On Tuesday, the Florida Board of Governors approved Florida Polytechnic University’s plan for resuming its on-campus operations in the fall.
The university has put into action a “Blueprint for Returning to Campus,” which details the steps the university is taking to provide a healthy environment for students, faculty, and staff amid the COVID-19 pandemic, while continuing to deliver a high-quality STEM education.
The plan outlines how Florida Poly will begin the fall semester on Aug. 20 providing a primarily in-person academic delivery model. However, the university will have the capacity for a smooth transition to a remote scenario if it becomes required.
“At the heart of our actions is a steadfast desire to bring our Florida Poly family back to an environment that is flexible, responsive, and prepared to work together to minimize the spread of COVID-19,” Florida Poly President Randy K. Avent said in the plan. “No plan we can make will ensure that no one falls ill. But as our university moves forward together, we hope our actions can help minimize those risks.”
The majority of classes will be delivered in a traditional face-to-face format with appropriate social distancing measures. A fraction of courses will be delivered using an online, engaged model. All classes and formally scheduled activities will be remote after the Thanksgiving break.
Personal responsibility and accountability are a critical component of the plan. New personal health guidelines are detailed, including a daily symptom monitoring survey, non-contact temperature measurement stations at building entrances, and the required use of face coverings.
The university also established a Medical Advisory Board composed of local health experts to provide guidance on methods to implement testing and contact tracing protocols, as well as surveillance measures. Board members include representatives from healthcare providers such as Lakeland Regional Health, and experts in infectious disease and public health from the University of Florida, University of South Florida, University of Central Florida, and Florida International University.
Other components of the plan include:
· Six-foot distance signs and direction markers will be placed on the floors and in common areas of campus.
· Class sizes will be managed, and classrooms and common spaces will be rearranged for social distancing.
· Cleaning protocols have been updated according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.
· Residence halls will open with enhanced cleaning protocols and enhanced staff training. Isolation and quarantine spaces for residential students will be reserved to handle different scenarios.
· Students, faculty, and staff will be required to take online COVID-19 training.
The Board of Governors also confirmed the reappointment of Avent as president. The reappointment officially extends the term of his contract through July 6, 2021.
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