March 16, 2021
The increase in availability of effective COVID-19 vaccines, along with a decrease in cases within our UCF community and across Florida, gives me much optimism.
As we continue to Armor Up and take public health precautions until the pandemic is behind us, I want to share some updates about the steps we are taking at UCF.
Last week, the Florida Department of Health in Orange County provided UCF with vaccines that we are in the process of distributing to more than 2,300 employees. We were only able to offer appointments based on the amount of vaccine provided by the Department of Health, and all slots are currently filled.
Numerous community providers are offering the vaccine to those who qualify, and you may elect to receive your vaccination through one of those offerings if you are eligible. For information on sites in Orange County, you can visit Orange County’s Vaccine Information page. If you have the opportunity to be vaccinated, you should take it.
As more vaccines are produced, we expect that they will become more widely available. As we plan to resume more normal schedules of classes, activities and campus operations as much as possible in the fall, we strongly urge all members of the UCF community to get fully vaccinated when eligible. Achieving wide community vaccination is such a critical element to our ability to all be together again.
Vaccines are highly protective against acquiring COVID or getting seriously ill, and I encourage you to watch this video featuring faculty experts from UCF’s College of Medicine to learn more about debunked vaccine myths and why each of us should be vaccinated for the good of everyone.
Random testing for COVID-19 has been underway since the fall, and it is one of the ways we are able to detect possible outbreaks, strengthening our ability to slow the spread of the virus at UCF and protect our campus community.
We will increase these efforts by randomly testing about 500 students and faculty and staff members each week through the end of the spring semester. Students, faculty and staff who are already learning or working entirely remotely will not be required to participate.
Those who are chosen will receive more information via their UCF.edu or Knights email accounts. The tests will be rapid tests with results available in less than an hour provided by Aventus Biolabs in Garage A. There will be no out-of-pocket costs for the tests.
By participating in random testing, those selected are helping with UCF’s efforts to be proactive in mitigating further spread of COVID-19.
Although our case numbers have fallen, UCF continues to provide contact tracing for each case reported to us to help contain the spread of the virus.
Students, faculty and staff who test positive must call the COVID Line at 407-823-2509, whether or not you come to any UCF campus. This will initiate the contact-tracing process to help identify others who may have been exposed.
As we cross the one-year mark into the pandemic, I know we are all feeling fatigued and craving a return to normalcy, but we must keep up with our prevention efforts. Get vaccinated if you can. If you are feeling sick, however mild your symptoms, avoid others to reduce risk of spread. We also must continue to wear our masks, keep our distance and wash or sanitize our hands.
Keep Armoring Up, Knights!
Dr. Michael Deichen, MD, MPH
Associate Vice President of UCF Student Health Services