Dear members of the FIU community:
As we transition to our post-COVID-19 next normal in Summer B and Fall 2021, I want to remind you that a healthy university community is our top priority. As we have done over the past year and a half through our Panthers Protecting Panthers plan, we are counting on every Panther to take steps such as getting vaccinated and wearing a face covering where appropriate.
Based on Governor Ron DeSantis’ executive orders and recent guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), face coverings are no longer required on campus.
At FIU, we recommend that students, faculty and staff take personal responsibility for their health and consider wearing face coverings when appropriate. If you are not fully vaccinated, the CDC recommends you continue using face coverings, since they have proven to be an excellent method of stopping transmission of respiratory viruses. You will likely see fellow students and others wearing them. Please be respectful of their personal choice and consider situations where you may wear one as well.
Besides face coverings, the COVID-19 vaccines are the best way to prevent the disease and stop community spread. I urge you to get vaccinated if you haven’t already. The vaccines have proven to be safe and quite effective. There are multiple locations locally where you may receive a vaccine. Vaccines are also available on-campus based on the Florida Department of Health (FDOH) supply/inventory. Please look for email messages on how you can get vaccinated at MMC or call 305-348-5100 for an appointment.
Unvaccinated individuals continue to be at high risk of contracting COVID-19, which, as you know, has proven to be a deadly disease. Health experts strongly suggest everyone get vaccinated and that the unvaccinated continue using face coverings for their own safety.
Testing and screening
For your safety and that of everyone on campus, COVID-19 testing is widely available in our community. The Curative mobile units at PG5 and BBC have expanded their hours from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week. The Curative mobile unit at Park View is available from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. You can also get tested at FIU’s own lab, which has a sample collection unit at Parkview. Appointments are available to students, faculty and staff through the Student Health Center Portal. Please make an appointment and use these resources to protect yourself, other Panthers and your loved ones.
You are also asked to continue answering the P3 app questionnaire before starting your day on campus. The app, together with surveillance testing, is how we plan to identify cases and prevent them from becoming clusters on our campuses. Summer B will be the first time that our entire population will be back on campus, making it important that we are vigilant about preventing clusters.
If you are fully vaccinated and feel healthy, you do not need to participate in random surveillance testing.
Please remember to continue washing your hands periodically throughout the day, stay home if you are sick, get tested and seek medical attention if needed. These are all basic health measures that should stay with us for the long term.
What to expect on our campuses
Our plan is to provide a rich campus experience beginning with Summer B. Classrooms will be populated at pre-COVID capacity, dining venues will be open according to their summer schedule, our athletic venues will host games with fans in the stands and there will be no physical distancing requirement. These conditions make it critical that every Panther takes responsibility for themselves and uses good judgment when deciding when and where to use face coverings and how to engage in campus and community activities.
Returning to normal operations means students who are sick must stay home and work with professors to complete assignments. Remote classes will not be an option beginning in Summer B.
Likewise, faculty and staff who are sick or face challenges at home with childcare or a sick family member must use the appropriate accrued leave to address the personal situation before returning to campus.
Possible individual exceptions can be addressed by the Division of Academic and Student Affairs or Human Resources.
Please look for an invitation to a town hall meeting in the coming days so that we can discuss how we will make 2021-22 our best academic year yet.
Thank you for your continued commitment to protecting yourself and other Panthers. As we return to our post-COVID 19 next normal, each of us must continue to take personal responsibility and contribute to healthy living on campus.
Mark B. Rosenberg