September 18, 2020

Dear Students,

Congratulations! This week, the U.S. News & World Report named the University of Florida the No. 6 public university in the country, continuing the university’s upward trajectory and placing it on the cusp of reaching its top-five goal.

There are many factors that contribute into our collective success, but I want to take this opportunity to sincerely thank you, our students, for helping us climb higher. Your hard work, ambition and dedication to your academic journey, help elevate the value of a UF degree for all students and ensure an environment that better prepares you for what is next. I would like to especially recognize our graduate students who serve as teaching assistants and graduate assistants. Your work is important and incredibly impactful.

In looking to what is ahead, it is never too early to network and explore career options. And UF brings top employers across the country to you. Whether you graduate in December or are in your first semester, I encourage you to take part in Career Showcase next week (September 21 – 24 from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.) to find full-time employment and future internships. Hosted by the Career Connections Center, Career Showcase will be in-person and virtual this year. Learn more about the event at

As we collectively navigate the uncharted territory that this pandemic brings, we appreciate your voices, and we are constantly following the data and listening to your experiences to enhance communications and adjust processes. Some recent adjustments include offering transportation to students needing isolate/quarantine in temporary spaces, clarifying meal delivery, and expanding testing.

Students in Gainesville can now be screened and tested for COVID-19 once per week through UF Health Screen, Test & Protect. Simply go to ONE.UF, complete the questionnaire and schedule your test.

For students who test positive or have come in close contact with someone who has tested positive, Student Affairs and the Dean of Students Office have provided many needed resources. Students will get emails about resources shortly after their status changes to “not cleared.” If you are not cleared for campus, you are not permitted to attend class or any campus activity in person. You may however, participate in virtual classes and events.

This week the university Masking and Physical Distancing policy was updated to indicate that two or more people within 6 feet of one another outdoors must wear a mask or cloth face covering.

In late August, the policy was updated with additional guidance on the types of masks approved for use on campus and at university facilities. Masks with exhalation valves or vents allow air to be expelled and are prohibited because they do not provide protection to others. In addition, neck gaiters and bandanas may not be worn unless no other face covering is available.

Additionally, the university has expanded the Student Behavioral Expectations in Response to COVID-19 policy to further outline the expectations of students in quarantine/isolation. Despite ample communications, we have seen students in quarantine/isolation roaming the quarantine/isolation spaces, trying to invite friends over, and leaving buildings to meet up with others. This behavior goes completely against communicated expectations and public health policies. We want you to know how serious we are about enforcing quarantine/isolation, and you must uphold these healthy behaviors and avoid social gatherings. If you choose not to do so, know that you are jeopardizing your status as a UF student.

Please know we recognize and appreciate that the majority of students are doing the right thing, but those who are exhibiting problematic behavior and reckless actions that put others at risk cannot become our shared narrative and fate.

To support you in having safer, smaller social gatherings, the city of Gainesville recently launched the Streatery GNV project. By closing roads and providing free parking, restaurants are moving outdoors to provide more space for physical distancing. County behavioral guidelines still apply in these outdoor venues. You should follow established gathering rules and wear masks until seated at tables.

It is starting to feel like fall in Florida, and cooler temperatures are on the horizon. Please keep upholding healthy behaviors and keeping our community safe.

Be safe, be well, and as always – Go Gators!

Dr. D’Andra Mull
Vice President for Student Affairs

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