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Jax Daily Record Monday, Aug. 3, 202005:10 AM EST

Florida Coastal School of Law going fully virtual

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“We have decided that the best course of action given the facts is to conduct courses fully online,” Dean Peter Goplerud says.
by: Max Marbut Associate Editor

Florida Coastal School of Law said July 22 that all courses will be online when the fall semester begins Aug. 3.

The decision reverses a June 5 announcement that classes and other school activities would be on campus.

In an email, Dean Peter Goplerud said the primary concern is the health and safety of students, staff, faculty and their families because  of the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Over the last several weeks we have watched the state of Florida average over 10,000 new cases per day and many of the state’s hospitals are at full capacity. Cases and hospitalizations in Northeast Florida have surged similar to those of the state as a whole. We have reviewed the CDC guidelines, reviewed the plans of other schools, evaluated our campus technology and noted that teachers have filed a lawsuit challenging the state’s order for public schools to open on time.

“Based upon a careful assessment of the various factors and public health data, we have decided that the best course of action given the facts is to conduct courses fully online for the Fall 2020 semester. We did not come to this decision easily,” Goplerud said.

He said Florida Coastal shift to online classes in the spring confirmed the ability of the faculty to provide a strong teaching and learning environment. He said the school upgraded and enhanced technology to provide access to all classes, presentations and programs.

Student organizations will conduct their usual activities and all programs will be delivered by Zoom.

The Law Library at the campus at 8787 Baypine Road will be open to provide students a safe, quiet place to study.

The school will follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including enhanced sanitizing of open areas of the campus. Face coverings will be required.

Plexiglass shields will be in place in the library and in the Dean’s Suite. There will be signs for social distancing in the elevators and other areas.

Goplerud said the school will deliver to everyone planning to be on campus an app that will allow for daily COVID-19 screening information.

“More technology upgrades and classroom preparations will be implemented in anticipation of being able to safely return to campus for the Spring 2021 Semester. If that proves safely feasible, Florida Coastal will continue to allow those who are not comfortable, for health and safety reasons, being on campus to take all their classes online,” Goplerud said. 

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