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FAU introduces fall semester reopening plans

Some classes will be online, another 20% in person with some recorded. Face covers will be required everywhere on campus at all times, except in an office alone. All classes will transition to 100% virtual after Thanksgiving break, so students don’t return with exposures.

It’s complicated.

“We moved forward to open in the fall; we are open now,” Florida Atlantic University president Dr. John Kelly said to describe highlights of FAU’s Reopening Plan at city council’s workshop Monday. The fall semester starts Aug. 22.

“We’re flexible to adapt to changing conditions. We had a significant summer involvement and have been open since the beginning,” added Stacy Volnick, chief administrative officer.

Graduations will be totally virtual, Kelly said. “Commencement has been well attended by families and we’ve had as many as seven. We weren’t able to have spring semester, so in the fall and this summer we will do virtual. If graduates want to walk the stage, they will have the opportunity to do that later.”

Jobs are major concerns, too. Some 65% of their 30,000 plus students have to work to stay in school, Kelly said. Most were in the retail and hospitality sectors and are now “non-existent.”

Non-instructional events are limited to 10, and that doesn’t include athletics. No decisions on that yet. A no guest policy will exist for students who live in resident halls.

Kelly reminded council there’s a public testing site on campus at FAU Tech Runway. The university will do its own testing and contract tracing.

Here’s highlights from the university’s reopening plan that was approved by their board of trustees and governors. The entire plan is posted at:

  • The goal is to prioritize courses (including labs) that critically need in-person experiences. Colleges and departments have planned for course sections in a fully remote format, prioritizing university classrooms for courses that require on-campus engagement;
  • Reasonable alternatives have been made for faculty and students unable to participate in class delivery formats to the extent possible… High-enrollment sections (more than 50 students) will remain fully remote;
  • A hybrid approach limits on-campus seats to no more than 50 per section, with the rest attending remotely;
  • All graduate courses are planned in a fully-remote format, unless specific courses critically need in-person experiences.

By Marci Shatzman