Advice for faculty on working and COVID

What are my rights and obligations as an employee?

Your rights and obligations as a member of the UFF bargaining unit are codified in our Collective Bargaining Agreement, which covers topics including academic freedom, discipline, and the right to safe working conditions. All of these are potentially in play during the spring 2021 transition to face-to-face classes during the COVID emergency.

To learn more about your right to safe working conditions versus your obligation to refrain from “insubordination,” consult this UFF MEMO: Right to refuse unsafe working conditions

How do I apply for accommodations due to my health?

The UF Office for Accessibility and Gender Equity is responsible for processing Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accommodations for those identified as at increased risk for COVID by the CDC.

Information and accommodation request forms are available here.

ADA requests for accommodation may be made at any time. If an accommodation request has been denied, you can appeal the decision. There is no limit to the number of times you can appeal. The appeal/”grievance” form is available here.

The Accommodation Request Form gives a list of medical conditions and asks you to check any “for which you self-identify,” along with an option to check “Other.” This is not a comprehensive list of conditions that may put you at risk. You should visit the CDC website to see the full list of conditions that are known to, or might, present an “increased risk of severe illness” from COVID infection. If any of these apply to you, check “Other.”

We have been told that accommodations are being considered holistically.  Faculty should therefore list ALL possible risk factors — including age, conditions on the CDC’s “might be at risk” list, and any other health issues that make teaching face-to-face during the COVID pandemic untenable — on the Accommodation Request Form and, if necessary, on the appeal form.

Question 3 on UF’s Accommodation Request Form lists some “possible accommodations” that you may request. This too is not exhaustive, so you should describe the accommodation you consider to be appropriate, given your particular circumstances. 

Some colleagues report that their healthcare providers have refused to fill out the “Accommodation Request Medical Certification Form.” The providers cite patient privacy and other concerns. If your provider does this, apply for an accommodation anyway. The ADA office will work with you to find appropriate documentation to support your request.

The Medical Certification form asks your healthcare provider to declare whether or not they consider your condition to be a “disability.” However, your condition need not be defined as a disability in order for you to receive a COVID-related ADA accommodation.

I don’t qualify for ADA accommodations, but I don’t want to teach face-to-face. Do I have other options?

Yes. Other leaves include Family Medical Leave (FMLA) and paid sick leave. More information is available here.

You can also apply for an Alternate Work Location through UF’s HR.

How do I file a grievance?

A grievance is a formal complaint made by a faculty member about a violation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

If you are a UFF-UF member, and you feel that your contractual rights have been violated, contact our grievance team at

Additionally, if you have a meeting with a supervisor that you feel may be related to disciplinary action, contact our grievance team at

UFF-UF Grievance Form

Faculty speak out

Read our REPORT: Faculty Feedback: Furloughs & F2F Teaching in Spring 2021

Reopening would force us to fake normalcy, by Aida A. Hozic, Tampa Bay Times, October 15, 2020.

UF’s return plan is premature, hazardous, by Norman J.W. Goda Gainesville Sun October 14, 2020.

Sign the PETITION: Demand Gov. Ron DeSantis protect our colleges and universities

updated January 14, 2021