Dear Faculty and Staff,
As we wrap up the Spring semester, our thoughts and preparations are turning naturally to upcoming semesters. With increased availability of vaccines and increased rates of vaccination, we anticipate UF will be able to resume full and normal operation in Summer B and Fall semesters. What does this mean?
First, activity will accelerate in areas that have been impeded by the pandemic. Employees will travel more on university business, students will resume study abroad experiences, laboratories and libraries will operate at full throttle, purchasing of supplies will increase, performances and other cultural experiences will blossom, etc. In short, we will resume UF’s rich academic, cultural, and athletic lifestyles. This can happen only when faculty, staff, and students gather in person as a community and offices and facilities are fully open.
The students have made clear they look forward to the experiences of a residential campus. To support them and the other activities of a great research university, we expect faculty and staff to rededicate themselves to performing their work on campus. Many faculty and staff remained on campus during the past year, while others engaged in remote work or moved back and forth as needed. In discussion with President Fuchs, we agree that the beginning of Summer B is the right moment to ensure all employees fully resume their normal activities at their work locations on campus and throughout the state.
Naturally, there will be some exceptions. There will continue to be options for flexibility in working schedules, as there have been in the past. But the majority of UF’s employees stationed at the main campus and statewide should plan to work at their normal work locations beginning Summer B. The goal is to return all units to their pre-pandemic levels of productivity and responsiveness.
Second, departments and colleges are planning to deliver more in-class instruction in Summer B and Fall. Subject to guidance from UF Health, we will relax the physical distancing requirements that have been in place. Whether or not we can relax the use of masks in the classroom remains to be seen. A growing body of evidence suggests that fully vaccinated people are less likely to have asymptomatic infection and less likely to transmit SARS-CoV-2 to others. However, further investigation is ongoing.
Thank you for all you have done for the students and for each other and for helping UF to serve as a model institution during a very difficult year. We look forward to reconnecting in person later this summer, and we are sure you do, too.
Joe Glover, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
Charlie Lane, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
David R. Nelson, M.D., Senior Vice President for Health Affairs, UF & President, UF Health
David Norton, Vice President for Research
Win Phillips, Chief of Staff, Office of the President