We often say that a great community deserves a great university. That is true, and the University of West Florida has proven its value to the Pensacola area in myriad ways over the past half-century.
This year, however, I would add that our community deserves a healthy university — and vice versa.
Our campus may look and feel different this year, but we are committed to protecting the health and safety of our students and employees while providing the best UWF experience possible.
Our leadership has kept health and safety at the forefront of every decision in developing our Fall 2020 Returning to UWF Plan. Our plan includes safety precautions such as required face coverings, mandatory training for the entire campus community, daily pre-screening, contact tracking and testing to keep our students safe. We’ve also expanded our course delivery options by offering more online and hybrid courses.
Our facilities team has been hard at work preparing the classrooms for a much smaller maximum capacity, in accordance with CDC guidelines. All facilities will be thoroughly disinfected and social distancing will be enforced with signage located throughout every building on campus.
While our top priority is ensuring a safer environment on campus, we are firm believers in coming together as one community to protect the health of everyone. As part of our efforts, we have partnered with the City of Pensacola, Escambia County, Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce, Pensacola Downtown Improvement Board, Santa Rosa County and the Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce to protect the health and well-being of the entire Northwest Florida community.
Together, we are developing a database of businesses that follow CDC and state guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic. We plan to cross-promote with these establishments to send a unified message that public health and safety is a shared responsibility, and we all play an integral role.
We encourage everyone to join us in our fight against the pandemic. Together, we are strong enough to overcome this challenging time.
Martha D. Saunders is president of the University of West Florida.
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