The Plan for Returning to CampusReady to Return

A dolphin seen through a forward arrow.

Jacksonville University is excited to welcome students back to campus for the Fall 2020 semester. In order to do that safely, every member of our campus community must do their part. Living, learning, and working together this fall will require more respect and responsibility from each of us.

This webpage is designed to help you understand your role in maintaining a healthy campus. This information is fluid and subject to change as we learn new information about COVID-19 and adjust to updated guidance. We will update this site and add new announcements as decisions are made.

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Ready to Return: President Cost's Message for the Fall

Welcome to all the members of the Dolphin family. Welcome back for an update on where things stand at your University.

You know, every few weeks, dating back to March, we've been trying to keep you posted on what's it like as we prepare this campus for your arrival come August.

We've been working with world-class health care experts like the Mayo Clinic to put together a plan to bring you safely back to this campus or, for many of you, for the first time. The faculty, the staff, the students and their families, we're going to welcome you all back here when it's safe to do so.

We continue to work inside the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control, and, as we put all of our thinking together, now we want to share with you what's it going to look like to live here, to learn here, to eat here, to gather here.

Let's share a glimpse of what we think the fall is going to be like for you.

Your health and personal safety come first. Everything we do is centered around that. Here's the key: You have to put safety first, too.
Returning to our campus this fall means we each have a personal responsibility to guard our health and the health of others. If we're going to live and learn and work together this fall, we all must do our part.

There's three very important concepts that we all have to sign onto. We have to agree this is going to be the backbone of our behavior.
First: social distancing. It works. We're going to give each other respect and give each other six feet, at least.

Second of all, hand washing. Personal hand hygiene is powerful when it comes to controlling the transmission of this virus.
And third, the wearing of cloth face coverings. Wearing a cloth face covering may reduce the risk of transmitting this virus down to just 3%, and, when you add in physical distancing, you cut your risk even further.

There will be plenty of times to take off your mask. We want you to get outside as much as possible, where you can spread out, enjoy the fresh air. We're adding and expanding many of our outdoor seating areas for this reason, with more tables, more benches, Adirondack chairs, shade sails and even hammocks on campus. We have hundreds of sunny days a year here in Jacksonville, so we encourage you to meet and eat and work and study outdoors.

Come this fall, we're committed to offering as much in-person instruction in your classrooms as possible, just as it's always been. To do that, you'll need to wear face coverings in the classroom, and you're going to need to maintain a safe distance from each other. Some coursework will be online when that's possible or when it's necessary.

One of the most important things we can do for your safety is clean and sanitize all the physical spaces where you're gonna live, where you're going to study, where you're gonna eat, where you're going to gather, and we have the best in the business. We've hired Aramark to do all that, to double and triple clean everything.

While you've been gone this summer and to prepare for your arrival in the fall, we're installing more sanitizing stations and stocking up on supplies for classrooms and workspaces. We're going to ask everyone to do their part in keeping their own personal spaces clean this fall, as well.

We understand a big part of your collegiate experience is when you get together and eat, your dining options. We've made a lot of changes and upgraded and added functionality so you'll have more choices of dining. We've expanded our hours. We're adding outdoor culinary stations for you. Outdoor seating, more grab-and-go options, meal kits for those of you who can cook at home, and new locations that will accept your card swipes. We've also eliminated self-serve options so we can go full service for you.

For now, in line with all of the guidance all around the country, at all major universities like ours, there's going to be a limit on how we gather together. In other words, no more than ten at a time in any one place. In fact, virtual meetings are going to be strongly recommended. And, as much as we all love to cheer on our great Division I student athletes here, at least for the beginning of the semester, they're going to be competing without spectators in the stands.

So relative to this fall, you have our commitment we're going to continue to communicate with you regularly on everything that's happening. It's a fluid situation. We're staying very closely connected to public health guidelines, so please regularly check in with Stay connected with us, and reach out to any of the contacts that you have on our website with any questions that you have.

So I hope you'll agree there's lots of reasons for excitement for your arrival here on our campus this fall.

We've been working hard to get ready. We want you to be safe and healthy when you get here.

There's a couple things that are important for us all to remember come the fall, because things are changing. We need to be flexible. A sense of shared personal responsibility. Respect for other people is going to matter on this campus. What you do is going to affect my health, and what I do is going to affect your health, and we're in this together.

And two things for sure: social distancing works. We're gonna ask you to practice that on campus for the good of all your classmates. And another thing: masks. Masks are gonna be part of all of our lives, so I say: you stay safe and healthy there. We'll do the same. We'll see you in the fall.


Plan Overview

Health & Safety

  • Face coverings required in all indoor spaces, except residential rooms.
  • Wash your hands frequently & stay 6 feet away from others.
  • When possible, meet, eat, or study outside.
  • Check your health daily and stay home if you’re sick.
  • Gatherings limited to 10 people or fewer. Virtual meetings encouraged.
  • Facilities team will clean & disinfect more frequently.
  • More sanitizing stations installed around campus.
  • Disinfect your personal work/living space regularly.
  • Campus Safety and Security will conduct a temperature check and ask health screening questions before allowing visitors on campus.


  • Fall semester starts Aug. 17 and ends Nov. 24 for traditional undergraduate students.
  • We will offer as much in-person instruction as possible.
  • Face coverings and physical distancing are required in classrooms.
  • Some courses or coursework will be online as needed.
  • Labs, clinicals, internships and service learning will be permitted as partner organizations allow them.
  • Students must own or have access to a laptop to ensure continuity in any scenario this fall.

Returning to Campus

  • Review the “Return to Campus” instructions.
  • We encourage all students and staff to be tested for COVID-19 10-14 days prior to returning to campus.
  • Closely monitor your health for two weeks before returning.
  • Students should complete a medical history form and a COVID exposure form within the Student Health Center’s Patient Portal.
  • Students should complete a COVID exposure form within the Student Health Center’s Patient Portal.
  • Student-athletes will be tested for COVID-19 upon returning to campus.
  • JU will supply each student and employee with one reusable face covering.
  • Check your health daily by taking your temperature and assessing how you feel.
  • If you have a fever of 100.4 degrees F or above, stay home and call the Student Health Center or your doctor.
  • If you are experiencing a cough, sore throat, or shortness of breath, stay home and call the Student Health Center or your doctor.

How did we come up with this plan? The Planning Process

The health and safety of every member of our campus remains at the forefront of every decision the University makes. The information found here reflects months worth of collaborative discussions with senior leaders, consultation with outside experts, evaluation of best practices across higher education, and careful consideration of the overall JU experience. These important discussions are ongoing and fluid, as is the COVID-19 public health crisis and global response.

The policies on this website have been developed by a broad committee including senior leadership and faculty experts based on a close review of published guidelines and recommendations produced by the CDC, OSHA, WHO, ACHA, and the FDOH, in addition to outside consultation with our legal counsel, Public Health experts from Mayo Clinic’s Infectious Disease Unit, and the Duval County Department of Health.

The task force that developed this plan continues to meet weekly to review the latest developments so that we can adapt swiftly to the changes in our environment. This website will be updated regularly to reflect any adjustments to the plan.