Faculty and staff of the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering received an email memo May 15 outlining the college’s plans to reopen in the Fall, according to UF spokesperson Steve Orlando.
Orlando forwarded the memo sent by College of Engineering Dean Cammy Abernathy to The Alligator and said that Dean Diane McFarlin of the College of Journalism and Communications sent a similar email to faculty and staff.
“Plans for the Fall are currently being developed and will be presented to the State University System of Florida’s Board of Governors during their June 23 meeting,” Orlando wrote in an email.
The Florida Board of Governors unanimously voted to reopen schools in the Fall during a virtual meeting Thursday. The decision follows the Board’s announcement May 18 that a task force will develop guidelines to allow students and faculty to return to campus safely.
During the meeting, Board Chancellor Marshall M. Criser III said under the plan, universities will screen students and faculty to identify who should be tested before returning to campus.
UF President Kent Fuchs issued a statement confirming that the university is working with the Board to reopen campus and that they will present UF’s official plans to the Board in the June 23 meeting.
According to the email sent by Abernathy, Fuchs has directed the university’s departments to start reopening campus. To bring employees back on campus, the university has initiated a screening and testing program.
Screening, which consists of a survey on recent travel or potential symptoms, is required for all faculty and staff before returning to campus, Abernathy wrote. A nasal swab test is not mandatory, but highly encouraged, according to the email.
The college’s main goals are to restore the college to full functionality and protect faculty, staff and students to the greatest extent possible, Abernathy wrote. Each employee returning to campus in the Summer will receive one cloth mask and two disposable masks, or more as needed.
The email said faculty and staff who have been working on campus over the past two months as essential personnel were the first to take part in the screening and testing process two weeks ago.
The college’s supervisors determined which staff members could not perform their work from home and began screening and testing them last week, according to the email. Faculty members involved in research were also instructed to outline which facilities they need to use and will be able to access them once they undergo screening.
Starting June 1, faculty members who want to access their offices over the summer will be screened and tested, too, Abernathy wrote.
All staff, administrators and 12-month faculty should arrange for screening and testing before June 30, but faculty returning to campus in the Fall should complete screening and testing by Aug. 15 to avoid potential delays, according to the email.
In terms of class instruction, Abernathy wrote those who teach experiential courses, such as labs, prepared a detailed plan for face-to-face delivery that was due to each department May 20. But those working remotely should continue to do so unless told otherwise.