Updates and Announcements


Here’s where you’ll find the most recent updates on fall preparations.


Through your hard work and commitment to caring for one another, we had a successful 2020-2021 academic year with a minimal number of COVID-19 cases reported on campus. Thank you for taking your health, and the health of others, seriously.

As we prepare for the new academic year, we’re working closely with the Board of Governors and alongside the other State Universities to update our current COVID-19 protocols.  

For Summer A and C, which begin on May 17, we will continue to follow our current Florida Poly COVID-19 protocols pertaining to social distancing, classroom capacity, gatherings, meetings, etc.  You will not notice significant changes across campus at this point.  And, in keeping with CDC and Board of Governors guidance, we are strongly recommending the use of face coverings while indoors. As we know, face coverings have been shown to be very effective in preventing the transmission of COVID-19. 

For Summer B, which starts July 6, we will begin transitioning to pre-COVID-19 operations and classroom capacity. This will continue into the fall semester. Continuing our streak of minimal infections on campus will be up to each of us to act responsibly and take measures to promote a healthy environment. We will continue to strongly encourage the use of face coverings and will closely align with CDC guidance.

Fortunately, the campus community now has access to an additional prevention tool: the COVID-19 vaccines. The three approved COVID-19 vaccines have been shown to be safe and effective at preventing COVID-19, which is why we strongly encourage you to become vaccinated. To increase access to the vaccines, we’ve scheduled free, public vaccination events on campus on May 19, May 26, and June 2. The Florida Division of Emergency Management will be on campus with its vaccination bus beginning at 10 a.m. on each of these days and will administer the Johnson & Johnson one-dose vaccine on a walk-up basis.

Please continue to monitor your email and the Florida Poly coronavirus webpage for more updates and announcements in the coming weeks. By working together, we can continue our campus’ good health and focus on our mission of advancing excellent education in engineering and applied sciences.

Stay healthy,



The wider availability of COVID-19 vaccines means we now have a powerful tool we can use to make a real difference on campus. Florida Poly and the State University System strongly encourage our entire University and surrounding communities to receive one of the three approved vaccines for the coronavirus.

We are glad to announce that free, public vaccination events are scheduled on campus on May 19, May 26, and June 2. The Florida Division of Emergency Management will have its vaccination bus on campus beginning at 8 a.m. on each of these days and will administer the Johnson & Johnson one-dose vaccine on a walk-up basis.

Those who choose to receive the free vaccine should bring their University ID or other form of identification. For employees who do not work on the main campus, time will be allowed to travel to the campus to receive your vaccine. Please make sure this is coordinated with your supervisor.

By getting vaccinated, you can help prevent the spread of the virus on campus and help us in our return to normalcy.



Dear employees,

As COVID-19 vaccines gain more widespread distribution in our community, many of you are understandably eager to be immunized against the virus.  Unfortunately, the expanded access to the vaccine has been accompanied by confusion over who can get vaccinated and where.

We want to make sure we can provide you with the most updated information we have available about the vaccine and its availability in our area. Experts have shown that getting vaccinated against COVID-19 protects not only yourself, but also adds to the protection of our entire community.

The information below outlines the most current details we have regarding COVID-19 vaccination. Please note that guidance, eligibility, vaccination site acceptance, and other specifics can change rapidly. We encourage you to verify all requirements and restrictions when making an appointment and before receiving your vaccine.

If you are interested in getting the COVID-19 vaccine, we hope this information will help you navigate the process.

State Eligibility

The state has deemed the following groups eligible for the vaccine at this time:

  • People age 65 or older. This access expands to age 60 or older on Monday, March 15.
  • People under 65 who are deemed medically vulnerable by a doctor. The required form for this group can be found here.
  • Healthcare personnel with direct patient contact
  • Residents and staff of long-term care facilities
  • People deemed extremely vulnerable to COVID-19 by hospital providers
  • Sworn law enforcement officers age 50 or older
  • K-12 school employees age 50 or older

Orange County Convention Center Eligibility

OCCC North Concourse, 9400 Universal Blvd., Orlando, Florida 32819

Vaccines are by appointment only. Eligibility at the vaccination center, per its vaccine information page:

  • Florida residents age 60 or older. This access expands to 60 or older on Monday, March 15.
  • Educators/school staff at a school/college, including licensed childcare providers (any age)
  • Sworn law enforcement officers or firefighters
  • Healthcare workers with direct patient contact
  • Veterans
  • Those extremely medically vulnerable/high risk

Vaccine Providers/Registration

  • CVS
  • Florida vaccine pre-registration (state and federal vaccine distribution) or call 1-866-200-3468
  • Federal Vaccination Sites (Appointments not needed at federal sites)
  • Tampa Greyhound Track, 755 E. Waters Ave., Tampa, Florida 33604
  • Valencia College – West Campus, 1800 S. Kirkman Rd., Orlando, Florida 32811
  • Gateway Mall, 5200 Norwood Ave., Jacksonville, Florida 32208
  • Miami Dade Community College (North Campus), 11380 NW 27th Ave., Miami, Florida 33167

Walk-Up, Waste-Avoidance Lists

Anecdotally, many members of our community have found success in obtaining a vaccine by either visiting participating pharmacies in the evening and asking whether they have any leftover vaccine or by calling a pharmacy and placing themselves on an individual location’s vaccine waste-avoidance list.

What to Bring

  • Proof of age/employment to meet vaccination requirements
  • Proof of residency
  • Appointment confirmation/QR code
  • CDC vaccination card (for second dose appointments)
  • Insurance card

Vaccine Finder Tools




Department of Human Resources

As a follow up to yesterday’s e-mail, below is a list of free, local COVID testing sites. When you make your  appointment please inform them that you will need the results for your employer, and you should be asked to provide an e-mail or fax number.  If requested, please provide them with the e-mail address

Florida Department of Health has three local sites and employees must call ahead to schedule an appointment.

The phone number to call is 863-519-7911. Tests are FREE and the results take will take 2 days to come in.

  1. 1749 Holt Rd
    Auburndale, FL 33823
  2. 1200 Southern Ave
    Lakeland, FL 33815
  3. 751 Scenic Hwy
    Haines City, FL 33844

Stay Well,

Human Resources Department

To maintain a healthy environment and ensure a positive on-campus experience for the entire Florida Poly community, personal responsibility will continue to be key. Our employees did a remarkable job this fall following all COVID-19 protocols and working to create a healthy workplace. For that, we are all to be commended.

For the Spring 2021 semester, an updated Blueprint for Returning to Campus was created. Please take time to review the document. Included in this is a requirement that all employees working on the main campus get COVID tested between Jan. 4 and Jan. 8. A test result must be submitted to HR before Jan. 11.

We understand you will have questions regarding the reasoning for testing at this time. The President’s cabinet made this decision in an effort to ensure a clean start to the spring semester. For the Fall 2020 semester, we did not require testing and also did not require students to attend in-person classes. For many reasons, including to ensure student engagement and participation, that has changed for this upcoming semester. Students will now have an attendance requirement and be strongly encouraged to increase their participation on campus. As such, we need to establish as healthy environment as possible at the beginning of the semester to protect both the students and our employees.

Because employees at Florida Poly South and FIPR do not have interactions on campus, employees whose main office is at Florida Poly South or FIPR will only need to provide a negative test result for COVID-19 if they will be working on the main campus at any time between Jan. 8 and Jan. 25.

A list of test centers where employees can be tested for free will be provided. To encourage the use of the free test centers, employees may take up to four hours of work time to be tested between Monday, Jan. 4, and Thursday, Jan. 7. This release time must be coordinated with the employee’s immediate supervisor.

 For those employees unable to make it to a testing site between Monday, Jan. 4, and Thursday Jan. 7, the BayCare mobile screening bus will be on campus for student COVID-19 testing on Jan. 8. Employees may be tested at the BayCare bus on Jan. 8. The University will be covering this cost for employees (*this does not include student-employees*).

All test results will remain strictly confidential and should be sent to The Human Resources Department will monitor whether employees have submitted their results and communicate directly with managers and supervisors on Jan. 7 to notify them of any employees who have not submitted a test result.

Managers and supervisors should then work with their employees to ensure they are able to utilize the BayCare bus on main campus for testing on Jan. 8.

If, for any reason, an employee is not able to secure a test on or before Jan. 8, they should contact the Department of Human Resources.

Should an employee receive a positive test result, they should follow the same process that has been in place for reporting a COVID-19 case by completing the Florida Poly COVID-19 notification form.

Thank you again for your commitment to keeping our campus environment as healthy as possible. Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions or concerns.

Stay well,

Department of Human Resources


Now that we’re well into the fall semester, we have been able to show that responsible, thoughtful behavior really can mitigate the spread of COVID-19. I am happy to see how well our students and employees have done in adhering to the Campus Commitment and following social distancing, face covering, and hand washing guidance.

When we returned to campus, we implemented new protocols and practices to try to keep COVID-19 at bay. Several weeks into our semester, we’re proud of your attention to safety and all your efforts to keep our campus healthy. Because of this, we have been able to make several adjustments to our current coronavirus guidelines.

  1. While water fountains will remain turned off, water bottle filling stations around campus are again operational. Please continue to practice good hand hygiene and physical distancing while using these.
  2. If you are outside and more than six feet away from others (e.g., longboarding to class or walking from your car alone), you do not have to wear a mask during that time. However, face coverings still must be worn inside all buildings and when physical distancing is not possible. Please be sure to continue wearing your appropriate face covering routinely.
  3. Student Clubs and Registered Student Organization will begin on-campus meetings and events beginning October 1. Guidelines for these in-person meetings and events will be shared through the Student Government Association.

One of the great things our return to campus has shown me is that our University community will step up and act in the interest of the greater good, especially when the health of those around them is at stake. Thank you for taking our coronavirus precautions seriously.

Stay healthy,


Good Afternoon,

I wanted to follow up on the emails I sent last week about our tiered approach to returning to your respective worksites.  As you know, the leadership team reported to their offices this week (Monday, July 20), our staff employees with “student-facing” roles will report on July 27, and all other staff members are slated to return on Monday, August 3.  However, I would like to reiterate that we are closely monitoring the situation in Lakeland and throughout the state as a whole and things are always subject to change.  One thing is certain these days: we all have to remain flexible. 

I know this raises a lot of questions and we want to provide everyone with an opportunity to have those answered. I will be hosting two town hall meetings in the coming days to try and address your questions and concerns.  I would also encourage you to continue to check our Florida Poly Coronavirus updates page  and specifically the “For Employees/FAQ’s” section. 

The town hall meetings will be held this Friday, July 24 from 11 a.m.-12 p.m. and next Tuesday, July 28 from 9-10 a.m.  Michele Rush will be sending out calendar invites for these meetings and they will take place via Microsoft Teams.  In an effort to accommodate all of our employees and allow as many as possible to participate, please only select one of the two options when you receive the invites.

As always, thank you for all you do to help us move forward. 


A message from President Randy K. Avent. Thank you for all you have done in the last several months as we’ve taken on the extraordinary task of shifting to remote work and instruction.

As we prepare for students and employees to return to campus for in-person classes, we have decided that University administrators, including yourself, will report to their regular workplace on Monday, July 20. Please make sure you read the returning to work FAQ’s and complete the training referenced in question #3.

As you know, we have taken many steps to improve the working environment across all Florida Poly facilities with respect to COVID-19. With those precautions and our low initial returning population in mind, there should be plenty of room for appropriate social distancing as we begin our acclimation to this new normal.

During these first days, it is our hope that you will identify additional actions that should be taken within your department to further safeguard the health of our students, faculty, and staff. These may include things like six-foot distance markers in some areas or plastic shields in others.

Please reach out if you have any questions or concerns – this continues to be a truly unprecedented situation. I appreciate your continued cooperation as we work through the details of returning to campus and in-person operations.

I wanted to provide you with an update today on our plans as we begin preparations for our larger Florida Poly community to return for in-person work and instruction in the coming weeks. At this time, we plan to implement a tiered return to work structure for all of our staff.  The leadership team and administrators will report to their respective work places next Monday, July 20th.  Those of you in this category should have already received an earlier email.  Our “student-facing” employees will return to their worksite the following Monday, July 27th (you should have also received a separate email).  If you have questions about this, please reach out to your supervisor.

The plan right now is for all other staff to report on August 3.  However, as we are all aware, this is an ever-changing environment and we will continue to provide updates should something happen that would impact this schedule.  In the meantime, we have developed a list of FAQ’s for you to review and are working on scheduling several town-hall meetings for Q & A.  We will send the information regarding the town halls in a separate communication once we have those details.

We are closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation in Lakeland and throughout Florida as we move forward with our plans. Please stay in close contact with your supervisor and monitor your University email and the Florida Poly website coronavirus page for important updates about your return.

Before your return, you will be asked to please complete mandatory COVID-19 training.  That training is referenced in question #3 on the FAQ’s (link above). It’s important that we all remain very aware of our duties to ourselves and one another as we begin our acclimation to the new normal of in-person education in a COVID-19 world.

Thank you for all you have done in the last several months as we’ve taken on the extraordinary task of shifting to remote work and instruction. I appreciate all your hard work and dedication to the University.

The Blueprint for Returning to Campus details the steps the University is taking to provide a healthy environment for students, faculty, and staff amid the COVID-19 pandemic, while continuing to deliver a high-quality STEM education.

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The Florida Poly Blueprint for Returning to Campus was delivered to all students last week. This message provides some key summary details.

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Florida Poly has been steadily working on a plan to resume on-campus operations this fall. It will be presented during a June 23 meeting of the Florida Board of Governors alongside the state’s other 11 public universities.

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A message from President Randy K. Avent. I hope you’re doing well and are continuing to stay healthy during this time.  As you know, several dedicated teams have begun conversations and the necessary work to determine the best way for Florida Poly to operate this coming fall semester.  

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A message from President Randy K. Avent. I hope you are staying safe and healthy as the COVID-19 crisis keeps turning almost every aspect of our lives upside down. I’ve enjoyed reading about the many ways you are rising to the challenge in the weekly Florida Poly Highlights newsletter.

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A message from President Randy K. Avent. When COVID-19 began forcing our country to work from home and many of our favorite businesses temporarily closed their doors, it was only a matter of time before the related financial effects began touching everyone.

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A message from President Randy K. Avent. I hope you’re all staying well and have found a new normal in this challenging time we’re all in. This last month has somehow flown by as we adjusted to our quick shift to remote education and the significant changes to our working environment. 

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A message from President Randy K. Avent. The work everyone has been doing to keep our University running smoothly and educating our students is nothing short of inspiring. With remote work, remote instruction and limited on-campus staff, we are doing our part to minimize the spread of COVID-19 and keep our community safe.

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A message from Iliana Ricelli, Associate Vice President, Human Resources. The Office of Human Resources would like to remind everyone that the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is an available resource for all employees (faculty, staff, OPS, student employees) and their families. 

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A message from President Randy K. Avent. By now you have likely heard that Gov. Ron DeSantis has issued a stay-at-home order for the State of Florida beginning Friday, April 3, at 12:01 a.m. You may be wondering what that means for you and for Florida Poly. 

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A message from President Randy K. Avent. For the safety and well-being of the Florida Poly community, and in response to the coronavirus pandemic, Florida Poly is encouraging all qualified employees to work from home for at least two weeks beginning Tuesday, March 17.  

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A message from President Randy K. Avent. The University continues taking significant steps to protect our students, faculty, staff, and the Polk County community from the ongoing global COVID-19 outbreak. 

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A message from President Randy K. Avent. Your health and safety is our top priority and we have been working to ensure our campus environment is as safe and clean as possible. With that said, we need to communicate some very important announcements to you below.

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A message from Provost Dr. Terry Parker. We continue to closely monitor the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and are taking steps to help keep our students, faculty, and staff healthy.

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A message from Provost Dr. Terry Parker. The health and safety of our entire University community is our top priority. As spring break approaches, many of you may have plans to travel throughout the state, the nation, and the world for personal or professional reasons, or to visit with loved ones who have just returned from a trip.  

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