State system works on blueprint to reopen state universities in fall

Reporter: Stephanie Byrne Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:

College students might be able to step foot in a classroom this coming school year. The state university board is working to approve a blueprint for state universities that, of course, includes FGCU.

We spoke to FGCU students about what it’s been like to visit the university campus during the pandemic Thursday and the chancellor of State University System of Florida, who explained the considerations going into the blueprint.

For those who have continued to study on FGCU’s campus, it has not been full of activity.

“It’s been pretty empty,” said Shannon McCarty, a graduate student at FGCU.

“I haven’t seen many people studying here at all,” said Casey Hernandez, and undergraduate student at FGCU.

And it’s a quiet time for FGCU students who still visit campus.

“We’ve been coming on an as-needed basis,” McCarty said. “Because obviously we don’t want to come into contact with each other unnecessarily.”

And, as if college isn’t already intimidating enough for incoming freshmen, add in a pandemic.

“I think, obviously, many safety precautions need to be instituted come the fall when students go back to school,” said David Glasser, and incoming freshman at FGCU.

Fall will be here before we know it, and health and welfare are top of mind.

“There’s been a lot of discussion across our state,” said Marshall Criser, the chancellor of State University System of Florida. “There’s been a lot of activity across our state around COVID-19 testing. We anticipate to have testing plans that will include testing policies and procedures.”

The board of governors’ blueprint acts as a guideline for universities to follow when reopening campuses.

“As we work to reopen our campuses is to be able to use the technology we have,” Criser said.

This means looking at in-person, online and hybrid courses. Now, it’s up to universities to decide what’s best for their own campus communities.

“The need for flexibility for all students, faculty and staff is ultimately going to be the foundation for the agility we need and the resiliency that we need as we reopen our campuses,” Criser said.

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