Guidance for Spring Testing

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.

Important information about the Spring 2021 testing plans:

  • Please continue to complete the weekly screening questionnaire through One.UF.edu.
  • Schedule your tests through One.UF.edu.
  • Testing must be completed through UF Health Screen, Test & Protect.
  • If you are in the routine testing groups and have previously been investigated by the Screen, Test & Protect team for a positive PCR test within the preceding 90 days, you will not be required to get a test at the start of the semester. After the 90-day mark from the onset of symptoms, you will be added back into the routine surveillance testing rotation.
  • Undergraduate students attending a face-to-face class or moving into an undergraduate residence hall who fail to schedule a test by Jan. 10 will continue to have a “not cleared for campus” status.

    Avoid the "Not Cleared for Campus" status:

    • Students who fail to schedule a test within 48 hours of their two-week testing window during the routine testing cycle will be placed on a “not cleared for campus” status.
    • If you are not cleared for campus, you will not be permitted to attend in-person classes, on-campus jobs or student events, or use campus facilities, including the libraries, Newell Hall and the Reitz Union.
    • Facilities with swipe access, such as recreation centers, will not be accessible to students who are not cleared. Please note that once you are cleared for campus, it takes 24 hours for the access to the campus recreation centers to be activated.
    • If you live in a residence hall and fail to get tested, you will not be permitted to continue to live in the residence hall.

    Routine testing is one important measure that UF is taking to help control the transmission of COVID-19 cases on our campus in early 2021. The plan is consistent with our previous approach, which also required testing of students in high-risk areas, as determined by UF Health experts, and should assure our faculty and student families that every possible evidence-based step is being taken to keep our campus as safe possible and protect our most vulnerable in the community. 

    You can learn more at https://coronavirus.ufhealth.org/screen-test-protect-2/screen-test-protect-plans-spring-2021/.

    Please contact Student-screening@ufl.edu if you have any additional questions.

    Thank you for doing your part to keep our community safe and tackle COVID-19 in 2021!


    Campus Health Requirements  

    When returning to campus, all students, faculty, staff and visitors are asked to adhere to the following practices.

    Physical Distancing
    Whenever possible, maintain a physical distance of 6 feet from others while on the University of Florida properties and in common spaces until further notice.

    Face Coverings

    Every university student and members of student organizations must:

    • Wear a mask or cloth face covering in UF and UF Health facilities as required by the University’s Masking and Physical Distancing policy.
    • Wear a face covering in UF outdoor spaces when the space does not allow for appropriate physical distancing as required by the University’s Masking and Physical Distancing policy.
    • Unapproved face coverings include masks with exhalation valves or vents, which allow air to be expelled and do not prevent the person from transmitting COVID-19 to others. Examples of face coverings that help our campus community stay safer are available at UF Health.
    • All visitors, faculty, staff, students, patients, volunteers and vendors are required to wear a face covering when outside on all UF and UF Health property unless a distance of 6 feet or more is maintained at all times. 

    Reusable, disposable, N95 and KN95 masks are available for purchase at the UF Bookstore. Disposable and reusable masks are available for purchase at all Gator Dining locations. Additionally, masks are available for purchase from 50 vending machines across campus. 

    Learn more about behavioral expectations, including guidelines for gatherings, on the UF Policy Hub page.

    Wash Hands Frequently
    Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

    Hand sanitizer and sanitizer wipes are available for purchase at the UF Bookstore and in 50 vending machines across campus. 

    Stay Home When Sick
    If you are sick, please stay home. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.


    Policy Enforcement

    Behavioral expectations are reinforced through the University of Florida’s three-tiered approach: 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.  Enforcement of behavior found to be a violation of the Student Conduct Code may result in sanctions such as loss of privileges associated with being a University of Florida student or student organization, including suspension and expulsion.​

    Health and Safety Standards

    Informed by guidance from UF Health, members of the UF community have a big role to play in ensuring a successful return to campus. Each of us has a responsibility to understand and act on the standards and policies that allow us to maximize health and safety while teaching, working and learning. As Gators, we crave connection with each other, and we come together to seek opportunity and to make a difference. Now is a great time to show in ways big and small how we care for everyone who is part of our campus community.

    UF Health Screen, Test & Protect
    UF Health has implemented a comprehensive Screen, Test & Protect initiative to help support a safer return to work and school. Please visit UF Health to learn more about this important public health effort as well as what will be expected of you as you return to campus.

    Prevention and protection
    It is important to adopt healthy habits that will help all of us continue to enjoy what we value most about our connections to campus. 

    Guidelines for students
    All students are required to complete a mandatory COVID-19 screening questionnaire. Screening is fast and begins with answering some simple questions. As part of this process, you will have the opportunity to complete in-person COVID-19 testing. Additional student screening and testing information is available on the Students page of the Screen, Test & Protect website.

    Protecting our community
    UF Health Screen, Test & Protect uses public health guidance and best practices aimed at fostering a culture of care for our community while taking steps to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. All of us are expected to understand what is required from each of us to ensure a safer environment and that together we will all embrace healthy habits and follow posted guidelines. We aim to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 through thorough screening, testing, education and communication. University and Department of Health officials may follow-up to ensure individuals are adhering to applicable laws and regulations, as well as the policies and guidelines established as part of this public health initiative.

    We are asking all members of our community to help in this process and to do your part in making the return as safe as possible. By all of us making a commitment to care for one another, especially those who are most vulnerable to serious illness, we can be a model for other institutions and communities across the country.

    Learn more about the ways you can help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

    Vaccine distribution 

    Information concerning vaccine availability is provided at: https://coronavirus.ufl.edu/university-updates/dec-14-important-announcement-covid-19-vaccine-plans.html

    This link is being regularly updated as the university plans to distribute the vaccine more broadly as it becomes more available.


    Resources

    UF and UF Health are working together to gradually return faculty, staff and students to campus. This effort is guided by the world-class physicians and epidemiologists at UF Health with everyone’s health and safety as our top priority. To support you, we have prepared a variety of resources.

    We understand these are unsettling times and you may have questions, concerns or even some fears. Please know that our approach to returning UF to more normal operations is based on scientific evidence and modeling that show new infections can be controlled and reduced to manageable levels by screening and testing and then quickly isolating those who are infected by the coronavirus. While this is an evolving situation, we are devoted to putting the health and safety of students, faculty and staff first.

    UF also offers the following additional resources.

    Counseling and Wellness Center
    To support students where they are, the UF Counseling & Wellness Center (CWC) offers remote mental health counseling services for students. If students need extra, short-term support, please call the CWC at (352) 392-1575 to schedule a brief consultation appointment to discuss eligibility to receive remote mental health counseling. Additionally, the Counseling & Wellness Center offers online webinars and group support to provide mental health information to UF students on various topics including managing anxiety.

    GatorWell Health Promotion Services
    Creating balance can seem like a daunting task when there is so much uncertainty swirling around. However, there are virtual resources available to help students set a plan for success. The staff in GatorWell Health Promotion Services offers certified wellness coaching to assist students in setting priorities and identifying specific changes they want to make to improve their academic performance and manage stress.

    Student Health Care Center
    The Student Health Care Center (SHCC) is available in-person and virtually to support students’ health care needs. If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, please contact the SHCC to set an appointment for testing. It is imperative that any individuals who believe they may have been exposed to COVID-19 contact the Student Health Care Center at (352) 392-1161 to discuss symptoms with a nurse or medical provider before their visit to ensure proper protective measures are taken to prevent further risk of spread to others. Additionally, telehealth visits and phone triage are also available to assist patients with COVID-19 concerns. Students who do not already have a UFHealth MyChart account can register for one and activate it immediately by logging onto mychart.shands.org. Download of the Zoom app is required for telehealth visits. Please call for additional assistance. SHCC business hours are Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.


    Frequently Asked Questions

    Will campus events such as football games, sorority, and fraternity rush resume without physical distancing for the Summer and Fall semesters?

    Assuming the pandemic continues to diminish, physical distancing requirements will be relaxed in Summer B and the Fall term for extracurricular events. Updates on athletics are available on the university athletics page.

    What accommodations will be made for employees who have an underlying health concern for the summer and fall semesters?

    The Office of Accessibility and Gender Equity in tandem with Human Resources and UF Health have developed a process to evaluate appropriate accommodations for faculty with disabilities. For more information, please visit Office of Accessibility and Gender Equity’s website.

    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.

    Are employees/students returning from international travel required to quarantine? Further, if someone travels after being cleared to work, must that person be re-cleared upon return?

    UF will follow the applicable CDC travel guidance restrictions, and travel guidance as determined by the State of Florida, Department of Health.  COVID-19 testing remains available for all faculty, staff and students that return from travel, but it will not be required.  

    How can I be tested for COVID-19 if needed?

    If you have symptoms or just want to get tested because you are worried you may have been in contact with someone with COVID-19, we have made scheduling testing easier using one.uf.edu. Simply go to one.uf.edu, complete the screening questionnaire again, and schedule the test within the next two days, and results will be emailed to you no later than 48 to 72 hours after your test.

    What are masking and physical distance policies?

    All visitors, faculty, staff, students, patients, volunteers and vendors are required to wear a mask or cloth face covering when in UF and UF Health facilities, with an exception for children less than 2 years old. If two or more people are within 6 feet of each other outdoors they must wear a mask or cloth face covering.  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 should not be worn unless no other face covering is available.

    Face coverings are to be worn in all classrooms, in patient care areas and when in public/common areas, including lobbies, conference rooms, elevators, stairwells, bathrooms and lounges. Face coverings are also required on employee and visitor shuttles, and on RTS buses.

    Exceptions include when in private offices, private workspaces with adequate physical barriers, and well-ventilated outdoor spaces where appropriate physical distancing of 6 feet or more can be maintained.

    All visitors, faculty, staff, students, patients, volunteers and vendors are required to wear a face covering when outside on all UF and UF Health property unless a distance of 6 feet or more is maintained at all times. 

    Please refer to the masking and physical distance policy at https://policy.ufl.edu/policy/masking-and-physical-distancing/.

    How many cases of COVID-19 are in Alachua County?

    For information about cases in Alachua County, please see the county's  COVID-19 recovery dashboard.

    Are masks and other personal protective equipment available on campus?

    Masks, hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes will be available in the UF bookstore, Gator Dining, and in 50 vending machines across campus. For employees, the university will provide UF-branded cloth masks and has a large amount of hand sanitizer and disinfectant spray that will continue to be distributed as needed to each college and unit. Additional N95 masks will also be provided to those who may need them for use in face-to-face settings.

    If you have questions or are in need of supplies, you are encouraged to work with your area's HR liaison to make a request. Because central supplies are limited, specific quantities have been allocated for each area.

    If my question isn't answered here, whom can I contact?

    Please email reopen@ufl.edu for additional questions not answered here.

    Will there still be capacity limits in study areas (libraries, Newell Hall, Union, etc)? What are the hours?

    Capacity limits will still be in place for UF facilities to promote physical distancing. Hours for facilities can be found on their websites.

    Where can we go (or not go) on campus? Will there be places for studying and socializing outside of classrooms and residence halls?

    Spaces for study and student life activities are available. De-densification will be necessary for safety reasons in libraries, computer labs, dining halls, and other group gathering spaces.

    How many employees have been tested? How many positive cases have there been?

    For specific data, please visit the UF Health Screen, Test & Protect website.

    Will there still be isolation and quarantine spaces available in the residence halls?

    If you live on campus in a residence hall, we have quarantine and isolation spaces held for you on campus. Students who test positive will stay in a different campus location than students who had close contact with someone who tested positive. If a student staying in quarantine status tests positive for COVID-19, the student will be moved to an isolation space. Student Affairs staff will reach out to check on you and provide any additional support, including academic assistance, if needed. You will have a Student Affairs point of contact for questions throughout your temporary assignment.

    What resources are available for students, faculty or staff who are experiencing stress during this time?

    The UF Counseling and Wellness Center offers a variety of mental health services and resources. Our UF Employee Assistance Program offers confidential 24/7 access to support for employees at no cost.

    Will UF resume full, normal operations for the Summer B and Fall semesters?

    Yes. Pending any unexpected developments, activities will accelerate in areas previously impeded by the pandemic. In-person classes will be at pre-pandemic capacities, employees will travel more on university business, students will resume study abroad experiences, laboratories and libraries will operate at full throttle, purchasing of supplies will increase, performances and other cultural experiences will blossom, etc.  In short, we will resume UF’s rich academic, cultural, and athletic lifestyles. Physical distancing will be relaxed, although mask wearing may still be required.

    What about food and transportation resources for those in isolation/quarantine?

    UF will continue to provide food and transportation support for students needing to isolate or quarantine. For more information on this process and the options, please visit: https://coronavirus.ufhealth.org/screen-test-protect-2/students/student-isolation-and-self-quarantine/

    Where can I go for reliable health information and updates on COVID-19?

    For the most up-to-date information about health, wellness and prevention of COVID-19, please visit

    Are students able to take classes online if they are not comfortable returning to campus for the Summer or Fall semesters?

    Select online courses will be available for those who prefer them, but not all classes will be available online.

    Will study abroad resume during the Summer and Fall semesters?

    From UF’s point of view, study abroad will resume but will likely continue to be affected by any pandemic-related restrictions in foreign countries related to travel and quarantine. Please contact the UFIC Study Abroad office for more information.

    What should I do if I am a student and do not feel well?

    It is imperative that any individuals who believe they may have been exposed to COVID-19 contact the Student Health Care Center at (352) 392-1161 to discuss symptoms with a nurse or medical provider before your visit to ensure proper protective measures are taken to prevent further risk of spread to others. Additionally, telehealth visits and phone triage are also available to assist patients with COVID-19 concerns. If you don’t already have a UFHealth MyChart account, you can register for one and activate it immediately by logging onto mychart.shands.org. Download of the Zoom app is required for telehealth visits.

    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. 

    https://coronavirus.ufhealth.org/screen-test-protect-2/students/student-quarantine-and-isolation/

    How can I learn more about what to expect for the Summer and Fall semesters?

    UF will continue to communicate proactively about the expectations for students, faculty and staff in the fall semester. Additionally, please visit this site regularly for the latest information.

    Will most students, faculty and staff be vaccinated by the Summer and Fall semesters?

    As summer B approaches, we expect vaccines to be even more widely available.  There are now three approved vaccines with substantial availability forecast over the next several months. 

    If I live off campus and test positive, what do I do?

    The university has a plan to support students who need to quarantine or isolate. If a student lives off campus, they will need to quarantine in their residence (apartment, house, etc.). Please refer to our Student Quarantine and Isolation page for information on the process, including what to expect in the quarantine residence halls, meal options, and medical care.

    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.

    What health and safety precautions will remain in place for the Summer semester to prevent the spread of COVID-19?

    Subject to guidance from UF Health, we will relax the physical distancing requirements that have been in place.  Whether or not we can relax the use of masks in the classroom remains to be seen.  A growing body of evidence suggests that fully vaccinated people are less likely to have asymptomatic infection and less likely to transmit SARS-CoV-2 to others. However, further investigation is ongoing. 

    Further, UF will maintain its routine testing plan for students determined by UF Health experts to present the highest risk of contracting and transmitting the virus. Students who are 14 days from their first dose of the vaccine will not be included in the routine testing plans. Students who have been vaccinated may attain exemption from routine testing by uploading their CDC vaccination card to the UF Health portal.

    Will UF still be quarantine/isolating students if they live in residences halls and test positive?

    Yes. Support for students needing to quarantine/isolate will continue.

    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.

    How are UF Housing and other campus facilities being cleaned?

    UF’s custodial team is conducting their usual, daily, disinfecting cleaning in areas such as public restrooms along with doing a deeper disinfectant cleaning in all common/lobby spaces. They are increasing the daily wiping down of high touch surfaces in all residence halls to include:

    • Doors doorknobs, handrails, elevator push buttons
    • Desks, tables, chairs, arm rest of chairs
    • Counters, offices, phones, keyboards, laptop keypads in common spaces
    • Bathroom fixtures, toilets, sinks
    • Water fountain push buttons

    Areas are being cleaned using microfiber cleaning cloths which are frequently changed and being disinfected using Diversey Oxivir TB.

    Supervisors are monitoring desk area locations to ensure hand sanitizer bottles are kept replenished at the desk and not allowed to run low.

    Staff are focusing on after-hours cleaning for areas that are visibly soiled and immediately cleaning those locations.

    As normal if students have a cleaning concern, they can submit an iService ticket.

    Throughout campus, in addition to their normal operations, custodial staff have increased disinfecting activities in all campus buildings they serve. Special attention is being given to bathrooms, frequently touched surfaces and common areas.