Everyone at UNF will wear a face-covering while inside under preliminary plan

The University of North Florida Board of Trustees on Monday approved a preliminary blueprint for returning to campus this fall.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The University of North Florida Board of Trustees on Monday approved a preliminary blueprint for returning to campus this fall.

As requested by the Florida State University System (SUS), the draft blueprint provides operational strategies in the five priority areas of a healthy campus environment, a healthy community environment, COVID-19 testing, contact tracing and surveillance and academic program delivery, UNF said.

READ | Draft Blueprint for Returning to Campus, Fall 2020

“This draft blueprint represents the combined efforts of the COVID-19 Task Force, four distinct working groups, and continued input from across the Osprey community to ensure a thoughtful and responsible return to campus this fall,” said UNF President David Szymanski. “The blueprint prioritizes the health and wellness of our students, faculty, and staff as we continue to deliver the enriching experience students have come to expect from UNF.”

Planning for the fall includes a mix of remote and in-person classes. There will also be courses that include a combination of the two formats.

Priority will be given to “experiential courses," classes where you really need to be there to learn.

UNF will establish capacity limits for each classroom, promising to reduce class sizes or move to larger on-campus venues.

Already, UNF has relatively smaller class sizes. Only 13% of UNF classes have 50 or more students with none at 200 students or more.

Everyone on-campus — students, faculty, and staff — will be required to wear face coverings indoors and even outdoors if social distancing isn’t possible.

The university says it has new occupancy guidelines for residence halls and will set aside space for students who need quarantine.

How will the school know who needs to quarantine? The blueprint says the university is developing a smartphone app for screenings.

How will UNF enforce requirements for wearing masks or observing quarantines?

That’s not spelled out entirely, but UNF stressed that enforcement will come through the Human Resources Department and policies including the Student Code of Conduct.

Dates for the start and end of the semester remain unchanged but like Jacksonville University decided, students will not return to campus following the Thanksgiving break.

Final exams will be conducted online.

UNF said the draft plan is solely intended to provide an overview of the University’s strategy and plans as guided by the SUS blueprint and will continue to evolve with information and feedback provided and as the status of COVID-19 changes.

“The Board of Trustees sincerely appreciates the thoughtful and diligent efforts that were put into this draft blueprint and addressing the SUS priority areas,” said Kevin Hyde, UNF Board of Trustees Chair. “We look forward to the continued input and insights from our greater UNF community as adjustments and refinements are made to the plan and the COVID-19 virus continues to unfold.”

To gather further input, UNF will be holding several town hall meetings over the next month with faculty, staff, and students.

In addition, a web portal will be launched in the coming week to provide all members of the Osprey community an opportunity to comment and provide recommendations.

About the Author:

Kent Justice co-anchors News4Jax's 5 p.m., 10 and 11 p.m. newscasts weeknights and reports on government and politics. He also hosts "This Week in Jacksonville," Channel 4's hot topics and politics public affairs show each Sunday morning at 9 a.m.