This message to all faculty and staff has been approved by John Thrasher, President of Florida State University.
Dear Faculty and Staff,
It’s been nearly a year since COVID-19 drastically changed life as we knew it. Although initially there was much uncertainty about how to navigate a global pandemic, I have been so impressed by the way our students, faculty and staff demonstrated their strength, resilience and creativity.
Despite the challenges we faced, Florida State University continued to exceed all expectations. We remained a Top 20 public university, achieved the best graduation rate in Florida, reached an all-time high graduate student enrollment and received record research funding.
The COVID testing, contact tracing and vaccination programs we have implemented in partnership with local and state entities are another point of pride. They and many other initiatives have been key to our efforts to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. With the expectation that the vaccine will soon be made more widely available — and as we approach the one-year mark of remote working and learning — now is the time for departments to start planning for an increased presence of faculty and staff and fine-tuning their continuity plans.
On or before May 1, I expect all departments to increase on-campus staffing to prepare for the summer and fall terms while still adhering to the health and safety guidelines outlined by the university, the CDC, and local and state health officials. Face masks, social distancing, and limited in-person gatherings and meetings (up to 100-person capacity) will still be required on campus to ensure that the transition to being on campus more frequently is done in a safe manner.
We look forward to more students on campus this summer, and we will have a robust offering of in-person classes as well as hybrid, flex, and online classes. In addition, we will see the return of on-campus summer camps and conferences that meet the university’s guidelines.
This fall, we anticipate classes that were designed for in-person delivery will resume the face-to-face format, and we expect faculty and staff to return to campus. Some departments may need employees to return to campus earlier to support this effort.
I know that many of you have continued to work on campus throughout the pandemic to deliver essential services, and I want you to know that your commitment has not gone unnoticed or unappreciated. Thank you for your dedicated service.
As we plan for our future, Human Resources will send more guidance in the next few weeks regarding additional scheduling and leave options. We will continue to communicate this information through multiple channels, including informational sessions via Zoom to answer any questions you may have.
Please be assured that we will continue to closely monitor conditions and consult with the CDC, Florida Department of Health, Board of Governors, our medical advisory team and other state and local entities and will adjust our plans as needed — just as we have done throughout the pandemic.
I know that returning to campus may take some adjustment, but I feel strongly that we are better able to serve our students and carry out our educational mission when we work, teach and learn together as a university community.
Thank you for your continued hard work and commitment to Florida State University.