March 25, 2020
Over the past two weeks, we’ve sent you a lot of information, and you may be feeling confused or overwhelmed. But if there’s one thing I hope has been clear in each message, it’s this: We care about you and want you to stay safe.
Like other college students across the country, you’ve been grappling with the stress of juggling new assignments online, or moving back home, or losing a job, or trying to pay rent, or taking care of family members.
You’ve heard these are unprecedented times — and that you need to take this virus seriously to protect yourself, your friends and your loved ones. That’s one reason Orange County enacted its “stay at home” order for the next two weeks beginning Thursday. That means only going out for essential things like trips to the grocery store, and not to friends’ apartments for dinner.
The strain of all of this is wearing. But we want to help you keep going, and help you take care of yourself not just academically but personally. We will emerge from this COVID-19 crisis — and I know the same grit and determination that resonates with all of us in Knight Nation will help us get through the challenging times ahead.
New Updates on Semester Grading
We’ve heard from students who’ve requested a pass-fail grading option because of this semester’s significant disruptions and worked with academic and faculty leaders across campus to best support students during this difficult time. We’ve also heard from many who are concerned about not receiving a letter grade for their work.
That’s why students will have the option to select — for each of their Spring 2020 courses — whether they would like a satisfactory or unsatisfactory grade or a letter grade. This option will be available for students in most undergraduate and graduate programs, except medical students.
Details are still being finalized, but we want you to know that most of you will be able to make this choice. There are important factors to consider when making this decision, and we’ll soon be sharing that and more information about how and when you can select your grading preference.
Ultimately, we hope giving you this option will help ease some of the academic stress you’ve faced with the transition to remote learning.
And for those looking for additional resources to help with their new course formats, we have some helpful tips.
Student Support Services
Along with the switch to remote learning, many of our student support services also have moved online.
For any student who needs it, you can schedule a phone or virtual consultation with UCF’s Counseling and Psychological Services by calling 407-823-2811 or visiting their website.
UCF’s Knights Helping Knights Pantry is offering students to-go bags with up to 10 food and toiletry items for curbside pickup. If you’re interested in this service, please fill out this form to order a bag.
Curbside pickup is available from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at the loading dock behind the Knights Pantry in parking lot B9.
Our graduating seniors and their families will be happy to know that we have continued to explore alternative ways of celebrating this important milestone.
While UCF — like all other state universities — will not be hosting in-person commencement ceremonies this spring, we will be organizing a virtual commencement for our spring graduates. Details are being worked out and will be shared soon.
Additionally, we are looking at ways to recognize this semester’s graduates at a special rescheduled ceremony later this year. More information on that will come later.
Housing and Refunds
Finally, I want to end with an update related to many questions we have received regarding refunds for on-campus students’ housing and meal plans.
This is an area our team has been extensively working on during the past week. Our Board of Trustees tomorrow will be considering options for refunding a portion of spring housing costs for on-campus student residents. This would include residence halls and housing communities on the main campus and at the Rosen College. We are in discussions with the owners of NorthView and UnionWest, and both are supportive of offering partial refunds for the spring term.
UCF is advocating on behalf of our students who reside off campus. Ultimately, any decisions about refunds will be up to individual off-campus properties and management companies.
We also hope to have more information to share soon with our students who have purchased meal plans about credits that may be available to them for future use.
These and other important updates will continue to be posted to the UCF Coronavirus website. I encourage you to check it frequently for the latest information and resources to help you during this difficult time.
While we all need to continue practicing social distancing, we also must keep reaching out (virtually) and supporting each other. We have an incredible team of faculty members, administrators, student support staff, advisors, counselors and others who are 100 percent committed to helping you.
And I could not be prouder of how our campus community continues to respond in this most challenging time.
Because together we will … Charge On!
Thad Seymour Jr.