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September 9, 2020

I appreciate the efforts so many of you are making to ensure our students are receiving a high-quality education while your classes follow the university’s COVID-19 policy.

However, I am concerned — really, shocked — about several reports of faculty members not wearing face coverings during class and advising students that they can take theirs off. Wearing face coverings and practicing physical distancing are critical to preventing the spread of COVID-19.

I cannot emphasize enough how important our health measures are to prevent the spread of COVID-19. If a student tests positive in a face-to-face class, in general we will not need to quarantine the class — as long as everyone has been wearing face coverings and practicing physical distancing. That is how powerful these simple steps are to prevent infection.

Nonetheless, we have had to place one entire class on quarantine after a student who later tested positive attended a class where face coverings were not being worn, the faculty member moved the tables close together, and the class then ate together as a group. All of this risky behavior violated UCF’s policies.

It is important that faculty members model the behavior we expect of our students. They recognize faculty as authorities and experts. Demonstrating appropriate behavior helps show how much we care for our community and allows us to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 on our campus. Just as we will hold students accountable for behavior that violates our policies, faculty also are subject to progressive disciplinary action for not complying.

For our fall semester to be successful, we need the cooperation of our entire campus community — faculty, staff and students. Thank you for doing your part.

Michael D. Johnson, Ph.D.
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs