Institutions of higher education have been essential to the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in innumerable ways. Colleges and universities have produced many of the heroes who are at the center of that fight. Physicians, nurses, other frontline medical providers, materials science engineers, and researchers developing virus antibodies and future vaccines are just some of those who graduated from our institutions of higher education.
Current students in these disciplines and all others depend on college or university education for their future livelihoods. Florida and the nation are dependent on these educated and skilled workers beyond the pandemic. Our mission will require continued investment in Florida’s colleges and universities during this severe economic downturn. In short, Florida should not sacrifice their futures. There should be no reduction in funding for academics and research in our colleges and universities.
For full economic recovery, Florida cannot add to the unemployment numbers by reducing faculty, staff, graduate assistants, or adjuncts. There are approximately 100,000 full and part- time staff at Florida’s public colleges and universities. Their salaries, plus other spending on higher education, provide an economic engine for our state. These institutions and our public schools are among the largest employers in their local communities. Any reduction in funding to our higher education system will create a negative multiplier impact on our economy which is the reverse of the positive multiplier impact provided in strong economic times.
On-campus innovations to combat the virus will need funding to protect the health and safety of students, faculty, and staff who return to campus for hybrid and face-to-face classes. Adequate funding will be required for sanitized facilities, personal protective equipment, and comprehensive mental health and community health services on campuses. There must also be resources (either institutional, state, federal, or community funds) for testing and contact tracing.
All of these, and more, are part of the following guidelines and best practices established by this committee to ensure a safe and healthy re-opening of our public colleges and universities.
Read below for our guidelines and recommendations.Higher-Education-Reopen-Recommendations-web
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