ORLANDO, Fla-- With University of Central Florida students back on campus, the faculty union is hoping to negotiate more protections into their agreement with the university — including the ability to hold office hours virtually instead of in person.

What You Need To Know

  •  The United Faculty of Florida union at UCF is calling on the school to do more to limit the spread of COVID-19

  •  Union president Robert Cassanello argues that the school's COVID decisions triggers list is too vague

  • Faculty also wants the ability to hold office hours virtually, instead of in person

United Faculty of Florida at UCF president Robert Cassanello points to UCF’s COVID decision triggers list. This list outlines what would cause the university to increase restrictions, such as virtual learning. Last year’s list also included case numbers.

UCF revised that list on Aug. 13, and removed those parameters.

“Our concern with a trigger demands is that it's really a trigger for nothing, right? The triggers are never going to be met because there are these vague statements,” Cassanello said. “COVID cases on campus have surpassed the threshold by which we went to virtual last year.”

Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to get vaccinated, but not required. Cassanello said the rise in COVID-10 delta variant cases is causing even greater concern.

“Faculty are feeling stressed, they're feeling anxious," he said. "They worry that they're going to come to campus and bring the virus home to their loved ones."

For UCF undergrad Alyne Montenegro, she couldn’t be more excited to be back on campus.

“I’m international student — I’m from Brazil — so I was stuck there for one and a half years, so it’s amazing to be back and start taking classes again,” she said.

Montenegrois a music and theater major, and says virtual learning for those courses was incredibly challenging.

She's getting her second vaccination on Saturday, and continues to wear her mask in class.

“So now I’m like, nobody is going to take me out of here again," she said. "I want to stay here now and keep going."

Spectrum News asked UCF officials about these revisions and a spokeswoman released the following statement:

Our COVID dashboard -- along with information about expectations, vaccines and other precautions – is here https://www.ucf.edu/coronavirus/.

UCF’s list of triggers for in-person and on-campus restrictions is here https://www.ucf.edu/coronavirus/ucf-covid-decision-triggers/. It is important to note that these are guidelines that will be used to advise on when to make changes to campus operations and also are informed by evidence-based science and expert opinions. The triggers were updated due to the wide availability of vaccines.

We are continuing to strongly encourage vaccinations for all who are able to do so, particularly with the FDA’s announcement and the availability of the Pfizer vaccine at the Student Health Center. We also expect that all students, faculty, staff and visitors wear a mask indoors.

More information about additional steps we are taking this fall is here https://www.ucf.edu/coronavirus/an-update-on-fall-plans-and-precautions/.