Greetings all, I have some news I want to share with you. Things seem to be changing on the ground, however not at UCF so I wanted to alert you to some important information.
Orlando Sentinel Editorial by Yovanna Pineda
Yovanna Pineda who is an associate professor of history at UCF, a local and statewide leader of our union published an editorial in the Orlando Sentinel about HB 233. Please read over her editorial and thank her for her efforts in informing and engaging the wider community.
Office Hours by Zoom
Many of you have contacted me with concerns. According to current UCF return policies we cannot ask students if they are vaccinated, ask them to wear a mask or social distance themselves. I have gotten emails and read on social media where many of you have asked about our offices and office hours where the space is more confined than a classroom. Mason Cash, a Faculty Senator and Union Senator, asked Interim Provost Johnson about this and the possibility to have office hours on Zoom to mitigate any health risks. You can see the exchange here. Interim Provost Johnson thought it was a good idea and said one “might only consider Zoom office hours” and then said he will “think about it a little harder.” You can email the Provost at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out this form on this page. While he is thinking about the Zoom office hours option he might like to hear your thoughts on this. I know from emails and social media many of you have been expressing an interest in this option. Please let Interim Provost Johnson know your opinion and help him make a decision to allow us all to have Zoom office hours in the fall.
I am sure you all have heard the latest Florida COVID news. If not, Florida’s rate of vaccination is 48.6%, 25th in the US plus Washington DC, there were 21,683 new infections on Friday alone the new highest one day total of infections. And Advent Health Hospitals in the area have went to Code Black which means they are only conducting necessary or life saving surgeries because they are inundated with COVID cases.
UCF has removed the webpage with the COVID triggers from last year that listed the milestones that would have to pass to move instruction and interaction virtual. It would be a great idea if UCF created a new trigger page and policy for the Era of the Delta Variant. It is time to think about what milestones we need to pass for a change in policy.
State Colleges and Mask Mandates
I have gotten emails about changes in mask mandates locally. You might have seen that our local public State Colleges, both Seminole State and Valencia College, have initiated a new mask mandate for all indoor interactions. No masks are required outdoors. This is all a response to the recent trends in COVID and the Delta Variant. When asked by the Orlando Sentinel for comment a UCF spokesperson said there was no change in mask policy at UCF and we (UCF) are in “keeping with guidance from the Board of Governors.” Many of us are applauding the Presidents and administrators at Seminole State and Valencia College who changed mask policy in adherence to the change in CDC policy. Imagine a campus that can implement health and COVID policies without fear of the Florida Governor and Florida Legislature. Those campuses are Seminole State College and Valencia College. Please consider contacting President Cartwright (do so here) and let him know we should be good neighbors and take similar precautions to help protect our campus community and theirs as well. If he hears from enough of you perhaps policies will change at UCF.
Finally if you have not done so check out our most recent podcast episode of the UFF-UCF Podcast. In this episode I spoke with our colleague from the Department of Sociology Jonathan Cox. We spoke about Critical Race Theory and how we can continue to approach this topic in our classrooms and our research. You can subscribe or listen to the podcast here or on our YouTube channel here.