With a reopening blueprint, Florida public universities could resume classes this fall

DORAL, FL — The Florida Board of Governors unanimously approved a reopening blueprint for Florida’s 12 public universities on Thursday. Classes could resume this fall semester amid the coronavirus pandemic and the challenges it brings. 

The reopening blueprint works as a guide for each state university so that they can develop individualized plans to resume classes in a safe manner. 

It was developed over the past month by a task force of university presidents, along with other school officials and emergency managers, but each school must present its own specific plan to the Board of Governors by June.

“We really must recognize that each university is different, and therefore each must present a plan that is best suited for its unique circumstances and characteristics,” Board Chairman Sydney Kitson said to WSVN- Channel 7.

“Using the blueprint for reopening campuses, we will be stronger and more successful in achieving our goals and focusing on the health and welfare of our students, faculty, staff, vendors, volunteers and visitors.”

This would mean, classes would not work under the same conditions they were before the coronavirus shutdown last spring. On the contrary, now universities have to develop a plan that combines face-to-face and online instructions, as well as other changes, in order to meet social distancing and to preserve the welfare of all students, staff personnel and visitors. 

The safety measures adopted by universities to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among campuses should be in line with guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), including the use of face coverings and hand sanitizers.

In addition, each university must have a plan for intercollegiate athletics and other student extracurricular activities that could imply a higher risk to the community. 

Also, according to the reopening blueprint, universities need to develop a COVID-19 testing plan, a process for health care workers to rapidly respond to “hot spots” on the campus, while they also need to work closely with the Florida Department of Health on contact tracing and surveillance.

Lastly, schools need to consider students who live on campus and test positive for coronavirus and have suitable facilities for them to be isolated.

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