University of South Florida, University of Tampa ponder how to return to on-campus learning

Like almost everything else affected by the pandemic, colleges and universities face a whole host of challenges heading into the fall. One of the biggest questions is whether or not there will be in-person classes for students to attend.

“We very much hope and expect there will be some form of in-person instruction in the autumn of this year. It’s likely to be a hybrid structure,” said USF president Steve Currall. 

Hybrid, meaning a combination of both online and face-to-face classes. 

The State University System of Florida, which helps manage state-run universities, currently has a task force working on general guidelines for schools to follow this fall. Universities like USF will take those and adapt them to their specific needs. 

“We're going to urge people to use masks, to wash their hands, to use gloves. We're going to do physical distancing, we're going to reconfigure some of our facilities,” said Currall. 

“I think it’s going to be different. We're not going back to what our minds tell us is normal,” said Linda Devine, VP of operations and planning at the University of Tampa. 

UT is also working on details to bring students back into the classroom in the fall. 

“While I think we can deliver and we are delivering remote learning in a good way, places like UT see value when students can come together, live together and dine together,” Devine added. “We don’t have crystal balls. We're making the best decisions for right now. We need to pivot as new information comes out.” 

More details about the upcoming fall semester are expected to be released in a few weeks.