Nearly one year ago, UCF pivoted to remote learning and working due to COVID-19.
We have adapted to new ways of learning, working and living. We have learned how to live with the pandemic and adopt new behaviors to minimize its spread. And with the mass availability of many effective vaccines gaining momentum, we are hopeful for a return to something closer to normal, even though the pandemic will be part of our reality for some time.
It is in that spirit that the university is planning a full return to face-to-face learning, working and university activities beginning in the fall. We will continue to operate as we have been through the summer. We plan to increase our number of sections offered face-to-face in the Summer B term, but all summer courses will be conducted within the same physical distancing and other COVID policy requirements that currently are in effect in our classrooms.
A full return in the fall means that capacity restrictions will be lifted and most courses will be on campus. However, we expect that our other health measures — such as wearing masks, extra hand washing and increased cleaning — will continue. We will, of course, also offer a robust online learning program, as we did before COVID-19. And although most employees will return to campus, we expect, based on what we have learned from our experience during the pandemic, that some employees may be allowed to continue to work remotely part- or full-time. We may also need to continue to be cautious with employees with identified high-risk health concerns, depending on the pandemic’s progression.
UCF will continue to carefully monitor public health conditions and maintain regular communication with health officials, and we will be prepared to rapidly pivot to more remote operations and classes at any time if necessary.
In the weeks ahead, you will hear more about expectations for the transition to more face-to-face learning and working, including plans for the student experience and activities.
We hope to be selected as a mass vaccination site, an event for which we have well-developed plans. We are also awaiting the expansion of eligibility criteria by the State of Florida, along with the delivery of more vaccines. It is likely that essential workers – including faculty and staff members – and eventually students will be able to receive vaccines at UCF. If this indeed becomes possible, we will share information about eligibility and how to make appointments.
I know there are many questions and uncertainties. You can expect to hear more details from Academic Affairs, Human Resources and Student Development and Enrollment Services very soon.
Please stay vigilant – wear your mask properly, keep your physical distance, avoid large gatherings and wash or sanitize your hands frequently. Cases have been dropping recently in the state, the Orlando region and at UCF.
Let’s keep it going. Armor Up, Knights!
Michael D. Johnson
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs