ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — The first week of the fall semester at UCF is looking very different for both students and professors because of the coronavirus.

What You Need To Know

  • Some professors must teach in person because of the subject

  • Physical theray students get less lab time

  • Extra safeguards put in place when students are in classrooms

  • Enrollment isn't suffering because of coronavirus, UCF officials say

UCF professor Amanda Groff, who teaches anthropology, says going from teaching a couple hundred students face to face, to teaching them all virtually, has been a bit of a culture shock.

“All of those large classes have transitioned to fully online formats or remote online formats," Groff said.  “When you have this large explosion of students in your classes, honestly I had to kind of restructure my courses to better format what will work with a large student population online.”

Meanwhile, Patrick Pabian said teaching classes digitally is not possible for him. His subject is physical therapy.

“We can video demonstrate and have students video demonstrate all day, even on each other, but we have to be there to enhance their ability to safely practice some skills…things like just repositioning a hand placement.”

Work spaces are distanced from one another, but each space has two chairs because effective practice of physical therapy means you have to have a partner.

“Since we’re violating social distancing in these subtle pairs, we’re doing extra safeguards," he said."

The new protocol means less time in lab for these PT students. They must amp up the cleaning routines and wear personal protection equipment, even more strictly than they were familiar with far before the pandemic hit.

Pabian said he made sure it won’t mean any less than the best education.

“They just want to know the rules at which they need to play by, and they’re gonna do that because these are future healthcare providers as well.”

UCF leaders said last fall’s student enrollment was nearly 70,000. They’re still finalizing numbers for this fall but say it’s expected to top that, despite the coronavirus pandemic.