Florida College COVID-19 Playbook
Letter from the President
Florida College was founded on the belief that faith and education could exist in an academic environment. While dedication to Christian principles has wavered in our culture, Florida College remains devoted to our spiritual mission. The college has been greatly challenged through this pandemic, but we remain constant in our mission to help educate the whole person to imitate Christ in service to God and the world.
Our plan, as with all plans, is subject to change. Its success depends largely on the graciousness and patience of our students, parents, faculty and staff. Consensus is elusive amidst unprecedented uncertainty, but we are confident that through deference and sacrifice we will emerge a stronger community.
A Safe Place to Grow
Security is necessary for academic and relational growth. The goal of this plan is to protect our family, provide a safe environment and give our students at Florida College an experience that will build them up in all aspects of their lives. Our aim is to continue facilitating an environment where God is honored, students are served and our community is protected. Utilizing Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations, local health guidance and a values-based approach we seek solutions at the intersection of science, reason and values.
Florida College's Approach to the Pandemic
Florida College has approached this situation with the goal of treating its students, faculty and staff as a family. Therefore, we engaged a COVID response task force comprised of doctors, parents, students and members of the Florida College faculty and staff. This task force was given the responsibility of providing feedback to the Florida College Leadership Team regarding this plan.
The phased plan represents our best efforts amidst extraordinary uncertainty. We seek to open the college cautiously, but optimistically, with the intention of pivoting into a more open and less restrictive environment.
There were several key principles considered when developing the plans for Florida College this fall.
- It is the personal responsibility for each individual to monitor his or her own health and not attend class, chapel or work if ill.
- The frequent washing of hands and personal cleanliness is encouraged in every setting.
- Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces and high touch areas.
- Practice social distancing and require face coverings during certain times and for certain events with the goal to evaluate this on a regular basis.
Early move in beginning on August 8 through the first day of classes will be considered the “launch” phase. This phase will reflect more restrictive practices while providing multiple opportunities for our students to engage in the Florida College experience. The launch will include the following:
Timeframe: August 8 – August 20 (first day of classes)
- Face coverings will be required for all indoor required activities. Face coverings are highly recommended for areas, inside or outside, where 6-foot social distancing is not possible. More information about move-in day and orientation will be coming out from the Dean of Students office.
- Student activities will be planned for outdoor venues. Outdoor seating, games and events will be provided for our students to participate in during the opening two weeks. The Dean of Students Office is arranging these events and will oversee communication about them to the student body.
- If students are exhibiting two or more of the symptoms listed in the Health, Safety and Wellness Section of this document, they are asked to delay their arrival on campus. Please coordinate with the Dean of Students Office on your arrival.
The second phase of the launch will include the following:
Timeframe: August 20 with review of these guidelines in the first week of September
- Chapel will convene on the first day of classes with face coverings required. Chapel will be held to a 15 minute time frame with rare exceptions.
Chapel will feature two options for attendance.
- Normal seating with face covering and no social distancing
- A livestream option in a separate venue with social distancing and face coverings
- Classes will remain socially distanced with face coverings required.
- Face coverings are still strongly encouraged for indoor events that are optional.
- Society events are scheduled to begin in this phase and will work with the Dean of Students Office to coordinate venues for society meetings and guidelines for those meetings.
Communication will be forthcoming regarding next steps as we trend toward a less restrictive environment. Each phase will incrementally address various aspects of campus life safely and reasonably as the pandemic fades.
- August 8-14 — Early Arrival Move In
- August 15 — Freshman Move In
- August 15–19 — Returning Students Move In
- Classes and finals will be completed online after Thanksgiving Break
Goal: To support the mental and physical health of our students presented by the pandemic.
All members of the Florida College community will be expected to exercise personal responsibility for their own health so as not to put others at risk unnecessarily.
- Students are encouraged to practice good personal hygiene that includes frequent handwashing. Florida College has installed numerous hand sanitation stations throughout campus.
- All students are expected to monitor their own health and complete health self-screenings on a daily basis. These screenings involve identifying the most common symptoms of COVID-19 including: fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting. Any student who is exhibiting such symptoms is asked to contact the Dean of Students Office immediately.
- Florida College’s nurse will make rounds and visit students who are exhibiting signs of illness.
- In accordance with health guidelines, face coverings are recommended in any public setting and will be required in some settings. Any exceptions to a mandatory face covering rule must be approved by the Dean of Students Office.
- Caring for our students’ emotional health and well-being is vitally important. Florida College understands that this pandemic may place a tremendous strain on our students. Our faculty, working with the assistance of our Advising Office and the Dean of Students Office, is committed to providing caring, conscientious support consistent with our Christian mission.
- Florida College will work closely with the local health department to provide:
- Contact tracing
- Determination regarding isolation or quarantine if necessary
- Establishing the time when a student may safely return to classes after being sick
- Classrooms: All classrooms will have an in-depth cleaning each morning before classes. Sanitation wipes will be provided as students enter the classroom and by the professor’s workspace to allow each person an opportunity to sanitize his or her work area.
- Offices: All office areas will have an in-depth cleaning on either a Monday, Wednesday, Friday or a Tuesday, Thursday rotation based on volume of traffic. Employees will be asked to use the provided cleaning supplies to help manage their areas.
- Student Housing: Student lobbies, common areas, common area restrooms, kitchens, exercise rooms and laundry areas will be cleaned twice per day. Sanitizing wipes will be provided in the exercise areas, kitchen and laundry areas.
- Riverview Center and Library: Both areas will have an in-depth cleaning each day and an additional light cleaning using fogging/misting machines. Both cleanings will be scheduled based on availability.
- Hutchinson Auditorium: Cleaned once per day using a fogging/misting machine with special attention to high touch areas.
Goal: To implement the best possible preventive measures to ensure the health and safety of the entire Florida College family, both students and employees; especially those employees who typically face a higher risk than the students from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Florida College Return to Work Procedures
In addition to enhanced hygiene, social distancing and wearing face coverings (as noted elsewhere in this document), Florida College has implemented the following specific procedures regarding employees who are working on campus. Note: these procedures are subject to change.
- First, it is the responsibility of every employee to monitor his or her own health every day and to conduct a self-screening before coming to campus. Specific symptoms of COVID-19 include:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
- Second, if an employee feels sick, he or she should use the CDC self-checker https://covid19healthbot.cdc.gov/ to determine next steps.
- Third, if an employee is sick, he or she must stay home. Do not come to campus if you are sick. Please notify your immediate supervisor.
- Fourth, if an employee believes he or she may have come in contact with someone who has COVID-19, he or she should notify the Hillsborough County Health Department immediately (813.307.8000). The County Health Department will determine whether the employee should be tested, quarantined or return to work.
- Finally, if an employee has been notified of a possible COVID-19 exposure by the County Health Department or has been diagnosed with COVID-19, he or she must notify the Office of Student Services immediately. The Dean of Students is serving as our COVID-19 point of contact.
Goal: To be lights in our community by our actions and attitudes.
- We are asking our Florida College students to be wise as they interact within the community just as we are planning to ask our visitors to act with wisdom and caution. Florida College encourages its students to abide by the regulations set forth by Hillsborough County.
- You should not visit the Florida College campus if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms: fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting.
- All visitors coordinating their visit through the Florida College Office of Admissions and Retention Services are required to fill out a visit form prior to arrival. Please explore the visit page for more information.
- Visitors arriving at Florida College for a campus tour will be asked to take a health screening test and take their temperature. Guests will be asked to wear a face covering in certain areas and for certain events when 6-foot social distancing cannot be maintained.
- Guidelines regarding large events such as Falcon Days will be released prior to the time of the event.
- Guests attending events such as recitals, Life Enrichment Series, musicals, plays, etc. will be asked to reserve a seat in advance of the event and asked to wear a face covering and social distance within the venue.
- To provide in-person instruction on campus using best practices for student learning.
- To protect the health of students, staff and faculty in classrooms and other academic settings.
- To support students unable to attend class due to health-related issues.
All classes will be delivered in the physical classroom and prepared for online delivery to support students who cannot attend class due to COVID-19. One exception is a single daily Bible class that is being moved online in support of students who are most often off-campus due to internships.
All classes will have 6-foot social distancing between students with assigned seating. Inside the classroom, students will be required to wear face coverings at the beginning of the semester. These regulations will be reviewed regularly, beginning the first week in September, and potentially modified based on CDC guidelines and campus conditions as the semester proceeds. Students with health concerns over wearing a face covering during class may contact the Dean of Students Office for accommodations.
Classrooms will be professionally cleaned every day, with provisions supplied for faculty and students to clean their learning spaces at the beginning of each class period.
The library, academic labs and advising center will take special measures to clean their spaces and distance their seating and service points.
Faculty who need to teach from off campus due to health concerns will be fully supported with technology and other instructional support to facilitate an optimal learning experience for students.
Students who need to learn at a distance from the classroom due to health concerns and constraints, including international students unable to travel to the United States, may apply to take courses online in the fall. For information about this application process, please contact the Admissions Office at 813-988-5131 ext. 152.
Goal: To provide a safe environment for our on-campus students to pursue their mental, physical, spiritual and social development.
- All students will be encouraged to practice good personal hygiene that includes frequent hand-washing. Students will also be expected to clean and disinfect their work, study and living areas regularly.
- Residence hall lobbies, common areas, common area restrooms, kitchens, exercise rooms and laundry areas will be cleaned twice per day. Sanitizing wipes will be provided in the exercise areas, kitchen and laundry areas.
- To reduce risk, we will not be permitting any overnight guests in the residence halls.
- Face coverings are highly recommended for areas, inside or outside, where 6-foot social distancing is not possible.
- Florida College has prepared isolation rooms in both men’s and women’s dormitories for students who test positive for COVID-19. We will be coordinating with the local health department to determine which students should be placed in isolation and when they may return to their regular rooms. All students who are in isolation or quarantine will have meals delivered to their rooms.
- Our food service provider will be following restaurant health guidelines.
- Our dining facilities will operate at reduced capacity (current health recommendations).
- To ensure proper health and safety protocols, there will be no “self-serve” options.
- All meal options in our dining hall will be provided in a to-go format and additional outdoor seating will be provided.
Goal: To provide an environment in which students can engage in meaningful activities while limiting their risk.
- At the heart of this approach is a mindful, safe and Christian culture on our campus: one in which the entire campus community will be expected to know their own risk and how their behavior puts others at risk. Each member of the community will be encouraged to take personal responsibility for his or her own actions and seek to help others.
- Daily chapel is a vital part of the Florida College experience. To reduce the risks, we will shorten the length of chapel and require face coverings initially. We will also provide an alternative venue for those who are not comfortable being together in Hutchinson Auditorium. Please contact the Dean of Students Office for more information regarding our alternate chapel arrangements.
- In order to protect our on-campus environment, students are strongly encouraged to limit the number of trips and the amount of time they spend off campus. To help with this, Florida College is planning a robust schedule of on-campus events. When students do leave campus, they are strongly encouraged to follow proper safety protocols.
- We will encourage students to have many of their social activities outside, weather permitting.
- Students will also be encouraged to wear face coverings in situations where social distancing is not possible.
- Students should carefully consider their participation in activities that may put them at risk such as intramural athletics. These activities will be conducted in as safe a manner as possible, including the implementation of health screenings before each activity.
- Protocols for intercollegiate athletics are still being developed by the NAIA. Our policies will follow those protocols.
- It has not yet been determined what policies or procedures may be in place regarding fans at athletic competitions.
- In accordance with current NAIA Athletic Trainers Association guidelines for health and safety, the gym and annex will be cleaned once a day with additional cleanings provided as needed and based on usage.
- Plans are currently being developed for the live streaming of all athletic events.
Goal: To support students who are limited in their ability to come to campus due to travel restrictions in the United States and elsewhere. To avoid spread of the virus on campus by limiting travel off campus.
- Students unable to arrive to campus from other states or countries due to travel restrictions or quarantine requirements should contact the Admissions Department as soon as possible to initiate an application for distance learning.
- According to the CDC, travel increases the likelihood of spreading or getting the coronavirus. Students should limit travel off campus during the semester.
- The traditional fall break will be altered. This year it will be divided between two weekdays: October 14 and November 3. All members of the Florida College community are asked to avoid unnecessary travel on these dates.
- Students traveling off campus for supplies, worship and other necessary purposes should exemplify, as is their habit, excellence in civic and spiritual settings. This includes following CDC guidelines in the community and graciousness within churches.
- Students should not plan to travel internationally this fall and must contact the Dean of Students to notify the college if such plans exist.
- The campus will cease on-campus activities on Wednesday, November 25 at noon. Classes will continue in an online format for the remainder of the semester, beginning with evening classes on Monday, November 30.