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BOG approves fall reopening plans

Siddie Friar, Intern Reporter

Campuses across Florida prepare to welcome students back to campus for Fall semester, with some changes and new health guidelines.
Campuses across Florida prepare to welcome students back to campus for Fall semester, with some changes and new health guidelines.

During a 5-hour-long meeting on Tuesday all 12 state universities presented their fall reopening plans to the board, all 12 were approved. Any changes to the approved plans will need to be approved by the board going forward. 

This was the first in-person meeting the board has had since March. Disinfecting happened at regular intervals, some people were physically in attendance while others participated via a private zoom room, the entire meeting was live-streamed on YouTube and The Florida Channel. 

 

The plans for bringing students back to campus varied depending on the specifics of the campus but overall there were common themes. 

Each university tied their plans back to the evolving CDC guidelines and indicated they were working with both state and local health agencies to mobilize resources and create a ‘culture of care’ for all students and staff at the universities and their extended communities. 

Part of UNF’s presentation for welcoming students to campus this fall.
Part of UNF’s presentation for welcoming students to campus this fall.

All the universities are planning to offer hybrid classes, combining online as well as in-person instruction as appropriate, and generally reduced class sizes, with contingencies to move all courses completely online should outbreaks occur. Most universities are planning to shift to fully remote learning after the Thanksgiving break, or at the very least making returning to campus optional at that time. 

Several universities will be offering on-campus testing for students. Some will aim for 100 percent testing, while others will focus on specific populations, like athletes, those living in on-campus housing, and symptomatic individuals. All campuses have plans and beds available, both off and on campus, should students need to quarantine. Meals, professional care, and capacity to complete schoolwork where physically able will be provided for any quarantined students. 

Temperature checks will be conducted at most campuses during move-in and first weeks of classes. Poly Tech is even employing no-contact thermal camera systems in high traffic areas. Masks will be required for indoor spaces, some masks will be provided by the schools. Large investments in hand sanitizer and sanitizing stations around campus have been made. 

All campuses indicated they would be modifying housing to offer individual and reduced occupancy dorms to accommodate for social distancing. Clubs that provide housing, like sororities and fraternities, will have to submit their own plans detailing how they will keep their members safe and what protocols will be employed in residences.  Meal service across campuses will also change slightly with the elimination of any buffet or self-serve options. 

From all presenters, there was a general attitude of making sure students receive the caliber of services they are accustomed to, or for new students, what they were promised upon acceptance. Several speakers acknowledged this challenge given the current climate and indicated they were on board to give their all.

It was indicated that some students falling ill will be inevitable. Quickly identifying and containing outbreaks will be a priority, and all campuses will be ready to pivot back to distance learning if the need arises. 

In addition to the presentation and passing of all proposed fall plans, several presidential reappointments were made. Each reappointment was unanimously approved. 

There was Dr. John Kelly who was reappointed as President for Florida Atlantic University through February 28, 2021. There were several incentives to keep Kelly on board including an annual retention bonus of 10% of his base salary and a multi-year retention bonus of $350,000. 

Dr. Donal O’Shea was reappointed as the President for New College through June 2021, receiving a base salary of $305,000 with several stipends and bonuses including $40,000 for housing, a $10,000 discretionary fund and $5,000 for the use of his personal car. 

Dr. Randy Avent was reappointed as the President for Florida Polytechnic through July 2021, with a base salary of $441,797.

All of the schools reopening presentations as well as details about the contracts of the reappointed can be found here.

President Syzmanski presented UNF’s reopening plan and discussed our valuable and talented community partners who will be supporting UNF through the public hea
President Syzmanski presented UNF’s reopening plan and discussed our valuable and talented community partners who will be supporting UNF through the public health crisis.

___

For more information or news tips, or if you see an error in this story or have any compliments or concerns, contact [email protected].

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