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FSU approves plan for students’ return

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Florida State has approved a return plan for the Fall 2020 semester during a Board of Trustees meeting on Thursday afternoon.

BOT chair Ed Burr said the plan, which received unanimous approval, is still a work in progress as FSU officials work together to bring students back to Tallahassee.

FSU will require face masks for students and professors in face-to-face classes and labs this fall, FSU provost and executive VP for Academic Affairs Sally McRorie said during Thursday’s meeting. Masks will also be mandated on stairs and elevators. Visitors to campus will be required to wear masks.

School officials will provide masks to students if they do not bring one to class, McRorie said.

“I have stated many times that a priority of FSU is the health and safety of our faculty, staff and students,” McRorie wrote Wednesday on FSU’s site. “We have over 42,000 students and close to 20,000 faculty and staff. This means we have a wide range of individuals in different age groups, many of whom have different risk factors.”

President John Thrasher stated his wish to have as many face-to-face classes taught at FSU as possible within guidelines. He said all options are on the table, including potentially using Doak Campbell Stadium or the Donald L. Tucker Center. Doak already has some classrooms and it’s not clear if students may meet professors in the grandstands or in other areas.

FSU is setting up a COVID-19 lab with Tallahassee Memorial Hospital at Innovation Park. FSU college of medicine and nursing students will collect specimens. It’s expected that FSU can handle 400 tests daily via a drive-in setup. FSU administrators have proposed that if insurance doesn’t pay cost of a test, the school will cover it for students and professors. As previously stated, the goal is for the results to be delivered to a student or professor in 8-24 hours.

“We need a lab on our campus,” said Thrasher, who added the setup cost for the lab is expensive but necessary to help FSU control the virus.

There is a “very complex contact tracing plan” that FSU officials are developing in conjunction with Florida’s Department of Health, McRorie said.

FSU officials are also requesting that all students get a flu test this fall.

McRorie said there is no fixed list of courses that will be delivered remotely. She thinks the class schedule – which ones will be taught remotely or in person – should be completed by mid-July or sooner.

All athletes will be tested for coronavirus prior to beginning any athletics competition at FSU. Football players as well as men’s basketball have already been tested.

FSU’s plan will be presented to Florida’s Board of Governors on Tuesday. Thrasher said the plan follows BOG guidelines.

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