Sep 28, 2020
With the first four weeks of the fall semester complete, Florida Southern has important updates about this semester and news regarding the spring semester.
While the State of Florida removed all COVID-related operating restrictions on businesses last week, the main focus was on restaurants and bars. Florida Southern’s policies have not changed; the College continues operating based on the FSCares plan.
Thanks to conscientious efforts from students, faculty, and staff — as well enhanced COVID-19 testing, contact tracing, and more — Florida Southern College is managing the fall semester well. The low-density student residency model has helped keep positive tests low and quarantine capacity manageable so far.
The College has tested hundreds of students, faculty, and staff at its rapid-response testing location. Additionally, FSC has partnered with Rapid-Trace to identify and inform people who have contracted the virus, and those in contact with confirmed cases, so they can take steps to prevent further spread.
To support transparency, the College has created a COVID-19 Dashboard that is updated twice a week. Polk County regularly updates its COVID database as well.
The College has made the difficult decision to forgo an in-person December commencement ceremony to continue to prioritize the health of our community. While difficult, this decision is based on expert analysis of pandemic conditions and consistent with other institutions that monitor those conditions closely.
All Florida public universities, for example, have been directed to cancel in-person graduations, and many colleges and universities around the country have made similar decisions.
We are extending an invitation to the December graduating seniors, as well as those from last May, to participate in the first in-person ceremony we can host once conditions allow. As we did last spring, we will hold a virtual commencement ceremony in December. The College will also arrange for graduating seniors to take formal photos on campus. Stay tuned for more details.
Making plans three to four months in advance can be tricky during the best of times; during a global pandemic, it is fraught with uncertainty.
The College will spend the next several weeks developing plans for the spring. Those plans will be guided by local and state COVID conditions, the health of the campus community, and input from students, parents, faculty, staff, and local, state, and national medical authorities.
An overall decision about maintaining a low-density model has not been made. However, based on the feedback we have already received, the College will provide students the option to self-select remote or commuter status for the spring.
Details will be shared when the entire plan for the spring semester is complete. To provide maximum flexibility in preparation for the spring, the College will share more information no later than October 26. In the meantime, there are changes we can share now.
The new first day of classes for the spring 2021 semester is January 25. To accommodate this later start to the spring semester, classes will end on May 7, with finals taking place from May 10 to 12, and Commencement tentatively scheduled for May 15.
Doctor of Physical Therapy students should check with their dean for their spring schedule.
FSC is cancelling its 2021 Spring Break week, originally scheduled for March 8 to 12. Again, this decision is based on expert analysis of pandemic conditions and consistent with other institutions that monitor those conditions closely.
We will continue to use the Lake Morton apartments as quarantine housing in the spring semester.
Florida Southern appreciates your support. The College is dedicated to creating the best academic and student life experience possible for all students — remote, commuter, and on-campus residential.
Your compassion and resiliency are the currency of difficult times such as these. Thank you for sharing both with the College in such abundance.
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