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University of Florida springs toward expanding in-person classes for spring semester

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -About 35% of classes offered at the University of Florida are in-person or a hybrid of online and face to face instruction.

Come springtime, that number will go up as administrators work to offer as many in-person classes as they offered last Spring before they moved fully online.

“There’s no small number of students who are very eager to get back into the classroom,” said Steve Orlando, the VP of Communications at UF.

At least $40 million in revenue is out the door for the university due to COVID-19 adjustments so officials say increasing in-person classes can help protect jobs as well as academic success.

“And so as proud of we are of our online capability and we demonstrated how effective it is during the spring and the summer and even continuing into the fall,” added Orlando. “As proud as we are of that, we feel that we can provide even more value by returning to some of the in-person face to face settings we’re moving toward.”

Students can expect eight feet between one another in the classroom to allow for physical distancing and mandatory masks.

Although, the transition from laptops and zoom meetings to lectures with pen and paper doesn’t sit well with one student.

“This is a much more deadly disease, this is a much more transmissible disease,” said Mark Merwitzer, a UF political science student.

For Merwitzer, online classes aren’t a hassle despite his preference for in-person learning. Although, he and more than 3,000 UF students, faculty and staff in an online petition agree, it’s not safe to be face to face.

“So the concern I have is, I think student input has been completely lacking,” mentioned Merwitzer. “Faculty and staff input has been completely lacking. As a matter of fact, a lot of the faculty are concerned about this reopening plan and for good reason. A lot of the people who work here, that are tenured professors are older and that’s a high-risk category for COVID-19.”

Registration for spring classes starts November 16 and the semester is expected to start on January 11.

Copyright 2020 WCJB. All rights reserved.


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We need help to find a way to prevent COVID-19

COVID-19 studies are enrolling now.

Those who qualify:*

  • may receive the investigational vaccine or placebo at no cost
  • may receive compensation for time and travel
  • may receive free testing for COVID-19