The Independent Florida Alligator, ‘It Doesn’t Have To Be This Way:’ UF Faculty Angry With COVID-19 ADA Accommodations for Spring:
UF has denied 144 UF professors the ability to teach remotely this Spring, leaving some to feel like the university administration has put their safety at risk.
As of Sunday, 222 high-risk faculty members requested accommodations through the Americans with Disabilities Act, most asking to teach remotely. Only 78 people were granted that request, said Jodi Gentry, UF’s vice president of human resources, at a UF Faculty Senate meeting Nov. 19.
Instead, UF provided the remaining professors “enhanced classroom safeguards.” These include personal protective equipment like N95 masks and face shields as well as increased sanitation, wrote Hessy Fernandez, UF’s director of issues management and crisis communications, in an email. ...
Stephanie Smith, a 61-year-old UF English professor and cancer survivor who was denied a remote accommodation, said she didn’t feel UF could guarantee her safety.
Smith said she reached out to her physician at UF Health Shands Hospital, who warned her she was at high risk for severe complications from COVID-19 due to her past chemotherapy treatment.
Despite that, when she applied for remote teaching in the Spring, she was denied. That caused her to consider retirement for the first time in her 30-year tenure at UF, she said.
David Hackett (Florida), The Broken Promise of Spring Reopening:
The UF administration promised students there will be face-to-face teaching this Spring. You will soon discover this is not quite the case.
In order to please our state’s leadership and assure continued funding, President Kent Fuchs and Provost Joseph Glover have mandated that there will be as many face-to-face classes this Spring as last Spring. However, because of social distancing guidelines, about 15% of the seats in these classes will be live while the rest will be online. ...
Many faculty who are at greater risk of getting the virus because of their age and/or pre-existing conditions have been ordered to teach these live classes. However, the majority of the students taking these classes will be simultaneously instructed online.
Both live and online students in face-to-face classrooms will be asked to adapt to a situation where professors must divide their attention between both live and online students. ...
Why is the university telling students, their parents and the legislature that undergraduates can take live classes this Spring just like last year? None of the other Florida public universities treat faculty lives so cheaply.