ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Nearly a year after the University of Central Florida moved to virtual learning in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the school announced Monday that classes and most campus activities will return to normal in the fall.
UCF Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Michael D. Johnson, released a statement on the school's website saying a lot has changed since the start of the pandemic.
"We have adapted to new ways of learning, working, and living," he said. "We have learned how to live with the pandemic and adopt new behaviors to minimize its spread.
"And with the mass availability of many effective vaccines gaining momentum, we are hopeful for a return to something closer to normal, even though the pandemic will be part of our reality for some time."
In light of safety precautions and the development of three effective COVID-19 vaccines, Johnson said the school will return to face-to-face learning in the fall.
"A full return in the fall means that capacity restrictions will be lifted and most courses will be on campus," he said. "However, we expect that our other health measures — such as wearing masks, extra hand washing, and increased cleaning — will continue."
While going back to in-person classes full time is the plan in the fall, Johnson said school officials will continue to monitor health conditions in the county. If the need arises, UCF is prepared to "rapidly pivot to more remote operations and classes at any time if necessary," he said.
More details on the plan for the fall will be released in the coming weeks, Johnson said.
In the meantime, he said the school couple possibly become a mass vaccination site and is already preparing for the day that everyday students will be able to get the vaccine.
"If this indeed becomes possible, we will share information about eligibility and how to make appointments," Johnson said.
If the school is to return to normal operations in the fall, he added, students and staff need to continue to work hard to keep the virus at bay.
"Please stay vigilant — wear your mask properly, keep your physical distance, avoid large gatherings, and wash or sanitize your hands frequently," Johnson said. "Cases have been dropping recently in the state, the Orlando region and at UCF. Let's keep it going."