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January 11, 2022

I am writing with updates on masks, testing hours, attendance policies and medical release forms.

As we expected, UCF experienced an increase in positive tests among our students, faculty and staff last week. We may continue to see higher totals due to the current Omicron wave, but projections suggest this wave will be shorter in duration than previous ones.

Well-Fitting Masks

Because Omicron spreads so easily — including among the fully vaccinated and those who have previously had COVID — it is incredibly important to wear a well-fitting mask that covers your nose and mouth when you are around others. Masks are expected to be worn indoors while on campus.

UCF delivered 4,000 KN-95 masks last week to colleges (through their deans) and offices that interact frequently with students, faculty or others. Masks also are available at UCF Downtown, the Rosen College of Hospitality Management and the Health Sciences Campus at Lake Nona.

An additional 20,000 KN-95 masks will be available this week to colleges and offices that need replenishment, along with other areas by request. Requests for KN-95 masks should be submitted to the Office of Emergency Management at [email protected] by building managers, college dean’s offices or central divisional offices.

Garage A Testing Hours

Consider getting tested if you may have COVID-19 symptoms. Testing is especially important if you have increased risk factors or severe symptoms.

Free testing is available to faculty and staff, as well as students, at Garage A. Our testing partner, Aventus Biolabs, has updated its hours to 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Testing is available on a drive-up basis, or you can make an appointment.

With the increase in community demand for testing, you should expect a wait time at campus and community testing sites.

Attendance Policies

As a reminder to faculty members, please refrain from requiring attendance during the first few weeks of class, and please make course information available to ill students so they don’t feel compelled to come to class. We are hoping this is a short-term request and that you can return to your customary attendance policies once the current wave has passed.

Making course information available does not necessarily mean recording or streaming lectures. For example, faculty could make class notes available to ill students. The Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning can assist with other strategies.

Medical Release Forms

If you test positive for COVID-19 or are ill, please stay home, do not come to work and let your supervisor know that you are unable to come to campus. Employees who do not have available leave time may be eligible for Knights Care Leave Share, which can be used for any COVID-related absences, including caring for family members who are required to stay home.

If you test positive for COVID-19, whether or not you are symptomatic, you must contact the COVID Line, 407-823-2509, which is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week. Please be aware that there is a high volume of incoming calls to the COVID Line, and nurses are making every effort to return calls in a timely manner.

To return to work on campus after testing positive, faculty and staff must submit the medical release form that continues to be required, even for employees who are asymptomatic. The form can be signed by your health care provider or by a COVID Line nurse. If you want a nurse’s signature, please email the form to [email protected]. Completed medical release forms can be returned to Human Resources via email at [email protected] or via fax at 407-882-9023.

The COVID Line will provide students with an electronic clearance form that they can send to their faculty members and supervisors to return to class or work on campus.

Faculty and supervisors do not need to contact the COVID Line about their students or employees testing positive. That is the responsibility of the student or employee.

We appreciate all of you doing your part to help our UCF community stay healthy. Thank you for your care and compassion in the face of the challenges of the pandemic.

Michael D. Johnson, Ph.D.
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs