July 2: Open Message to University of Florida Students, Santa Fe College Students and Members of the Community
During the past week, we have seen a significant climb in positive cases of COVID-19 across the state, including a surge in those ages 18-35.
The health and safety of our students and our community is paramount. We each have a role to play in limiting the potential spread of this disease.
With the Fourth of July holiday on the horizon, coupled with the reality of the impact of the virus, now is the time to band together to fight this global pandemic and collectively commit to do our part to promote a culture of care and compassion for one another.
We need you to wear a mask and stay physically distant from one another.
We need you to refrain from:
- Having or attending house parties or block parties
- Going to events with a large group of people or socializing in crowded venues
- Going on trips or traveling in groups
- Sharing cups
Please understand the far-reaching health care risks associated with contracting the virus. Recognize there are economic impacts of community spread. Work with us to lessen possible contact with the virus. While you may feel fine, attending social functions may contribute to you or someone else getting sick and could alter plans for the fall semester.
“This pathogen spreads person to person,” said Paul Myers, director of the State Department of Health in Alachua County. “We have traced many cases directly to parties where people are in close contact for long periods, drinking and not wearing masks.” Your choices can directly help flatten the curve. Please do your part and avoid engaging in events and settings that will surely increase the chances the disease will continue to spread.
It is important to note that the City of Gainesville’s Code Enforcement Outreach Team, GPD officers and GFR inspectors will be working this weekend to help ensure compliance with the county’s emergency order, which requires use of face coverings in buildings and in spaces where physical distancing is not possible. The ordinance also mandates people refrain from gatherings larger than 50 people and that in social and recreational gatherings where fewer than 50 people are present physical distancing of at least 6 feet and face coverings are required.
Failure to follow local and state guidelines such as those addressing large gatherings and wearing face coverings will result in student conduct violations. The Student Conduct Code serves to promote individual and social responsibility and is applicable to both individuals as well as student organizations.
This is a unique time for everyone, and it is our collective responsibility to use sound judgment, practice preventive measures and listen to the recommendations of health professionals to keep our community healthy and safe.