Dear Faculty and Staff,
As January comes to a close, we’d like to thank all of you who have worked so hard to ensure our students continue to experience a top-quality education, whether in person, HyFlex or online. As vaccines are more widely distributed in the coming weeks and months, we are optimistic that our campus will continue to reemerge toward a pre-pandemic environment.
In the meantime, UF Health Screen, Test & Protect continues to perform more than 2,000 PCR saliva tests per day, with a capacity for up to 3,200 tests daily -- more than three times the maximum number of daily tests administered in the fall. That includes required biweekly testing for undergraduates who are taking in-person classes, who reside in residence halls, or who live or have a meal plan in Greek housing. Our campus positivity rate is at 2%, which is roughly where it has been since the semester began and considerably lower than in the Fall semester.
Additionally, UF Health is administering vaccines to UF Health patients 65 and older who have accessed their electronic health record, MyUFHealth (also referred to as MyChart), in the past three years. So far, UF Health has vaccinated approximately 34,000 people and administered approximately 49,000 doses across UF Health in Gainesville, Jacksonville and Central Florida. We are also proud to provide support to the state Department of Health in Alachua County as it proceeds with local efforts to vaccinate the broader community. Collaborative UF Health/Department of Health vaccine clinics began last week with 700 high risk people vaccinated at the Hull Road test/vaccine site with an anticipated additional 2,000 people getting vaccinated this coming week.
Although COVID-19 clearly poses challenges, we should remember that the university continues to press forward with its important work. At the institutional level, we had two significant announcements this week. With the installation of HiPerGator AI, our powerful new supercomputer, UF announced at the Board of Governors’ meeting on Wednesday that we will offer computer access to our 11 fellow State University System institutions. Already, UF is poised to make a huge impact on the state and region by infusing AI across academic disciplines in both education and research. The decision to share our enormous computing power will only expand the reach of our efforts, which will have transformative impacts in education, research and workforce development.
Also, we want to offer our thanks and congratulations for your work -- a group effort over many years -- in making UF a top school in the country for online education for both undergraduate and graduate programs. As announced Tuesday, U.S. News & World Report recognized UF Online as the No. 3 best online bachelor’s program in the country, the highest ranking of any Association of American Universities institution. Additionally, U.S. News ranked the online business undergraduate program and the online graduate education program as No. 1 in the nation. Several other online programs were also recognized. On the heels of UF’s No. 6 ranking among public universities in September, this week’s recognitions are a testament to the extraordinary work of our faculty and staff who are fully committed to providing students with a world-class education, no matter the platform.
Thank you all for your commitment and passion as we celebrate those advances and more in the coming weeks and months.
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