We would like to share with you some more information about the extensive planning underway to thoughtfully and carefully bring employees back to campus over the course of the next several weeks and join the amazing essential personnel who have worked to keep the university running. There are several thousand employees who never left campus, but continue to support the university’s physical infrastructure and its functioning. The university community owes a great debt to them, and we do want to recognize and thank them for their dedication and hard work.
As we mentioned previously, our goals are to re-energize the research enterprise, to ensure that students can make appropriate academic progress and to have appropriate groups of faculty and staff return to campus under the advice and guidance of medical experts.
As a key element of this planning process, we have created eleven task forces, each of which is charged with addressing an important aspect of our recovery. Each task force is chaired by UF leadership, and their membership includes medical experts, deans and members of the president’s cabinet. They have been asked to return their preliminary findings and recommendations by June 1.
The task forces’ guiding issues, missions and names of task force chairs are as follows
- UF Remaining Vital and Relevant in a Changing Higher Education Environment: How must the university adapt to a changed higher education terrain in the months and years ahead? What is the future of instruction and research, and how must we retool? Consider what changes are needed in our current model of delivering education, research, and public service in order to remain among the top public research universities in the country. Mark Kaplan, Vice President for Government and Community Relations
- Logistics of High-Volume COVID-19 Testing: Develop a strategy and implementation plan to administer testing and contract tracing for employees and students. Develop response scenarios for flare-ups. Dr. Michael Lauzardo, M.D., Division of Infectious Diseases and Global Medicine
- On-Campus Residence Halls, Fraternities, and Sororities: Provide recommendations regarding housing students in campus residence halls, fraternities, and sororities. Consider social distancing standards, related policies, and consequences for not following these standards. Win Phillips, Executive Chief of Staff
- Behavioral Expectations: Identify appropriate behavioral expectations of students and employees—both on and off campus—that will provide guidance to help prevent the transmission of COVID-19. D’Andra Mull, Vice President for Student Affairs
- Fall instruction: Develop a plan to deliver fall instruction so that students have the opportunity to make appropriate academic progress to graduation. Consider, in particular, how to conduct experiential classes such as laboratories, music classes and clinical experiences. Andy McCollough, Associate Provost for Teaching and Technology
- University Regulations and Policies: Review key university policies and regulations to assess whether or not we have the correct ones in place to address the new environment. Amy Hass, General Counsel
- Supporting Managers: Managers may need to make difficult and unfamiliar decisions to deal with new situations. Consider how to provide orientation and support to managers in this new environment. Jodi Gentry, Vice President for Human Resources
- Safe Practices on Campus: Consider how , UF can create a safe physical environment that allows for the practical re-population of its campus, both in and out of the classroom. Curtis Reynolds, Vice President for Business Affairs
- Re-Institution of the Research Enterprise: Consider how to reintroduce faculty, staff, and students into their research settings and return the research enterprise to a stable state. David Norton, Vice President for Research
- Communications Strategy: Consider the types of communication strategies that are needed to inform people regarding COVID-19-related concerns and that will create a new culture regarding health and safety norms. Nancy Paton, Vice President for Strategic Communications and Marketing
- Financial Impacts: Provide a variety of analyses that will enable senior administration to make sound fiscal decisions concerning various financial impact scenarios. Joe Glover, Provost
The task force reports will be used to guide the overall recovery plan going forward. We will make the reports available to you, and we welcome any suggestions you might have for making our plans stronger. Please direct your suggestions and ideas to the appropriate task force chair.
Once again, we thank you for all you are doing.