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Friday, April 16, 2021

Florida Board of Governors prepares to reopen university campuses in Fall

The Florida Board of Governors is preparing to reopen campuses for the Fall semester, according to a press release the State University System issued Monday.

The Board, which oversees Florida’s 12 public universities under the State University System, put a task force together to develop guidelines for reopening. These will prioritize the safe return of students, faculty and staff to campus and prevent the spread of COVID-19, the release said.

The press release did not specify what these guidelines include or who is part of the task force.

UF aims to work with the Board to have students back on campus this Fall, said UF spokesperson Steve Orlando.

“We look forward to working in alignment with the Board of Governors on our plan for reopening the University of Florida,” he wrote in an email. “Our goal is to have students back on campus this fall, and we will move thoughtfully and carefully with the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff at the forefront of every decision we make.”

Orlando did not specify what a return to Fall will look like, but a potential staged-return has been discussed at previous Board of Trustees meetings.

In setting these guidelines, the Board said they will be mindful of each university’s circumstances, such as their surrounding urban population or rural environment, according to the press release.

Marshall Criser III, the State University System Chancellor, serves as the System’s chief executive and will present the guidelines to the Board of Governors in a public meeting May 28.

Based on the guidelines, individual universities will then present their own plans for the Fall to the Board in a meeting June 23, according to the press release.

Board of Governors Chair Sydney Kitson said the board has been working alongside science and medical professionals to enhance campus safety while making sure students succeed academically, according to the press release.

“As we move forward with a framework for the fall, we will be mindful that a healthy campus environment and academic rigor remain paramount,” Criser III said in the release.

Criser III could not be reached for comment as of Monday afternoon.

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