This message to all students has been approved by Sally McRorie, FSU Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs.
Last week we announced that FSU’s Fall 2020 Plan is available at https://fall2020.fsu.edu. I know some of you have started reviewing this and are considering what it means for you. I also know you are seeing a lot of changes in your fall class schedules right now that make it appear as if all or most of fall classes will be remote. I wanted to take an opportunity to provide you with some additional details that may explain what you are seeing.
I have stated many times that a priority of FSU is the health and safety of our faculty, staff and students. We have over 42,000 students and close to 20,000 faculty and staff. This means we have a wide range of individuals in different age groups, many of whom have different risk factors. While we are committed to having as many face-to-face classes as we can, doing so safely means following the guidelines set forth by the CDC, the Governor of Florida, Board of Governors, and local public health officials. Many of you have asked that if people can go back to restaurants, bars, gyms, and if K-12 schools are face-to-face in the fall, why can’t FSU do the same? This is a valid question. Part of the answer to the question is that those restaurants, bars and gyms are operating under social distancing guidelines and are doing so at 50% capacity, or even less in some areas. The state’s school districts draw their students from a local area while our students come from all over the state, country and world. A significant percentage of our undergraduate population comes from the central and southern areas of Florida that are the epicenter of the state’s cases. We also have a large number of faculty who fall into the higher risk categories and who will not be able to teach in the classroom. Our plan cannot be the same as those local businesses or school districts because we are not the same.
Please know our goal is to offer as many face-to-face classes as we can while prioritizing a healthier and safer learning environment. FSU is still building its fall semester class schedule. At this time, there is not a fixed list of courses that will be delivered remotely. Academic departments are currently adjusting class schedules, rearranging classroom assignments and relocating classes to larger spaces to accommodate social distancing. As a result, students may see their class listings toggle between face-to-face and remote for the next several weeks as we work through many complex adjustments. We intend to have the class schedule completed before registration reopens for all continuing students in mid-July, if not sooner.
In the meantime, our plan will be presented to the FSU Board of Trustees on Thursday, June 18, at a meeting that is solely dedicated to reviewing the Fall 2020 plan in greater detail. Following the trustees’ meeting, the university plan will be updated and, along with the plans of all the other state universities, presented to the Florida Board of Governors at a Tuesday, June 23 meeting.
Florida State University is more than classes in classrooms. It is the student body, activities on Landis Green, walks through campus, and meeting your friend for study sessions. Part of the college experience is learning about life and how to manage yourself in a complex world with many demands. As we have already seen this year, flexibility and resilience are needed in these unprecedented times.
Thank you for your continued patience and understanding. Please continue to monitor your email and the Fall 2020 website for updates and additional information over the coming weeks.
Dr. Sally McRorie
FSU Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs