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USF Launches Phase One Of Reopening Plan

USF Front Entrance
The University of South Florida formally enters phase one of its reopening plan during the coronavirus pandemic, but not too many major changes are expected.

The University of South Florida is rolling out its plan to reopen its campuses.

Phase one of a four phase plan approved last week by the Board of Trustees goes into effect Monday.

However, since USF never completely closed because of the coronavirus, university officials said Friday there will not be any significant changes to operations.

Echoing his presentation of the reopening plan to trustees last week, USF System President Steven Currall said Friday that they’ll be keeping a close eye on COVID-19 developments both on campus and in the surrounding communities.

“As we move forward, our plans will be flexible and include contingencies to consider reverting back to a previous phase, if necessary.  The health and safety of our students, faculty and staff remains our highest priority,” he said in an email to employees.

READ MORE: USF Trustees Approve Reopening Plan

Summer classes will continue to take place entirely online, non-critical faculty and staff will continue working remotely, and no more than 25 percent of employees are allowed on campus. In addition, no in-person events or meetings should be held, and common areas and other gathering spaces are still closed.

Face coverings will be required in all enclosed areas, like classrooms, laboratories, and offices, as well as in other spaces where physical distances cannot be maintained.

Officials hope to move USF to phase two on June 29, depending on developments over the next two weeks.

That phase will add more services – such as dining services – provided health and safety conditions like physical distancing are met. Some common areas and gathering spaces may also open under those same precautions.

Up to 50 percent of employees will be allowed on campus, although people who can work remotely should continue to do so. However, classes will remain online, but small pilot programs with in-person instruction will be allowed.

Small, in-person meetings may resume but are encouraged to continue virtually. They also want to be in phase three by the start of the autumn semester August 24, when a mix of in person and online classes would start.  

USF’s plan still needs to be approved by the Florida Board of Governors, which is scheduled to consider the reopening strategies of all 12 state public universities at its meeting June 23 in Orlando.