*The following text has been updated to reflect revised information regarding masks and students participating in on-campus laboratory research.
Dear Faculty and Staff,
While we all look forward to a restful holiday break, the Spring term will be on us before we know it. In this letter, we discuss the preparations that have been made and what will unfold in the Spring semester.
Spring Testing. The excellent work of UF Health Screen Test & Protect will continue in Spring. This is the unit that offers faculty, staff and students weekly screening and the opportunity to take a COVID-19 test periodically. This is an important monitoring activity that helps to identify any incidence of COVID-19 in the university community, after which infected individuals are isolated and their close contacts are quarantined.
In addition to their contact tracing work, the Screen, Test & Protect team will also be responsible for conducting extensive Spring testing. All students will be required to complete a questionnaire that screens them for symptoms of COVID-19. In addition, undergraduate students living in residence halls and/or participating in face-to-face classroom instruction must be scheduled for a COVID-19 test by Jan. 10. If they do not do that, their status will indicate “not cleared for campus.” More about that below.
After the initial return-to-campus screening and initial testing indicated above, all students will receive a weekly health screening questionnaire, and those students determined by UF Health experts to present a higher risk for contracting or transmitting the virus will be included in the routine testing plan, whereby they will be tested every two weeks to remain “cleared for campus” beginning the week of January 11.
Groups currently included in the higher risk student population and the routine testing plan include:
- Undergraduate, graduate and law students in face-to-face classes
- Students who live in undergraduate residence halls
- All active members of UF’s Greek community who reside in or have a meal plan within a Greek residence
While not identified as a high-risk group, students participating in on-campus laboratory research are encouraged to consider being routinely tested through STP using the One.UF portal.
In addition to creating a safer classroom environment, these strategies will mitigate the spread of COVID-19 on our larger campus and in the community. This plan may be modified as we move through the Spring semester, as circumstances warrant.
Cleared/Not Cleared for Campus. Instructors can access their class roll on my.UFL.edu at any time to confirm students are cleared to attend class in person. In addition, students can access their status on their smartphones.
Students who are “not cleared for campus” may not attend in-person classes, on-campus jobs or student events, or use campus facilities, including the libraries, RecSports, Newell Hall and the Reitz Union. Students who live in a residence hall and fail to get tested will not be permitted to continue living in the residence hall.
Additional Precautions. In addition to this rigorous testing schedule, masking and physical distancing protocols remain in place. That is, students are expected to wear a mask at all times in the classroom, and 6 feet of physical distance will be maintained in the classroom. All teaching faculty are being provided with N95 masks for use in the classroom.
What should students who are “not cleared for campus” do? If there is a parallel online section of the course, the student should follow the course through the online section until cleared for campus. If there is no parallel online section, then the student’s absence from class should be treated as you would for any medical absence, with the student making up work appropriately when the status changes to “cleared for campus.”
Faculty are encouraged to create one Canvas shell to facilitate students switching back and forth. Note that students may be “not cleared for campus” because they have not completed a COVID-19 test, because a COVID-19 test has determined they are positive, or because they are a close contact of someone determined to be positive.
To help navigate issues related to PPE, enforcement of safety policies and more, please see the Faculty Quick Reference Guide.
Larger campus: While this communication focuses primarily on the classroom environment, physical distancing and masking requirements are also in place for anyone on campus, including staff, vendors, and visitors. In preparation for the spring semester, UF has provided to departments another distribution of N95 masks to be used by faculty and staff who have sustained face-to-face contact with students or the public. In addition to various places throughout campus where PPE can be purchased, UF faculty and staff will receive competitive pricing for personal purchases at Office Depot through the GatorPerks program— including KN95 masks, face shields, touchless thermometers, hand sanitizer and alcohol wipes, and other products and services.
Best wishes for the holidays, and we look forward to a successful Spring term. We look forward even more to the vaccinations that will become available over the course of the term, which will contribute substantially to a return to normalcy.
Joe Glover, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
Charlie Lane, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
David R. Nelson, M.D., Senior Vice President for Health Affairs, UF & President, UF Health
David Norton, Vice President for Research