face courses, fully online courses and blended courses that are partially in-person and partially online. USF previously announced that all courses and final exams will shift to an online format after Thanksgiving break to help minimize travel and the possibility of individuals carrying the virus back with them into the USF and Tampa Bay communities.
Prevention measures will be implemented on USF campuses, including face covering and physical distancing requirements, reconfigured facilities to limit the number of people in spaces and enhanced cleaning protocols. Under the guidance of USF Health and USF Student Health Services, procedures for symptom screening, COVID-19 testing and monitoring for the virus within the university community will be in place. Students, faculty and staff will be strongly encouraged to stay home if they feel sick and practice good hygiene by frequently washing hands and using hand sanitizer.