UF faculty and staff have been participating in the UF Health Screen, Test & Protect program since mid-May. Screen, Test & Protect offers weekly symptom screening and testing via ONE.UF.
This is a challenging time for everyone, so please remember to show compassion for one another and understand that each person’s circumstances are unique. Faculty and staff who have concerns are encouraged to discuss them with their supervisors.
Working at an alternate location has been and will continue to be an option for faculty and staff, with supervisor approval. In granting approval, the supervisor will consider whether the working arrangements will benefit both the organization and the employee. UF Human Resources is available to assist in navigating the review and approval process. Employees who wish to perform their work at an alternate location should speak directly with their supervisors.
UF strongly encourages persons aged 65 or older or those who have an underlying health condition the CDC categorizes as being at increased risk to discuss with their supervisors the ability to work at alternate locations (i.e., work at home), assuming that this is compatible with their work-related responsibilities. For those for whom this is not an approved option, (e.g. those with essential functions that require onsite scheduling) or for those who wish to return to campus, UF will provide KN95 masks to increase protection.
Faculty and staff who have health-related concerns but are not approved to work at an alternate location through the process described above should contact UF’s ADA Office at 352-273-1094.
Health and Safety Guidance
University policy requires that in any gatherings that take place in public spaces — including meetings, break rooms, shared workspaces without dividers of a reasonable height, etc. — participants wear face masks or cloth face coverings and be spaced 6 feet apart from one another. A face mask or cloth face covering is required everywhere on campus except when an individual is in a private office or in an outdoor area separated by at least 6 feet from others. People not wearing a face mask or covering (outside of the exceptions noted) will be asked to put one on or leave the area to help maintain the safety of our students, faculty and staff.
For More Information
UF has compiled resources for workplace best practices, policy information and guidance for departments and leaders. Information for faculty and staff is also available through the UF Health Screen, Test & Protect website.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Are individuals placed in quarantine required to use sick leave?
Individuals who have been placed in quarantine but are feeling well may work remotely if they are able to complete their duties and their supervisor approves their working remotely. Those unable to work remotely or who are not feeling well may use emergency medical leave or sick leave. For more information, please visit the Guidance on Taking Leave section of the UFHR website.
- Is UF offering COVID-19 testing in the spring semester 2021?
Yes. UF will continue to offer COVID-19 testing for students, faculty and staff through UF Health Screen, Test & Protect.
- Why is the university recommending the flu vaccine?
Individuals are strongly encouraged to get the annual flu shot, and it is required for health care workers and students who are in a health care environment.
Although the U.S. Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has long recommended that everyone more than 6 months old get a flu shot annually, this year it is even more strongly recommended by health experts. The COVID-19 pandemic is continuing and by some projections may reach a high enough level in some areas to overwhelm the available health care systems. If a maximum number of individuals get flu shots this year, there should be less demand on the health care systems due to flu and thereby decrease the chances of exceeding the capacity of our health care systems.
Flu shots will be given to all UF students and employees who want one at multiple locations on campus this spring by the UF Student Health Care Center. Flu shots will be given by appointment only.
- My question is not addressed here. Where can I learn more?
UF Human Resources has assembled a comprehensive webpage of resources to support faculty and staff during this time.
- Does the university have an emergency management plan?
The University of Florida has a Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan, which is publicly posted on our website. The purpose of this plan is to facilitate preparedness and actions for responding to a myriad of events that pose a threat to the safety and security of our students, patients, faculty and staff. These threats range from hurricanes to the challenges associated with the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Our emergency management plan creates structures within the university, with dictated roles and responsibilities guiding the efforts of individuals in every facet of our large academic and healthcare communities. Leading the university’s emergency management response is a group of senior leaders and staff members representing our health colleges, hospitals, academics, and operational management, among others. Among the group’s primary responsibilities are actions currently taking place at UF:
- Providing information and recommendations during this public health emergency, with the Student Health Care Center director serving as the university’s lead public health official.
- Providing health services and resources, including medical and behavioral health, for UF students and employees.
- Coordinating operations and programs specific to public health such as mass vaccination clinics and alternate medical treatment sites, as evidenced by the recently opened COVID-19 testing facility in The Villages.
- Facilitating information and education for the university community.
The university also has a more detailed plan that guides its response to infectious disease spread and pandemics. These documents are exempt from public disclosure pursuant to Florida Statute 1004.0962 (Campus emergency response) due to the fact that they contain sensitive information that, if publicly released, could create a security risk for the university’s students, faculty and staff.
The university is committed to transparency regarding its response to and management of campus operations during the COVID-19 outbreak.
- How will campus health and safety policies be enforced?
UF has a three-tiered approach to enforcing behavioral expectations regarding keeping our campus community healthy and safe: Education, engagement and enforcement.
- Education takes place at all levels of the University and may include informing others of regulations, policies and guidance.
- Engagement reinforces education and provides direction to correct behavior, clarify enforcement mechanisms and end behavior that poses an immediate threat to the health, safety and welfare of community members.
- Enforcement of behavioral expectations to abide by University regulations and policy, state and local law and the instructions of officials can be carried out by any designee of the Vice President of Student Affairs or other appropriate University Official. For more details, please visit the UF policy page for behavioral expectations.
- Why is UF expanding its number of in-person classes in the Spring semester?
UF is a residential university and is working to return to an environment of normalcy to the extent possible. Further, a substantial segment of students has indicated they would like to return to in-person settings.
- I am in a mandatory testing group: How do I get cleared for campus?
As students and faculty prepare to return to campus for the spring semester, the University of Florida will initiate return-to-campus protocols based on demographic.
- On December 21, all students will be marked “not cleared for campus.” They 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.ufl.edu.
- After the initial return-to-campus screening, all students will begin to receive a weekly health screening questionnaire and those students determined by UF Health experts to present a high-risk for contracting or transmitting the virus will be included into the routine testing plan, where they will be tested every two weeks beginning the week of Jan. 11.
Groups currently included in the high-risk student population and the routine testing plan include:
- students in face-to-face classes
- students who live in undergraduate residence halls
- active members of UF’s Greek community who reside in or have a meal plan within a Greek residence
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.
After the initial return-to-campus testing, UF will transition to the routine testing plan, where high-risk students will be tested every two weeks.
For more information, please visit the Health & Safety Guidlines page.
- Where can I learn more about isolation and quarantine procedures?
You can learn more about isolation and quarantine procedures at UF on the Screen, Test and Protect page.
- If my question isn't answered here, whom can I contact?
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for additional questions not answered here.
- What accommodations will be made for employees who have an underlying health concern?
HR and the Office of Accessibility and Gender Equity have developed a process to evaluate appropriate accommodations for faculty with disabilities. More information can be found on the Office of Accessibility and Gender Equity's website.
- Is it mandatory to get tested for COVID-19 in order to be on campus?
We plan to continue with the core strategy of targeted testing, but are adding mandatory surveillance testing at the start of the semester, continuing with testing every two weeks, for students living in residence halls and those participating in Greek life in Gainesville or in face-to-face classroom instruction. Adjustments will be made on the basis of needs that arise during the ever-changing pandemic.
- What behavior is expected on campus to prevent community spread?
Campus health guidelines are available at: https://coronavirus.ufl.edu/resources/health-guidance/. Enforcement of behavioral expectations to abide by University regulations and policy, state and local law and the instructions of officials can be carried out by any designee of the Vice President of Student Affairs or other appropriate University Official. For more details, please visit the UF policy page for behavioral expectations.
- With the number of class sections increasing, how will UF minimize the spread of Covid-19?
UF will strictly adhere to CDC physical distancing guidelines, and mask wearing will be mandatory. Additionally, classrooms will be configured to allow 8 feet of distancing between each student, and many face-to-face class sections will be accompanied by a hyflex section — which streams simultaneously over the internet — to allow for decreased classroom capacity as a result of distancing requirements. Additionally, UF Health will continue its vigorous contact tracing program in partnership with the Department of Health. UF Health’s Screen, Test, & Protect initiative has also developed new tools to monitor classrooms to minimize in-class transmission. Surveillance testing will be scaled up with mandatory regularly scheduled testing of students and others at high risk of COVID-19 infection. Additionally, wastewater testing is in full swing and will enhance the overall monitor and control efforts.
- Supervisors: We have employees asking if they can work from home. Where can I find more information?
More information on working remotely may be found on the UFHR website.
- What is the return-to-campus process if I’ve tested positive for COVID-19 or been exposed to someone with COVID-19?
Please see UF Health’s Screen, Test, Protect website for an updated matrix of the return-to-campus process.