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United Faculty of Florida asking for online classes to start spring, State University System not budging

Published: Dec. 28, 2021 at 6:10 PM EST
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -The University of Florida’s faculty union has made a request to the university president to have classes online to start the spring semester

Paul Ortiz, President of United Faculty of Florida’s UF Chapter sent a letter to UF President Kent Fuchs asking for classes to be moved online for the first three weeks os the spring semester as the Omicron variant of COVID-19 s causing cases to surge nationwide and even in North Central Florida.

Here is what Ortiz said to President Fuchs:

In order to mitigate the spread of COVID, UFF asks that our campus begin the spring semester in a remote, online posture in terms of classroom delivery and work assignments for the first three weeks of the term in order to assess the proper next steps to take--as it appears that the omicron variant may escalate later in January.

Ortiz cited recent CDC data and a research essay by fellow UF staff that predicts the continued explosion of cases in the state between January and March.

RELATED STORY: Administrators are being asked by the Faculty Union at the University of Florida to start the spring semester online due to the rise in COVID cases

“During this time of Omicron variant, classes offered in an online modality are much more family friendly. They are much more accessible to the increasing number of students at the University of Florida that have child care and eldercare responsibilities,” said Ortiz.

While a direct response has not been made by the president’s office, the State University System sent out a letter stating that all 12 state universities will “continue to offer a comprehensive array of academic classes and degree programs, and that facilities will be fully utilized based on the academic and extracurricular needs of each institution.”

Ortiz hopes that Fuchs’ will stop up and do what UFF-UF feels is for the best interest of the university an the surrounding area and accept the faculty union’s proposal.

“We really feel we can make the campus a much safer environment and do much to prevent the spread of COVID even with these external political pressure that are being placed upon us by Tallahassee,” said Ortiz.

Spring semester classes at the university will begin on Jan. 5.

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