June 15: The Campus Brief
Dear Campus Community,
As we anticipate will happen from time to time, COVID cases have begun to rise again in many parts of the country, including here in Alachua County. Accordingly, we are asking for your help as the University of Florida takes steps to keep our students, faculty and staff as healthy as possible.
Effective today, following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance for Alachua County, UF is recommending that members of our campus community and visitors wear masks in indoor public settings and on public transportation. Blue surgical masks are available in UF classrooms, libraries and other campus locations.
At our UF Health campuses, we will again adopt the use of these same guidelines in non-clinical spaces, such as academic and research areas of our academic health center’s health colleges that do not involve interaction with patients and our administrative offices at off-site non-clinical locations like the UF Health Professional Park. For now, masks will continue to be required in patient-facing areas of our hospitals and clinical practices.
In addition, we urge everyone to stay up to date with their COVID vaccinations. Visit coronavirus.UFHealth.org for more information. Guidance on when and whether to get a COVID shot or booster is available from the CDC.
If you feel sick, please stay home. Anyone who is experiencing COVID symptoms is encouraged to get tested. Please note that effective June 17, you will no longer be able to register for testing or report illness through ONE.UF. Testing is readily available using at-home test kits, local pharmacies or through your primary care physician. Additionally, the Florida Department of Health COVID Operations at UF will end, and the 352-273-9790 phone line will no longer be operational. To report a case of COVID, call the health department in the county where you reside.
UF epidemiologists will continue to monitor trends in COVID cases and hospitalizations within our population in partnership with the Florida Department of Health in Alachua County. Surveillance will include wastewater testing. This method can predict increased cases and hospitalizations before detection via traditional case-based methods by monitoring viral trends. Molecular sequencing will continue and is a key component of public health efforts to curb the virus by informing us about circulating variants. These surveillance tools combined with local hospital, county, state, federal and global data will allow for the continued monitoring of an ever-evolving situation to help ensure the safety of UF affiliates.
Lastly, if you are at high risk for severe illness, please consider taking additional precautions to keep yourself safe. Guidance from the CDC about who may be considered to be at high risk is available here.
The university will continue to monitor developments with COVID as we progress through summer and move toward the fall semester. We will keep the community informed of any additional changes in our approach to this ongoing public health issue.
Thank you for your continued support.
Joe Glover, Provost and 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
Amanda Phalin, Faculty Senate Chair; Senior Lecturer, Department of Management, Warrington College of Business
Win Phillips, Chief of Staff, Office of the President