January 28: The Campus Brief
Dear campus community,
As the COVID-19 pandemic transitions to an endemic and the omicron surge rapidly declines, the University of Florida is adjusting its approach to this next phase of the virus in our community.
Today’s COVID environment is markedly different from the one we faced two years ago at the beginning of the pandemic. Unlike then, most people now are vaccinated, and many are boosted. Others have gained some level of immunity through having been infected. Face mask use is part of daily life for many.
In response, UF is making changes as well. For example, the UF Health Screen, Test & Protect program is transitioning, including moving large-scale testing that was ramped up in response to omicron back to the Student Health Care Center, and its COVID dashboard has been discontinued.
In short, UF will begin treating COVID as we do other contagious illnesses such as the flu so that we can move toward an environment that treats COVID as a present-day virus, one that rises and falls in number of cases. This means we as a university must also continually monitor our environment and change along with it.
These changes have the full support and encouragement of our campus public health experts, and UF is by no means an outlier in this regard. Many other leading universities around the country are adopting similar approaches.
As these changes occur, individual actions and responsibility will become even more important. As we have said previously, we urge everyone to get vaccinated and boosted. Masks continue to be expected inside all public spaces at UF. High quality KN95 or N95 masks are encouraged. If you feel sick, please stay home. Follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Health and UF Health. Please be reminded that testing is available on campus and can be scheduled at ONE.UF
Also, should the need arise, we are prepared to reinstate whatever measures are deemed medically prudent to address the situation.
Thank you for your continued patience and understanding as we all work together to navigate this next phase of the virus in our community thoughtfully and pragmatically.
David Bloom, Faculty Senate Chair; Professor, Department of Molecular Genetics & Microbiology, UF College of Medicine
Joe Glover, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
Charlie Lane, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
Michael Lauzardo, M.D., MSc Associate Professor of Medicine; Deputy Director, Emerging Pathogens Institute
D’Andra Mull, Vice President for Student Life
David R. Nelson, Senior Vice President for Health Affairs, UF & President, UF Health
David Norton, Vice President for Research
Win Phillips, Chief of Staff, Office of the President