The Florida Board of Governors approved plans for reopening submitted by Florida State University and the 11 other public universities for the fall semester, with restrictions and guidelines due to COVID-19. The board voted on the reopening plans at the University of Central Florida Fairwinds Alumni Center Tuesday afternoon.
Each of the plans addressed the guidelines outlined in the State University System of Florida Blueprint for Reopening Campuses approved by the Board of Governors on May 28, 2020.
“I am immensely impressed with the strategic approach to reopening our campuses evidenced in all of our university plans,” said Sydney Kitson, chair of the Board of Governors. “While the Fall semester will likely present challenges to all of us, I am confident our universities will be prepared to respond to these challenges in a manner that reflects the expertise and dedication within the State University System.”
Florida State University presented its plan for the fall semester beginning August 24 and ends December 11 as scheduled. The university will not be having any in-person classes after the Thanksgiving break of the semester. The plan emphasized a “Stay Heathy FSU”, setting specific social distancing guidelines for the university’s students and employees.
“What can you do to keep students, faculty and staff as safe as possible? That’s throughout our program. It’s a very strong emphasis in our plan,” FSU President John Thrasher said.
Most of the classes will be taught remote learning online, however classes like arts and lab courses will have a higher priority for in-person instruction. Other courses may also be offered in-person on the main campus as well.
“I really believe in face to face classes to the extent the university can do it feasibly,” said Thrasher.
The presentation addressed that all members of the FSU community are required to wear facemarks, visitors included.
All FSU buildings are going to be cleaned, sanitized and disinfected according to the CDC recommendations using EPA-registered cleaning agents.
As far as FSU football this fall, the university athletics department will adhere to the guidance by the NCAA and the ACC. All student athletes are going to be tested for the virus before returning to the athletic facilities and daily screenings will take place at specific entrances.
FSU is having drive-through testing facilities where employees and students can get tested for the virus before returning to campus.
The university is partnering with the Florida Department of Health to establish FSU Contact Tracing Initiative.
FSU is making one of its on campus residence hall, Rodgers Hall, an 80-bed facility, and several smaller facilities for the 14-day quarantining of residential students who have tested positive of the virus.
The university has many international program options where students can take their FSU experience abroad. In the university’s plan, the centers located in London, Florence and Valencia will not have courses available this fall semester.
“Our collective effort to develop a System Blueprint facilitated our ability to create university plans that are greater than the sum of their parts,” said Marshall M. Criser, III, chancellor of the State University System. “We have a System commitment to ensuring student success, and we will continue to work with the Department of Health, the Division of Emergency Management, and engage our students, faculty, staff, and communities as we monitor the ever-changing needs of our campuses.”