Dear Faculty and Staff,
As we prepare to welcome students for the Fall semester, we recognize the uncertainty people feel about being back on campus and in the classroom. We are closely monitoring the virus as we make decisions about university operations. As always, we will communicate these decisions with you.
In that vein, we offer the following information to help provide clarity and address any confusion about classroom expectations.
- All people inside of UF facilities are expected to wear masks in community spaces in buildings, including common areas in our office suites, when we are not in our individual offices or workspaces, even if you are vaccinated.
- Instructors may ask their students to wear a mask, but they may not require nor ask a student to leave the classroom. Because it is a medical campus, UF Health does require masks while inside any area of its academic health center buildings across its Gainesville, Jacksonville, and Central Florida campuses and in its clinical facilities statewide. Appropriate mask use and voluntary vaccinations have allowed UF Health to create a safe workplace for over 10,000 faculty, staff, and trainees to work and learn in a high-risk COVID environment.
- As in previous semesters, instructors may review through their course rosters on Canvas if a student has been withheld from campus by UF Health Screen, Test & Protect due to COVID-19 exposure, symptoms, or a positive test result. If an employee is withheld from campus, his or her supervisor will be notified.
- Students who must miss class due to quarantine will be treated as though they are absent from class because of any other illness. The instructor and student should think of it as such and arrange for the student to make up classwork.
The process to provide N-95 masks centrally to instructors is underway. To access these supplies, reach out to your HR liaison or designated department contact. Each classroom will also be equipped with a supply of extra masks, hand sanitizer and wipes.
- As a reminder, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “vaccines in the U.S. are highly effective, including against the delta variant. But they are not 100% effective, and some fully vaccinated people will become infected (called a breakthrough infection) and experience illness. For such people, the vaccine still provides them with strong protection against illness and death. Given what we know about the delta variant, vaccine effectiveness, and current vaccine coverage, layered prevention strategies, such as wearing masks, are needed to reduce the transmission of this variant.”
COVID-19 testing will also continue to be available, and a list of testing sites and schedules is available at https://coronavirus.ufhealth.org/screen-test-protect-2/how/screen/#locations and is strongly encouraged for anyone who is experiencing symptoms or is concerned about possible exposure.
While this is a time of celebration about being back together on campus, this academic year is likely to include challenges. We encourage you to stay vigilant and to take care of yourselves and each other. Thank you for all you are doing to make it a successful semester.
Joe Glover, Provost & 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
Win Phillips, Chief of Staff, Office of the President