21 Things to Know About Spring 2021
January 13, 2021 - 9:00 a.m.
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1. Academic Instruction
FAU has worked to create a learning environment that considers not only the health and safety of students and faculty, but also the importance of high-quality instruction (watch video). For Spring 2021, the University will add more opportunities for students to engage in on-campus instruction while continuing to allow for remote participation in almost all classes. Students can choose the instructional method that best works for them – whether that’s face-to-face or in an online environment.
These expanded in-person or hybrid options will take place in classrooms set up to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and may utilize non-traditional classroom space. If students disclose testing positive for COVID-19 or disclose experiencing symptoms, they should be advised to immediately contact Student Health Services. Employees are also asked to then email the Dean of Students office at email@example.com with the student’s full name and Z number if known.
Faculty members are encouraged to continue to avail themselves of the resources on the Keep Teaching website, while students should visit the Keep Learning website to familiarize themselves with remote learning resources.
Spring Break is canceled. With this shift, the Spring 2021 semester will end one week earlier than previously scheduled. The last day of regular classes will now be April 19, and final exams will take place between April 22-28.
Commencement dates have moved to April 29 and 30. The full academic calendar is available on the Office of the Registrar website. Visit the Celebrating the Class of 2020 website to watch the Fall Commencement virtual ceremonies.
Students are encouraged to check the Testing Center’s website for updates.
Services are available through the University Center for Excellence in Writing, Math Learning Center, CLASS, and the Science Learning Center. Links to full tutoring schedules and additional information is available at fau.edu/ctl and each center’s website.
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2. Alternative Work Arrangements
The Alternate Work Arrangements (AWA) program has been updated for the Spring 2021 semester.
Employees may request an AWA based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for vulnerable populations, which include the following:
- Age 65 or older*
- At increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 due to a specific medical condition*
- Household member who resides with the employee is at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 due to a specific underlying medical condition
(*Employees who applied for and met the criteria under the Vulnerable Population Program in Fall 2020 per their own age and medical condition do not need to re-apply; employees approved due to a household member must re-apply for Spring 2021 as circumstances may have changed.)
If requesting an AWA due to the above categories, first complete the COVID-19 Alternate Work Arrangement form in Workday. Human Resources, in coordination with the Office of Equity and Inclusion, will initiate the next step. The employee will be required to provide supporting medical documentation. Age-based requests do not require medical documentation. Upon review of the completed AWA via the vulnerable population criteria, the employee will be notified by email via Workday to complete the Remote Work Agreement process in Workday.
Remote Work Agreements (RWA) are required for any University employee whose job duties may fully or partially be performed away from the regular work location. Employees who have an approved AWA for Spring 2021 need to submit a new RWA in Workday. The RWAs that were approved in the Fall expired at the end of December 2020. All fully remote work forms must be approved by the appropriate vice president.
These work arrangements may include one or more of the following: alternative workspace onsite, modified hours, remote work schedule, etc. Leave options are available as well. FAU departments and units are encouraged to work with employees in the vulnerable population to provide alternative arrangements when reasonable. Approved RWAs are subject to modification at any time.
RWAs requested for Spring 2021 will be reviewed by supervisors and approved where feasible. The University may not be able to approve every request, even if the job duties in isolation are conducive to remote work or other arrangements.
Jobs aids are available in Workday.
Employees requesting an AWA for Spring 2021 are asked to do so as soon as possible to assist departments and units in planning efforts for the semester. Reintegration of employees on all FAU campuses continues and all units will be required to provide a full suite of onsite operations during the upcoming Spring semester while adhering to the University’s safety triad of face coverings, physical distancing, and hand/surface sanitization.
Employees who need other accommodations are asked to contact the Office of Equity and Inclusion.
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Visit the Department of Athletics website for news, team schedules, ticket information, and other details.
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4. Campus Recreation
Campus Recreation facilities are open (watch video). All patrons are required to wear a face covering indoors and outdoors at all times and stay at least six feet away from others. Lockers and restroom facilities are available, although showers are closed. Water fountains and bottle filling stations are also closed.
The capacity for the Fitness Floor has expanded from 50 individuals to a maximum of 75 at any one time. Advanced registration is no longer required. Members may check the facility occupancy and availability via Owlrec.fau.edu. Upon entry, members must swipe Owl Card or scan key tag.
Visit the Campus Recreation website for additional information.
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5. Compliance Program
The health and safety of the FAU community is everyone’s individual responsibility. Protect Your Owl Family and follow university guidelines contained in the Health and Safety Plan.
The Guidance on Enforcement of FAU’s COVID-19 Safety Plan document is meant to provide a framework of enforcement mechanisms for students, faculty and staff. Please review the plan in its entirety. Compliance is a binding responsibility of every person and will be enforced consistent with existing FAU policies, including the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
FAU’s eventual return to traditional operations is dependent on these COVID-19-related guidelines, as well as those who notice non-compliance and notify appropriate officials when concerns arise. Individuals not complying with guidelines are subject to disciplinary actions. For students, potential sanctions could range from a conduct warning up to a suspension or expulsion from the University. For employees, sanctions could range from counseling or verbal warning up to written warnings and termination.
Examples of non-compliance include, but are not limited to: failure to wear a face covering; failure to physically distance from others; failure by a supervisor to enforce health and safety requirements; employees who exhibit signs of illness at work and refuse to return home; and employees failing to report to work when requested.
Non-compliance issues can be submitted via the following links:
Additional information for faculty and professional staff is available in the Employee Reintegration Plan.
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6. Contact Tracing
Contact tracing is the process used to identify those who encounter people who have tested positive for COVID-19 or are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, contact tracing is a core disease control measure employed as a key strategy for preventing further spread.
Contact tracing includes two distinct processes: 1) to notify individuals who test positive or are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and need to self-isolate; and 2) to notify individuals who have been exposed to COVID-19 and may need to self-quarantine.
FAU has collaborated with the Florida Department of Health (FDOH), and local county health departments, to establish processes and to assist in tracing contacts internal to the FAU community. SHS oversees contact tracing for FAU-related cases. FAU’s clinical staff or contact tracing staff performs all contact tracing for students, faculty and staff in collaboration with the FDOH, which performs the contact tracing for those outside the FAU community.
Students and employees may be contacted by phone by Student Health Services (SHS). The calls may come from unrecognized phone numbers. It is important to answer calls to your cell phone and follow the instructions contact tracers provide. FAU’s contact tracing program will not extend beyond the university community. Only FAU students and employees will be contacted. The process is as follows:
- Student Health Services is notified of a positive test or positive COVID-19 symptoms through various sources.
- The SHS staff contacts the FAU student or employee who tested positive or is positive for COVID-19 symptoms and makes sure they are receiving the appropriate care and, most importantly, are following healthcare directions.
- The SHS staff interviews the student or employee to determine with whom on campus they may have come into close contact, and what campus spaces may have been exposed*.
- Based on this information, the SHS staff will contact potentially exposed FAU students and/or employees to notify and instruct them on next steps as appropriate. Additionally, SHS will arrange for cleaning of exposed spaces.
*In this context, “close contact” is defined as being within six feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period starting two days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, two days prior to test specimen collection).
Specific protocols for testing and contact tracing are available in the FAU COVID-19 Spring Plan (pages 25-26)
For employees, the Department of Human Resources has established a dedicated webpage for COVID-19 information specific to faculty and staff. Included on this page is information pertaining to the Talent Share Program, the Leave Donation Plan, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and leave/emergency paid sick leave details.
If employees need to self-isolate or quarantine they should also inform their supervisor.
For students, FAU has developed an on-campus quarantine and isolation plan and has the capability to isolate and quarantine residential students in both Boca Raton and Jupiter.
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7. COVID-19 Testing
Student Health Services (SHS) on the Boca Raton, Davie and Jupiter campuses offers COVID-19 viral testing for all students, faculty and staff. Priority is given to those exhibiting signs or symptoms consistent with COVID-19 and for asymptomatic individuals with recent known or suspected COVID-19 exposure.
To make an appointment for testing, call one of the three campus SHS clinic locations:
- Boca Raton: 561-297-3512
- Davie: 954-236-1556
- Jupiter: 561-799-8678
The Boca Raton SHS office also will offer walk-up testing for asymptomatic individuals during the Spring semester. Please check the SHS website for dates and schedules.
If you have symptoms of COVID-19 or suspected exposure, Protect Your Owl Family and get tested by a healthcare provider. All members of the FAU community should contact SHS if you:
- Receive a positive COVID-19 test from another healthcare provider;
- Are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or the flu;
- Have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone who is positive for COVID-19 symptoms.
Knowledge of positive tests, symptoms and/or individuals with direct exposure to those with the virus allows SHS to begin contact tracing protocols.
Random Testing Program
Employees and students will be randomly selected and offered COVID-19 tests throughout 13 weeks of the Spring semester. The selection process for this voluntary program will draw from the full FAU employee list, not including those individuals assigned full remote work as part of the Vulnerable Population Program. The student group will be comprised of all on-campus residents, all student-athletes, and non-residential students who connect to campus Wifi, swipe into any library location or Campus Recreation facility, or sign up for a seat in the Canvas Seat Reservation tool.
Beginning Monday, Jan., 18, employees and students randomly selected will be notified when attempting to log-in to any major University system, such as Workday, Canvas or Banner. Individuals selected are highly encouraged to participate in the testing process. Those choosing to participate but preferring to test through another healthcare provider will be able upload their results to support the FAU program data (both PCR and rapid antigen tests will be accepted). The FAU random testing schedule is as follows:
- Boca Raton campus
- Wednesdays and Thursdays, 8 – 11 a.m. and 12 – 3 p.m.
- Location 1 (last name A-L): SH-46, Room 109 (Nations Multi-Purpose Room)
- Location 2 (last name M-Z): BU-86, Sean Stein Pavilion
- Davie campus
- Mondays, 8 a.m. – 12 p.m.
- Location: ES 122 (Education and Science Building)
- Jupiter campus
- Tuesdays, 8 a.m. – 12 p.m.
- Location: MC-12 EC 101/102 (Education Building)
- HBOI campus
- Tuesdays, 2 – 3 p.m. and Wednesdays, 8 – 9 a.m.
- Location: HB18, Room/Area 101 (foyer of Edwin A. Link building)
Questions regarding the random testing process will be answered via the program’s dedicated hotline (561-405-8677).
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8. Dining Services
Dining Services hours are available here. All retail locations are take-out only. The Atlantic Dining Hall has limited seating.
FAU dining facilities undergo stringent cleaning and sanitation procedures in accordance with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Visit the Dining Services website for additional information.
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Maximum attendance for indoor/outdoor events and gatherings is 50 persons or 25% of venue capacity (whichever is lower) and all events must operate per the University’s safety triad of face coverings, physical distancing, and hand/surface sanitization. Additional requirements or limitations may be in place for specific FAU units or per venue managers.
- Depending on the venue layout and space available to ensure physical distancing of attendees, the maximum attendance could be less than 50. Venue managers have the latitude to set lower maximum attendance capacities.
- Food and beverage are permitted if served and consumed only when attendees are seated.
- Organizers of events or venue managers must produce a roster with contact information for each event attendee and maintain the information for a minimum of one month after the date of the event. (Does not apply to campus visitors entering public facilities such as museums or galleries).
- Communications advertising events must include a statement encouraging individuals at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 (including older adults and people of all ages with certain underlying medical conditions) to avoid such events and gatherings and, when available, direct those individuals to virtual participation options.
- On-site event signage placed in prominent locations must address mandatory face coverings and physical distancing protocols.
Visit the Student Union website for information on hours and other events.
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10. FAU Cares
This application is used to consider students for multiple funding sources all of which can assist with financial hardship. Students must be enrolled and degree seeking for the current semester to be considered for funding. Students are strongly encouraged to complete the 2020-2021 FAFSA with FAU’s school code (001481) before completing this application, so that we can determine eligibility for all possible sources of support. The FAU Cares Fund is a scholarship for currently enrolled degree seeking students who are experiencing financial hardship due to an emergency. The fund can be used for educationally related expenses such as room, board, tuition, and personal expenses. A 2020-2021 FAFSA is not required but is strongly encouraged for this fund. Click here to apply.
Visit the Office of Financial Aid website for additional information.
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11. Financial Aid
Students are encouraged to contact the Office of Financial Aid via phone, email or live chat. Documents may be securely uploaded at owlfiles.fau.edu. Contact Information, additional updates, resources, and live chat are available at fau.edu/finaid.
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12. Flu Shots
With flu season occurring with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it is imperative that all members of the FAU community continue to Protect Your Owl Family. Keep in mind that the same protocols implemented for COVID-19 will also protect you from the flu. It is important that everyone view this guidance as a shared responsibility.
As a preventive measure, FAU encourages all members of the community to get vaccinated against the flu as soon as possible. Student Health Services offers flu vaccines at no cost for FAU students, faculty and staff. Visit the Student Health Services website for clinic schedules and additional information, as vaccines are only provided during specific times. Students can call to schedule an appointment and do not have to wait for a clinic date. Appointments are required in advance by calling the respective campus clinics:
- Boca Raton (561-297-3512)
- Davie (954-236-1556)
- Jupiter (561-799-8678)
Flu shots also can be obtained from personal healthcare providers or local pharmacies. Contact those providers directly for details.
For more information about flu season, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
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13. Housing and Residential Education
COVID-19 Tests Required for Move-In
A COVID-19 PCR test is required to check-in to FAU residence halls*. PCR tests are considered the “gold standard” in identifying COVID-19 as the system allows detection of very small quantities of the virus that would not be detected with other tests. All Spring 2021 residential students will be required to present a negative COVID-19 test result by January 11 at 9 a.m. The test results submitted must be from a test conducted between Dec. 28, 2020 – Jan. 7, 2021. It is recommended that students have the test no more than three days prior to their move-in date.
If residential students fail to provide a test by the required date, their access to the Recreation and Fitness Center and their residence hall/student apartment will be disabled. These students will then be asked to go to Student Health Services to obtain a COVID-19 test before their access is reactivated.
*All Spring 2021 residential students will be required to present a negative COVID-19 test result by January 11 at 9 a.m. The test results submitted must be from a test conducted between Dec. 28, 2020 – Jan. 7, 2021. It is recommended that students have the test no more than three days prior to their move-in date.
New students will participate in an appointment-based check-in process. This will allow each student and family time to transition to campus with reduced traffic. Students will sign-up for move-in appointments on the housing portal. New students will move-in to the residence halls January 5-9. Returning students will return to campus starting Jan. 7.
Additional information is available on the residential move-in information web page.
2021-2022 Housing Renewal
- Boca Raton contract renewal – Feb. 1-12
- Jupiter contract renewal – Jan 19-22
Employment for Fall 2021
Students interested in employment on campus for Fall 2021 can apply for one of three student positions with the Department of Housing and Residential Education: Resident Assistant, Desk Assistant, or Community Service Officer.
Students who are planning to take classes in Summer 2021 can apply for summer housing on the housing portal when the Summer Housing Application opens March 1.
Protect Your Owl Family
Current COVID-19 processes related to face coverings, physical distancing, cleaning/disinfection, guest policy, and shared community spaces will remain in place for Spring 2021. Students are required to follow all University guidelines, as in some instances guidelines are different in local cities or counties.
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14. Human Resources
Leave Donation Plan
The Leave Donation Plan allows employees to donate accrued leave (annual leave or sick leave) into a FAU-sponsored leave pool for use by other employees who have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 public health emergency and have exhausted all their accrued leave. An employee is adversely affected if the emergency has caused severe hardship to the employee or to their immediate family members. Examples of hardship include personal medical emergencies, quarantine mandates, or the inability to work or work remotely.
Talent Share Program
The Talent Share Program is designed to assist the FAU community in connecting eligible and available FAU talent affected by a reduction in work associated with COVID-19, with FAU colleges and units that have temporary projects or assignments. Supervisors and managers must first look within their colleges and units to determine if existing employees can address their needs. If they are unsuccessful in securing employees within their colleges or units, they can access the COVID Shared Resources Talent Pool to locate available talent elsewhere in the University. Employees participating in the Talent Share Program will not experience a change in reporting structure, job title, salary, or leave accrual – the primary assignment will not change.
Visit the Department of Human Resources COVID-19 website to access other detailed information.
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The FAU Libraries are committed to adhering to the guidelines set by the University, including face coverings, physical distancing, and other health and safety measures. During the Spring 2021 semester, libraries faculty and staff will continue to serve the FAU community through a hybrid model of on-site and technology-enhanced services that ensure public safety while meeting the needs of FAU faculty and students.
- An active Owl Card will be required for entry to any FAU-controlled library facility
- Buildings will be open limited hours and at a reduced occupancy
- Face coverings that cover the nose and mouth will be required for entry, service and the duration of time visitors spend in the buildings
- No food and/or drinks
- No access to the book stacks; books will need to be requested using an online form and will be delivered through low-contact or contactless delivery mechanisms
For additional information, visit the FAU Libraries Spring 2021 website.
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The Division of Research supports university faculty in their pursuit to answer novel research questions, creative endeavors and scholarly work. As conditions change during the COVID-19 pandemic, the division continues to monitor the situation and make recommendations. Research activity can resume if conditions outlined in FAU’s COVID-19 Spring 2021 and Health and Safety plans are met.
Visit the Division of Research website for detailed information.
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17. Safety Triad
FAU’s safety triad of face coverings, physical distancing, and hand and surface sanitization will help prevent the further spread of COVID-19 on campuses and within the local communities.
Face coverings are required on campuses at all times, indoors and out. The only exceptions are when along in a personal vehicle or when alone and behind closed doors inside a private office or residence hall room. Handmade face coverings, such as those fashioned from a scarf, bandana or handkerchief, should fit tightly over the nose and mouth. Face shields or face coverings with exhalation ports or vents are not permitted as they do not provide effective protection from droplets. Keep face coverings with you at all times. Students who need special accommodations regarding face coverings should contact Student Accessibility Services. Employees should contact the Office of Equity, Inclusion and Compliance. Additional information is available in FAU’s Health and Safety plan (pages 2, 12-13).
Maintain a distance of at least six feet from others. Employees working on campus should not visit other offices, labs, or spend time in common areas (such as conference rooms) unless absolutely necessary. In-person meetings are discouraged. Continue to use phone or teleconferencing applications whenever possible.
Wash your hands often with soap and water or use hand sanitizer. Avoid touching your eyes, mouth and nose. If necessary, cough or sneeze into the inside of your elbow and then wash your hands. Personnel in office spaces are responsible for disinfecting their own spaces and common areas. It is encouraged to disinfect high-touch areas (such as printers or shared work spaces) every two hours.
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18. Transportation Services
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All new domestic university travel requires pre-approval by the appropriate vice president, or dean in the case of a college, before expenditures/commitments are to be made. The approving authority should determine that the proposed travel is essential before it is approved.
Essential travel is defined as travel which is essential to FAU’s mission and operation that can only be completed by physically being present and doesn’t create an unacceptable health hazard. Essential travel includes traveling to a workshop linked to ensuring accreditation, attending a conference where you are a presenter on behalf of FAU, or any other travel associated with ensuring the successful delivery of a critical mission area of the university.
All other travel is considered non-essential and may not be approved. Examples include attending a conference where you are not a presenter.
Any exceptions to the requirement that university travel be deemed essential will be at the discretion of the respective vice president or dean.
FAU will continue to follow travel guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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20. Wellness Attestation/COVID-19 Training
All members of the university community must complete a Wellness Attestation/Check-In form twice per week. The only exception are employees working fully remotely as part of the Vulnerable Population Program.
The attestation will appear whenever the student or employee attempts to log-in to any major University system, such as Workday, Canvas or Banner. Students will begin receiving the attestation on the first day of classes. Residential students who arrive before the start of classes will be added as they move into their residence halls.
All members of the university community must also complete the new COVID-19 Training for Spring. To start the semester, employees and students will be presented with the option to complete either the training titled COVID-19 Required Training (Employees) or COVID-19 Required Training (Students) when logging in to any system that requires NETID on campus. The training takes approximately 30 minutes to complete. Everyone is encouraged to complete the training at their earliest opportunity. All employees and students are required to complete the training even if they did so at the beginning of the Fall 2020 semester.
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FAU’s goal is to increase onsite work as much as possible while adhering to all safety guidance and established protocols. All departments and units will offer a full suite of operations onsite, including all customer-facing services.
Employees should maintain a distance of at least six feet from others. When working on campus, do not visit other offices, labs or spend time in common areas (such as conference rooms) unless physical presence is necessary. Use of department kitchens, lunch spaces or break areas should be minimized. Food and beverages must only be consumed while seated and physically distanced from others, preferably outdoors or alone.
Personnel in office spaces are responsible for disinfecting their own spaces and common areas of suites. It is encouraged to disinfect high-touch areas (such as printers or common work stations) every two hours.
In-person meetings (non-customer-facing interactions) are discouraged. Continue to use phone or teleconferencing applications (such as WebEx) whenever possible.
Spring 2021 Semester
*Case data updated every 30 minutes.
Spring 2021 Semester Plans
Questions and Requests for Assistance can be directed to a Member of the COVID-19 Team at FAUCOVID19@fau.edu.
Residential Students (including off-campus hotel)
Non-Residential Students (contact the Office of the Dean of Students)