August 6: The Campus Brief
Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,
COVID-19 cases are surging because of the new delta variant and the large numbers of people who are unvaccinated, setting new local and state records for hospitalizations.
All of us at the University of Florida have an obligation to each do our part to prevent further transmission of COVID-19. We are in this together, and each and every one of us plays an important role in furthering the health and safety of ourselves, our neighbors and our loved ones. It is the right thing to do — and medical experts say vaccination and masking are the best ways to do it.
Therefore, we are advising you of the following steps we are taking in our efforts to ensure a safe and successful fall semester:
- Effective immediately, in light of new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we expect everyone to wear a mask at all times when inside any UF facility, even if you are vaccinated. This includes our students, faculty, staff, vendors and visitors. Recent studies and guidance from the CDC state that both unvaccinated and vaccinated individuals can transmit the current COVID-19 variant to unvaccinated persons.
- If you are not vaccinated, get vaccinated. If possible, students should aim to be fully vaccinated but if unable, should strive to have at least one shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine no later than August 22. Vaccines are readily available at no cost and have been demonstrated to be safe and effective against the COVID-19 virus. Our UF Health experts tell us that even if you’ve had COVID-19, you still need to get vaccinated. Having had COVID does not provide nearly as much protection as the vaccine. Visit this link for details on where to get your shot, including options that do not require an appointment: https://coronavirus.ufhealth.org/vaccinations/vaccine-availability/. Students who receive the first dose of the vaccine wherever they are currently can still receive their second dose on campus.
- COVID-19 testing remains available both on and off campus. Testing locations and schedules are available at https://coronavirus.ufhealth.org/screen-test-protect-2/how/screen/#locations . In addition, please complete the Weekly COVID-19 Symptom Screening you receive via email. This will help our UF Health Screen, Test & Protect team identify and contain any potential COVID-19 outbreaks.
- If you are sick, stay home and self-quarantine. Please visit the UF Health Screen, Test & Protect website about next steps, retake the questionnaire and schedule your test for no sooner than 24 hours after your symptoms began. Please call your primary care provider if you are ill and need immediate care. UF Health Screen, Test & Protect offers guidance when you are sick, have been exposed to someone who has tested positive or have tested positive yourself. Visit the UF Health Screen, Test & Protect website for more information.
- Please continue to follow healthy habits, including best practices like frequent hand washing.
- Continue to regularly visit coronavirus.UFHealth.org and coronavirus.ufl.edu for up-to-date information about COVID-19 and vaccination.
We will continue our robust contact tracing program through UF Health Screen, Test & Protect in partnership with the Florida Department of Health.
UF Health Screen, Test & Protect, through its collaboration with the Florida Department of Health in Alachua County, will order isolation for those who have tested positive for the virus and quarantine for unvaccinated individuals who are identified as contacts of someone who has tested positive. UF will no longer provide on-campus quarantine or isolation space for students. Quarantined or isolated students will miss classes, and we are unable to offer an online version of every class.
Vaccination not only helps prevent you from becoming seriously ill or hospitalized with COVID-19, the more people who are vaccinated, the more it also protects those around us as well — our friends, families, colleagues and others. This is a natural extension of the culture of care and compassion we’ve embraced as a campus community.
Our individual decisions matter greatly in this fight to end this global health crisis. Anyone who chooses not to be vaccinated assumes a significant risk of contracting COVID-19 and spreading it to others. As previously communicated, UF cannot be responsible for that risk, given the ready availability of vaccine, and cannot modify the operation of the entire university for a minority of people who may choose not to be vaccinated.
We applaud those who are already vaccinated for taking this crucial step toward preventing the spread of the disease and for leading by example. Thank you for helping the university continue to fulfill its important missions of teaching, discovery, patient care and service to others.
In closing, we implore you to do everything possible to keep yourself and those around you safe from this highly contagious and deadly virus.
Joe Glover, Provost & Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
Charlie Lane, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
D’Andra Mull, Vice President for Student Life
David R. Nelson, M.D., 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
UF Health Screen, Test & Protect Vaccination Information: https://coronavirus.ufhealth.org/vaccinations/vaccine-availability/
UF Health Screen, Test & Protect Testing Information: https://coronavirus.ufhealth.org/screen-test-protect-2/how/screen/#locations
UF Health Screen, Test & Protect: coronavirus.UFHealth.org
UF COVID-19 Information: Coronavirus.ufl.edu