Professors give opinions on uncertainty of spring semester

Hayley Simonson, Police Reporter

Several UNF professors have come out against a full return to campus for the Spring 2021 semester in anonymous statements to Spinnaker. One even went as far as to call the University’s president a “yes-man” to the Board of Governors.

Professors at the University of North Florida have their fair share of opinions as cases of COVID-19 continue to climb in the United States, while the debate over reopening schools continues. Since the pandemic began, faculty and students have been participating in an ongoing guessing game on what the format of college courses will continue to look like. Schools around the country are debating on how to format their classes for students to succeed, while also staying safe.  

Professors have been asked to submit their Spring 2021 semester requests early, so that students can take the necessary steps to prepare. The official format of courses for the Spring 2020 schedule will be released to students October 30, 2020.

University of North Florida professors expressed their anonymous opinions on the spring semester: 

“Faculty need the same choices in spring that we had in fall regarding teaching online. Any mandate to teach face-to-face is dangerous and coercive. Many of our students are grateful to not be put at risk, and not put their families at risk, even if we might all miss the way things used to be. If we are closing after Thanksgiving, because it is too dangerous in the fall for students to come back to campus after being home, coming back the first week of January is, by the university’s own logic, more dangerous still. It is also more likely to correspond with a second winter wave of infections. We will likely already have a second wave soon with the governor’s reckless, “everything is back to normal because I say so” order. I am worried that our university president is just a “yes-man” to the Board of Governors. A university should hold higher standards of evidence and the scientific method. A forced reopening is also an ableist policy that risks the lives of students and teachers for the sake of profits and state politics.” – Anonymous Professor 

“I think it’s very clear that we should continue to operate in the same manner as we are this semester. Dr. Fauci was not in favor of the governor’s decision to open Florida for stage three.  We are putting our students, their families, our staff and faculty in danger. We are doing well with CIRT’s support. I am very against opening and going back to normal.” – Anonymous Professor 

“Due to the mismanagement of the COVID crisis by the governor and the president throughout last spring, summer, and now this fall, we are not in a position to safely open the campus fully this coming spring. This breaks my heart, because I dearly miss seeing my students face to face, but I know that our faculty are up for the challenge of delivering high-quality instruction through creative means virtually to ensure that everyone can remain safe.” – Anonymous Professor 

“Without the availability of a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine, it is simply irresponsible and dangerous to fully reopen the university for the spring semester. The safety of our students, staff and faculty is paramount.” – Anonymous Professor 


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