Florida coronavirus: State universities preparing to reopen campuses in fall

Hillsborough County

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – State universities in Florida are preparing to reopen campuses in fall, the Board of Governors announced Monday.

The State University System’s task force has been working for several weeks now on a framework to reopen university campuses for fall. State University System Chancellor Marshall Criser III was asked this week to develop guidelines to present to the board.

The public meeting is set to take place on May 28. After that, universities will be asked to develop individual plans based on the guidelines. Universities will present their plans to the Board of Governors on June 23.

“The task force is focusing on developing guidelines that will prioritize the health and well-being of students, faculty, staff, vendors and visitors as our institutions continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic,” Board of Governors Chair Syd Kitson said. “Our measured and thoughtful approach will be informed by science and medical professionals, and we are working hard to develop sound guidelines that enhance campus safety, as well as continue to meet the board’s rigorous academic performance and student success goals.”

The board says it recognizes that each university is set in a unique environment.

“As we move forward with a framework for the fall, we will be mindful that a healthy campus environment and academic rigor remain paramount,” Chancellor Criser, III said.

8 On Your Side spoke with USF rising senior Gabriel Moraes, an international student from Brazil.

“The semester was kind of like a roller coaster,” he said, “but as students we cannot complain.”

He shared some ideas of what he thinks the campus could look like in the fall.

“Maybe the dining halls, I think tables more separate and enforce the social distance of six feet apart and I think classes might have less people,” he said.

While learning online during the pandemic, Moraes said he’s missing what he enjoys most about the college experience.

“Going to classes and interacting with other students and making connections is probably one of the best things the university can give you,” he said, “so for sure I’m hoping for the classes to be in-person.”

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