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May 18, 2021

Faculty Colleagues:

I am sincerely grateful for how you saw us through a historically difficult time. We have navigated this pandemic thus far with great success because of your kindness, caring, and support of one another and our students, along with very hard work and too much stress.

Thank you for all that you do for our university community.

Federal and state guidance about COVID-19 has changed rapidly over the past weeks, and I want to share some of the many changes that are underway.

Summer and Fall

We are beginning to transition to more normal operations. The broad access to vaccines means that all students, faculty and staff willing and able to be vaccinated can do so. The latest guidance from the CDC, coupled with the governor’s executive order and additional guidance from the Florida Board of Governors, led to some immediate changes. Most notably, we have lifted the requirement to wear face coverings on campus. Individuals may still choose to wear face coverings, but we can no longer require them in classrooms, offices or other indoor and outdoor spaces.

COVID protocols that will continue include contact tracing, random testing of students, and the COVID Line.

We planned the summer schedule during spring, before these changes to COVID public health guidance. As a result, the summer schedules were based on reduced capacities, and more courses than in typical summers are scheduled to be remote. We will maintain the COVID spacing during Summer A.

By the beginning of Summer B, classrooms will be restored to their usual capacity and seating configurations. We will increase registration limits in Summer B to more typical limits. This will probably not greatly change the number of students in most classes, since most registration is already complete. In some cases we added extra sections to accommodate demand. Classes with wait lists will likely end up with more students.

For fall, we are planning an ordinary, pre-pandemic course schedule.

Because of the availability of vaccines, we will not provide exemptions from face-to-face teaching this summer or fall as we did this past year. Faculty who need accommodations should utilize the ADA process.

More detailed information for returning staff and non-teaching faculty (e.g., librarians, instructional designers) soon will be communicated. A new policy that will permit remote work by some employees with approval will be available soon.

And now, a routine reminder about fall planning. Please remember that fall includes football, and game days may influence your course planning. UCF’s home opener against Boise State will be Sept. 2, 3, or 4, so it may be played on a weeknight. We will host Memphis on Friday evening, Oct. 22. Game times are not set. We will keep you updated on any impacts that weeknight games may have on class schedules and campus operations.

Future Planning

President Cartwright, the leadership team and many others have been working to improve budgeting and operations. We anticipate moving quickly on strategic planning, in consultation with faculty and others, as the new academic year begins.

Very soon we will announce a call for proposals for strategic investments to improve academic excellence. This is all to support a vision I find truly significant: to make UCF a top 50 major metropolitan research university — but one that is determined to help students from all walks of life succeed in their academic and lifelong goals.

Thank you for your hard work and support, and please enjoy your summer.

Michael Johnson
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs