Spartan Shield is a UT health safety initiative that offers guidance to all members and guests of the University community in the era of COVID-19. It encompasses the University’s plan for maintaining a safe and socially responsible environment within the confines of a beautiful campus, but also serves as a model for how UT Spartans will lead by example when they venture out into the broader Tampa community.
Spartan Shield includes practices designed to preserve a standard on UT’s campus that prioritizes the health, safety and well-being of all UT community members and guests. It is expected that this standard will be emulated in the greater community as well. These adjustments will enable achievement of meaningful engagement and personalized instruction that has characterized the University throughout its history.
Thus, in the interest of preserving an environment that is as safe as possible for every member of the UT community and shielding the Spartan community from unnecessary risk, all UT faculty, staff and students are asked to follow basic principles and practices as described in detail in this document. This plan is subject to change as circumstances might dictate, but a summary of the keys to the success of Spartan Shield include:
Screening, Testing and Containment
It is essential for all members of the University community to conduct daily COVID-19 self-assessments, not only for one’s own health and safety, but to mitigate the spread of the virus to protect those members of the UT community who are at high risk.
- Faculty, staff and students were asked to begin a daily self-assessment screening on Aug. 19 and continue daily assessments during the week prior to the start of the fall semester. All members of the UT community are strongly encouraged to monitor for fever through daily temperature checks and self-assessment of COVID-19 signs and symptoms.
- Staff and faculty with symptoms are asked to stay home and seek medical attention; students are advised to seek medical attention at the Dickey Health and Wellness Center
- To facilitate self-monitoring and assessment, UT installed hands-free temperature screening systems in several locations across campus.
- On-campus programs should include attendance lists.
In response to positive cases of COVID-19 in the campus community,
- UT has deployed Rapid Trace to identify close contacts, in partnership with the Florida Department of Health.
- Faculty will need to maintain seating charts for their classes.
- Events will need to track who has participated in-person.
Isolation and Quarantine:
- Any person who tests positive will isolate for 10 days and until symptoms have resolved.
- Isolation may be at home or, for residential students, in a designated isolation space.
- Those who were in close contact will be notified and required to quarantine for 14 days.
Social distancing, also called “physical distancing,” means keeping space between yourself and other people outside of your home or residence hall suite. Best practices in physical distancing involve staying at least six feet (about two arms’ length) from other people where there is no physical barrier. Physical distancing practices should be followed in both indoor and outdoor spaces.
UT is committed to mitigating the spread of COVID-19 through a University-wide commitment to physical distancing practices while also fostering ongoing social connections and community building.
- Recognizing that larger spaces that accommodate greater levels of physical distancing will be in high demand, essential University business will be prioritized.
- Faculty and staff should continue to use video conferencing technology when possible if physical distancing measures cannot be met or to allow participation of higher-risk individuals who choose not to attend face-to-face meetings/activities.
Specific physical distancing guidelines have been developed to:
- Maintain academic quality and the integrity of our academic experience.
- Balance the health and safety of the student, staff, and faculty while developing a sense of belonging and connectedness among students to support student success.
- Mitigate risk for those determined to be vulnerable or immunocompromised.
The facilities and activities that have been identified thus far as requiring specific physical distancing guidelines include: general classrooms; laboratory, studio, simulation and performance spaces; waiting areas; conference spaces and meeting rooms; dining; travel; elevators; residence halls; residence hall common areas; mass gatherings; off-campus learning experiences; co-curricular programs and activities; campus recreation and athletic facilities (indoor and outdoor); and, student employment.
Sanitization, Personal Hygiene and Personal Protection Equipment
The CDC has set guidance for institutions of higher learning regarding healthy hygiene practices, personal protective equipment (PPE) and sanitization that is reflected in the Spartan Shield Health Safety Plan.
- Faculty, staff, students and visitors, including vendors, are required to wear face masks/coverings in all common areas of campus facilities including classrooms, and outdoor campus areas where social distancing is not possible. Exceptions are permitted for the use of dining facilities, participation in athletic practices and contests and instruction in selected fine arts. Detailed instructions on how best to navigate these activities will be provided by the respective areas that are reviewed by Dining Services, Athletics and the College of Arts and Letters.
- Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to keep their personal items (e.g., cell phones, other electronics) and personal work and living spaces clean.
- Facilities Management environmental services staff members are ensuring that classrooms are sanitized at the start of each class day, and they will conduct regular rounds through facilities.
In addition to classrooms, the facilities that have been identified thus far as requiring specific sanitization requirements include: laboratory, studio, simulation and performance spaces; residence halls; athletic and recreation facilities; and, university-owned vehicles.
In order to maximize the mitigation of transmission risk in the classroom, faculty have committed to the following practices in the design of their classes.
- Some classes will meet in full according to the posted schedule where classroom sizes and course enrollments allow for necessary physical distancing.
- In other cases, classes may employ alternative delivery methods that facilitate physical distancing while maintaining engagement with students. This may include some combination of smaller face-to-face class meetings and the use of a variety of educational technologies.
- Some courses taught by faculty members who are themselves at higher risk of illness – according to CDC guidelines – may be taught remotely.
- In order to further reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, faculty and students are expected to wear masks during in-place instructional experiences, except for certain unique situations in the arts.
- In order to maintain appropriate physical distancing and accommodate student and faculty needs, some instructors will hold office hours and other meetings via Zoom or other online platforms that allows for synchronous interaction.
- If a student has to be quarantined during the semester, faculty will use educational technology or other means to enable the student to continue coursework until they can return to the classroom.
- Syllabi and other course materials will be distributed electronically for greater student accessibility.
- Course supplies will not be shared among students unless appropriate sanitization procedures are followed.
Read the Spartan Shield Health Safety Plan (PDF) in its entirety.