July 14, 2020
Since we posted our updated class schedules on July 1, many of you and your families have asked good questions related to this fall.
There is no easy, one-size-fits-all answer. But I would like to explain more about why we are working hard to welcome many of you back to campus this fall, and what the fall semester will look like for those of you learning remotely.
Before doing that, please know that I share in the very real concerns about rising COVID-19 cases in Florida, as well as the increased stress placed on our state’s health care systems. Our academic plans for the fall are purposefully flexible, and we are ready to pivot to more remote instruction should that become necessary.
We remain in regular communication with state and local health officials, and your health and well-being are at the center of all of our discussions and decisions. No matter how your fall semester ends up looking, know that we care about you and are here to help you.
Now is the time for you to review your options and make a personal decision about your plans. We want you to choose the approach that works best for you, and we encourage you to reach out to your advisor for guidance during this process.
Students count on UCF for the education and the personal and professional growth that come with a university experience. We know many of you are missing the in-person experiences, both planned and spontaneous, that occur in our classrooms, research labs, libraries, student organization meetings and residence halls.
Some classes also are more difficult to teach and take remotely. Performing arts, clinical experiences and engineering senior design projects may not translate as well to a remote format, and we prefer to offer those types of courses in person if possible.
If you have face-to-face classes, our classrooms will look much different. For example, classes designed for 100 or 200 students may only seat 25 or 50 respectively due to physical distancing. We will require everyone to wear face coverings, and we are taking many other protective measures for the benefit of our campus community’s health and well-being.
Only students intending to attend in person should take face-to-face classes. However, we are encouraging our faculty to make provisions to ensure that students who become ill or must be quarantined or isolated can keep up with their coursework during that time.
We understand that some of you wish to take a fully remote schedule, particularly if you or someone living with you is in a high-risk category of COVID-19, and we want you to have a high-quality educational experience while learning remotely.
We have been working hard since spring to enhance our already strong online experience, and we continue to help faculty members prepare courses that foster effective remote learning.
Know that whichever path you choose, you will have options to engage with your peers outside the classroom. Although there will be some in-person components of student experiences, we anticipate that most of our student services, activities and events will remain virtual. Our student leaders are also finding ways to connect with those of you who are not on campus, and we will support their efforts to keep student engagement robust.
I remain inspired by the drive and perseverance of our students and faculty during this difficult time. Let’s remember that we are all in this together, and that our community’s health and well-being start with each one of us doing our part to reduce further spread of COVID-19.
Armor Up, Knights, and Charge On.
Michael D. Johnson, Ph.D.
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs