For every question about whether schools, especially colleges and universities, will open on time this fall … there are three other questions or so, as others ask about fall athletics and how classes will look.
It’s time to plan, and UCF, which will remain solely on online classes through the summer like it’s been since March, is forming scenarios covering instruction, research, athletics, student activities, housing and dining.
On Wednesday, UCF President Alexander Cartwright provided details about a phased-in approach for faculty and staff returning to campus, noting some individuals may continue to work from home. He outlined the three scenarios the university is planning for. Cartwright said these scenarios should be viewed as reference and guidance for all circumstances UCF could face.
“We also are planning for other scenarios that involve a later start for face-to-face classes,” he said. “I expect we will decide on the fall semester in June.”
Under the first scenario, where some social distancing is relaxed while other health measures remain in place, athletic competitions would potentially resume in fall with spectators, housing and dining would fully reopen, and student involvement and recruitment activities would resume. Face-to-face interactions, internships and clinicals can all be happening. This is the “best case scenario.”
A “Scenario 1A” features remote instruction through the summer and face-to-face classes resuming in October, athletic competitions would potentially resume in fall with no spectators until October, housing and dining would fully reopen in October, and student involvement and recruitment activities would resume in October.
“We are operating under the assumption that we will open in the fall unless we have data that says to us that things have become out of control and we can’t,” Cartwright said. “Right now, we want to move forward with the assumption that we will be on campus in the fall.”
Scenario 2 is where we see virus recurrence. Remote instruction would continue through fall and face-to-face instruction would resume in spring 2021, athletic competitions would potentially resume in fall with no spectators, housing and dining would fully reopen in spring 2021, and student involvement and recruitment activities would resume in spring 2021.
The worst case scenario, where the coronavirus pandemic escalates and national and regional social distancing remains, the school campus would effectively remain closed as it is now until fall 2021, and athletic competitions would potentially be suspended through fall and resume in spring 2021 with no spectators.
All these budget cuts of 10 to 20 percent from the state for the 2020-21 academic year, with those cuts extending into 2021-22 in worst case scenarios.