Students of the University of South Florida can get ready for a return to in-person classes.
USF’s President Steve Currall made the announcement Wednesday to students and faculty, stating that the university is preparing for a full return to pre-COVID operations. By fall 2021, USF is expected to resume in-person classes and on-campus student activities.
“The University of South Florida continues to closely monitor public health data and to prioritize the health and safety of our university community,” Currall said. “As we navigate these next important steps, I wish to express my thanks for the many ways that USF continues to demonstrate a commitment to community. I’m grateful for the hard work, dedication and continued vigilance of our students, faculty and staff.”
The university also intends to significantly increase the number of in-person classes and student activities offered on all campuses in summer 2021, especially during the summer session B that is scheduled to begin on June 28.
In his message to faculty and staff, Currall said the university will continue to look to the advice of public health and infectious disease experts, along with government agencies, and it will adjust plans to changing conditions if needed.
USF is planning on working with employees to develop a flexible framework to return to in-person duties in the coming weeks and months.
The news comes amid an overall decline in COVID-19 cases in the Tampa Bay area, as vaccinations continue to outnumber the number of those infected.
“We are encouraged by the latest information and modeling that provides an increasingly optimistic outlook for a return to more in-person activities sometime this summer and by the fall,” chair of the USF COVID-19 Task Force and dean of the USF College of Public Health Donna J. Petersen said in a news release. “While it makes sense to plan for the summer and fall semesters now, in the coming months we must remain vigilant and committed to safe practices, including wearing face coverings and physical distancing, in order to get ahead of the virus and drive down the numbers more quickly.”
The university is currently in “Phase II” of its COVID-19 response, which allows for up to 50% of staff to return to the campuses, based on space configuration. This phases also allows for courses to be delivered through a combination of face-to-face, hybrid and online instruction.
University meetings and events are still advised to be held virtually, and face coverings are required on all campuses.