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Florida’s University System Working Toward Reopening Campuses

Exterior of bookstore on USF campus
The chairman of the state university system’s Board of Governors outlined a process Tuesday aimed at reopening campuses this fall.";

While Florida businesses have started reopening this week, the same isn’t true for the state’s public university system. Students have been learning remotely since mid-March.

Now the system’s governing board is setting up its own task force to figure out how to reopen universities safely in the fall.

Syd Kitson is chairman of the Florida Board of Governors.

“Knowing there are 12 distinctive universities within our system with unique academic programs, student services, size and scope in physical plans, I believe under the constraints of the existing pandemic, a university plan to reopen will need to be deliberate, thoughtful, and with a clear, specific path,” said Syd Kitson, chairman of the Florida Board of  Governors.

Kitson, speaking during a conference call of the Board of Governors, did not detail how long the process might take.

But Florida State University’s provost on Monday told faculty members it is likely that not all courses will be offered in person.

“My direction for fall at this point is that we plan to offer only face-to-face (FTF) courses that cannot be done through other pedagogies,” FSU Provost Sally E. McRorie wrote in an email to faculty members.

The email, obtained by The News Service of Florida, did not provide a definitive list of courses that would be offered in person. But McRorie wrote that “some labs and experiential courses that require special equipment or environments or work done in small groups, will be offered” face to face.

“Most other courses will need to be distance learning/remote and be synchronous, asynchronous, or both,” she wrote.

A lawsuit recently filed by a University of Florida student against the board of governors calls on schools to refund course fees.

Information from The News Service of Florida was used in this report.

Mark Schreiner is the assistant news director and intern coordinator for WUSF News.