Dear Faculty and Staff,
As we continue to manage the realities of living and working during the COVID-19 pandemic, UF is refining its communications efforts to make sure all members of our campus community remain well informed. As part of that effort, we will be sending you an e-mail communication every other week to provide you — our faculty and staff — with information you may find useful, such as spring academic planning efforts, research innovations, and campus operational changes. We will address commonly asked questions, highlight new policies or procedures and provide brief information about the current state of the campus’ health environment. On alternating weeks, keep an eye out for a new installment of the UF Health Screen, Test & Protect e-newsletter by Dr. Michael Lauzardo, director of UF Health Screen, Test & Protect.
This week’s updates include:
- Faculty are encouraged to structure their classes so students do not need to return to campus after the Thanksgiving break if they do not wish to return. This will help to minimize in-state travel and reduce potential spread of the virus.
- UF released its Spring 2021 schedule. The number of face-to-face undergraduate sections being offered is similar to the number offered in Spring 2020. It includes additional hybrid and online sections providing students with choices in classroom configurations. In accordance with CDC guidelines and UF Health guidance, all seating in face-to-face classrooms will be physically distanced, dramatically reducing classroom capacities. Appropriate personal protective equipment, including N95 masks, will be provided for faculty and staff, as we did for the fall semester.
- UF Admissions extended the freshman application deadline from Nov. 1 to Nov. 16 to allow more time for potential students to apply in light of challenges associated with the pandemic.
- All faculty and staff are able to schedule a COVID-19 test through UF Health Screen, Test & Protect, whether you have symptoms or not. It’s fast and easy. Visit One.UF to set up a time. Faculty and staff are asked to please participate in a weekly screening questionnaire -- which helps monitor the spread of COVID-19 in the community. Participants can complete their screening by logging in to One.UF.
- UF now offers saliva testing, a more comfortable and less invasive form of testing than the nasal swab as its primary mode of testing. More information is available here.
- As part of our continuous effort to provide information in the clearest and most thorough way possible, we unveiled a new COVID-19 dashboard. As of Nov. 2, the percentage of positive cases for students, faculty, staff and other UF-related individuals (with and without symptoms) tested at various campus locations (7-day average) was 7%, similar to state-wide positive rates. Overall, the number of COVID-19 cases involving the UF community has been steadily declining for the past several weeks.
- UF’s Isolation and Quarantine capacity for students living on-campus has remained stable, with about 7% of the room capacity occupied over the past two weeks. That means we have considerable capacity available on campus to quarantine and isolate students, should we need it.
- UF is offering flu shots to students, faculty and staff at no cost. Students and employees can sign up through this portal at UF Health and select from a variety of appointment times and locations.
- The UF research enterprise continues to effectively operate within the Stage 3 guiding principles as described here. To date, 7,210 UF faculty, staff and students have been approved through the Research Activity Approval Portal to resume on-campus research activities. Proposal submissions and sponsored project awards continue to be high due to the outstanding efforts of the faculty.
Lastly, we know our community has received lots of information from a variety of places, both on campus and off, about public health behavioral expectations during this pandemic. Please know that UF’s policies regarding face coverings and physical distancing remain unchanged, and if any changes are made, you will be notified through official channels (see policy.ufl.edu). For other COVID-19-related updates and guidance, please visit coronavirus.ufl.edu or UF Health Screen, Test & Protect at coronavirus.ufhealth.org/
Thank you for doing your part to stay informed and keep our community safe, and for rallying together to create a successful fall semester. We appreciate your dedication to excellence in teaching and research, as well as the campus experience.
Joe Glover, UF 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