Winter Break is finally here! You did it, Gators! Whether you were taking classes in Gainesville this fall or joining us remotely, you rose to meet the challenges the semester presented and found a way to move forward. I am incredibly impressed by each of you, as your tenacity, perseverance and creativity are a testament to who you are and moreover, all that you are becoming as you continue your journey.
To the many of you earning your degrees this semester, I extend an extra special congratulations and round of applause! I am proud of you all and can’t wait to see how your brilliant minds and passionate hearts write the next chapter in your story. I look forward to witnessing the impact you will continue to have on communities locally and globally, graduates!
Over the coming weeks, I hope you can unwind and simply take in the break before we head into spring semester. Some of you have shared with me your excitement as you head home for the first time in months, while others will stay local and enjoy their downtime by exploring bike trails or other natural settings—or catching up on sleep. Others will binge-watch their favorite shows or catch Versus battles they missed this semester. However you spend your time during the break, be safe and enjoy it.
As we look to the new year, we remain dedicated to working hard to keep you safe as you navigate your academics and campus life. To help us in our aims, mask, physical distancing and behavioral policies related to COVID-19 safety protocols will remain in place to promote the health of our university and greater Gainesville community.
Additionally, UF will approach COVID-19 testing in the spring through a multi-layered lens and strategy that includes Return to Campus and Routine Testing phases.
In the Return to Campus phase, students will be marked “not cleared for campus” on Dec. 21. You will then have until Jan. 10 to complete an initial health screening questionnaire for the spring semester. The health screening questionnaire is available at One.UF.edu.
Students determined by UF Health experts to present the highest risk for contracting and transmitting the virus — those living in residence halls and/or participating in face-to-face classroom instruction — must complete the health screening questionnaire and schedule a test by Jan. 10 to be cleared for campus. If you have any questions regarding the spring testing plan, please contact Studentfirstname.lastname@example.org.
As we transition to the Routine Testing phase beginning on Jan. 11, additional students will be tested every two weeks. The groups included in the routine testing plan are students in face-to-face classes, students who live in undergraduate residence halls and active members of UF’s Greek community who live in or have a meal plan at a Greek residence.
The first segment of testing for the semester to accommodate students in face-to-face classes or students who live in residence halls will take place from Jan. 3 through Jan. 10. Throughout that first week of January there will be lots of events taking place on campus as part of our Great Gator Welcome Back program. We will be giving out BEAT COVID t-shirts and other door prizes. There will be drive-in movie events, food truck pop-ups, and more! We are finalizing the schedule now but working to offer more in-person fun this spring semester.
This was a historic week for our university, state and country as the first batches of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine arrived at UF Health Jacksonville and at UF Health in Gainesville. UF Health is actively working with local, state and federal agencies to administer the vaccine, for free, to the first groups of select faculty and staff based on the criteria the CDC established, starting with front-line health care workers. This is an incredible example of the power of collaboration as we see the connected efforts and missions of One UF and One UF Health at work.
UF Health Jacksonville also is working to coordinate distribution to additional groups, including neighboring health care facilities in Jacksonville in the coming days and weeks. In time, and with input from state and federal officials, we will know more about when we will be able to offer the vaccine to the broader faculty, staff and students community
This news brings me great hope and encouragement as I look to spring semester. Though we have some distance still to travel together, it is encouraging to see the light ahead.
I wish you all a relaxing, safe and healthy winter break!
Dr. D’Andra Mull
Vice President for Student Affairs
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