Dear Faculty and Staff,
Next week marks one year since the first COVID-19 case was confirmed in Florida. During that time, the University of Florida community has risen together to fulfill our mission and commitment to students.
Extraordinary feats were performed seemingly with record speed and precision. UF pivoted almost overnight to move all classes online. In the face of unprecedented adversity, professors and instructors took the lead to learn new technologies to teach virtually, delivering the usual high level of excellent academic experience for students. As we transitioned to a Hyflex learning environment this spring and offered nearly as many in-person class sections as we did in spring 2020 before the pandemic arrived, instructors and staff from across the university came together to ensure that all students have a robust university experience. Once again, our faculty successfully created courses on Hyflex, using their academic expertise to ensure teaching excellence.
Meanwhile, researchers continued their work committed to the quest for new ideas and solutions, earning a record $900 million in awards during the fiscal year 2020 and continuing to press forward on important work to address society’s greatest problems — including those posed by the pandemic.
The UF community proved a national example for containing community spread through mask wearing, physical distancing and good hygiene. While testing by UF Health Screen, Test & Protect remains at an all-time high, we are down to a positivity rate of less than 1%. New cases identified by all UF and non-UF testing of UF students, faculty, and staff are at an all-time low with our lowest weekly total, 115, since the last week of July. Through it all, we have still seen no clear evidence of virus transmission in a classroom or lab setting.
Also, as part of our continuing commitment to campus and community safety, the university continues to work closely with several state and local agencies, including the Florida Department of Transportation, which is considering transferring control to the city of Gainesville a stretch of West University Avenue from Southwest 34th to Southwest 13th streets. Additionally, the agency is exploring reducing the speed limit on West University Avenue and installing temporary “speed tables” along the areas where future crosswalks are planned. At UF, we are working to address the issue with several safety and security enhancements, including the use of license plate readers, enhanced lighting and educational programs. Concurrently, the Gainesville and University of Florida police departments continue to focus on enforcing traffic laws through the Gator special traffic enforcement program, or S.T.E.P, along the university's main road arteries.
We are incredibly grateful for all of your perseverance through such a difficult year. Thank you for all you do to help this university thrive.
Joe Glover, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
Charlie Lane, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
David Norton, Vice President for Research
Win Phillips, Chief of Staff, Office of the President
Michael Lauzardo, M.D., Director, Screen, Test & Protect