UF, Florida universities move online in response to coronavirus

Students encouraged to return home for at least 2 weeks

SKY News
March 12, 2020 - 7:25 am
University of Florida

TALLAHASSEE – The Florida State University system took action Wednesday to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, ordering all of its campuses to transition to remote instruction and encouraging students who live on campus to return home for at least two weeks.

In a message posted on the university system’s blog, administrators addressed students who have spring break plans.

“State universities with students who have returned from spring break, which includes Florida Gulf Coast University, Florida International University, Florida Polytechnic University, and the University of Florida, should implement a process to transition to remote instruction immediately and encourage students to return home for at least two weeks. Each university will provide detailed information to (its) students, faculty, and staff at the earliest possible time regarding this transition.”

The directive calls for all campuses to continue providing essential services, such as dining, counseling and health services.

But administrators urged students not to remain in on-campus housing.

On Wednesday, the University of Florida emailed all faculty instructing them to move classes online no later than March 16 to avoid face-to-face contact.

UF Provost Joe Glover sent a memo to academic deans Monday to recommend the change, but that changed to a mandate on Wednesday.

UF told instructors they should continue to follow their syllabus, assignment and exam schedules.

“The university will make every effort to be considerate of instructor and student concerns during this unprecedented situation,” a statement from the university said.

UF spokesperson Steve Orlando said UF is encouraging all students to return home. Students who live on campus are welcome to stay at their housing facility if they want to.

Gov. Ron DeSantis said Wednesday that asking instructors to prepare for online classes is “the prudent thing to do.”

“I think we are preparing to see more (CODIV-19) cases,” the governor told reporters at a press conference in the Capitol. “So I think it is prudent for them to do it and then they can reassess in real time as we go.”


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