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The people of UCF have consistently amazed me with what I’ve come to realize is the defining characteristic of Knight Nation: grit.

Grit, perseverance, determination, resilience. Whatever you call it, we are a community that always finds a way to overcome every obstacle and move forward. And we’ve faced an unprecedented challenge these past few weeks with COVID-19.

I know these are extremely difficult times for everyone. Because we’re not just professionals. We’re parents. We’re caregivers. We’re neighbors.

I just want to say how proud I am of our faculty and staff members, who, at the same time they’re taking care of our students, also are taking care of their families and loved ones.

Remote Working Update
As Wednesday’s UCF Alert said, the period of remote work for employees will continue until further notice.

For everyone’s health and safety, buildings will be locked to all employees, with the exception of those who have been approved by their dean or vice president as being critical to the university’s continued operation. These employees include: first responders, healthcare professionals, supply chain personnel, critical infrastructure support personnel, approved researchers and instructors, and certain contractors.

Employees who have this designation know it and have already had appropriate discussions with their supervisors. Employees who don’t fall into these categories should continue working remotely.

Also starting today through April 9, UCF will provide paid administrative leave to employees who are unable to work on campus and unable to work remotely. This leave applies to faculty, administrative and USPS employees.

We hope this will help with the financial strain the pandemic has caused so many in our campus community whose jobs don’t translate to remote work.

Families First Coronavirus Response Act
Starting April 1, when the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act takes effect, faculty and staff — along with eligible OPS employees — may qualify for emergency leave.

All other faculty, administrative and USPS employees who do not qualify for the federal aid and who cannot work remotely will be provided administrative leave through April 9.

Employees not available for work due to illness or personal time must take sick or annual leave per UCF policy.
UCF HR will share more detailed guidance about the federal legislation and will continue to provide updates directly to departments via each office’s HR liaison.

Ingenuity and Compassion
At Tuesday’s Board of Trustees meeting, I shared the ingenuity of our faculty members and our Division of Digital Learning team. In one week, they helped transition nearly 5,000 face-to-face course sections to remote delivery, and helped our faculty members convert another 700 mixed-mode sections fully online.

In the past week, I’ve also heard many stories of our community’s compassion and creativity. Among the many examples, professors and staff are sewing masks for our healthcare providers and developing free educational podcasts for teachers and families caring for people with disabilities in a new world of virtual learning.

Our lives have been disrupted, and we’ve taken a path none of us could have predicted. But seeing the grit and care shown by our faculty and staff, I’m confident we will get through this, together.

Thank you for all you do and … let’s keep Charging On!