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UFF Biweekly EXTRA
United Faculty of Florida -- USF Chapter
4 August 2020
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An Open Letter to USF President Steven Currall

Last week, UFF USF Chapter President Arthur Shapiro sent a letter to USF President Currall concerning reopening USF in fall.

July 31, 2020

Dr. Steve Currall, President and Professor, University of South Florida

Dear Dr. Currall,

We hope this letter finds you and your family and your loved ones in good health during these trying times. The University of South Florida United Faculty of Florida (USF-UFF) Chapter wants to express our appreciation for the numerous contributions you have made to our university and university community. In this time you have moved us through the enormous complexities of consolidation and into the onslaught of the COVID 19 pandemic.

We are sure that you are familiar with the action of the State of Florida’s United Faculty of Florida’s most recent letter to the Honorable Governor Ron DeSantis on July 27, 2020 by the UFF State President, Dr. Karen Morian, stating we strongly urge you to issue directives to transition all of Florida’s Institutions of Higher Education to remote learning (similar to your March directive) until public health conditions improve and we can assure students, parents and members of the higher education community that academic excellence can safely continue on our campuses. We strongly support this recommendation on the basis of available evidence:

  • The zip code with high levels of COVID 19 levels is that of the St. Petersburg campus.
  • Florida has its highest death rate from COVID 19 on July 28 with 216 deaths and 9,445 confirmed cases. Hillsborough County has 28,218 confirmed cases.
  • The positivity rate for COVID 19 exceeds 10% statewide and 20% in Miami-Dade.
  • Recommendations have been made that no more than 10 persons gather together, yet a number of classes will probably exceed those limits.
  • We are also concerned about the ventilation in many of our older building in view of recent findings that indicate that the virus is spread through the air.
Faculty statewide have spoken out loudly and clearly that it is not safe to open our universities next month. Statistics indicate that hundreds if not thousands of students, faculty, staff and administration may sicken and die should our campuses reopen.

We strongly believe that the online learning model is the safest model in view of the extreme danger to the health of everyone on the campus should we move into face-to-face models. We are asking that you and the Board of Trustees to make this decision based on data. We urge you to move all classes to online instruction this fall. Most Cordially,

Arthur Shapiro, President

United Faculty of Florida, USF Chapter

Cc: Mr. Jordan B. Zimmerman, Chair, USF Board of Trustees


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USF United Support Fund for Food Pantries

Many of our students are struggling during this crisis, and the USF Foundation is supporting the USF Food Pantries to help out. They are accepting non-perishable donations, but one can also make monetary donations for the pantries at St. Petersburg, Sarasota / Manatee, and Tampa.


Chapter Meeting Friday, August 7 via Zoom: for an invitation, contact the Chapter Secretary.

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