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October 13, 2020

I am so proud that so many of our students have Armored Up, following the COVID-19 precautions necessary to keep yourselves and other Knights healthy and well.

Still, we have had a concerning spike in positive cases of COVID-19 over the past week. Unfortunately, the majority of the cases involve students, and contact tracing tells us that many of these cases generated from activity at bars, restaurants and small social gatherings.

With only six weeks until the Thanksgiving break, we do not want to restrict our campus experience, including campus activities, football games and more.

When we welcomed students back to campus, we were adamant about wearing face coverings, practicing physical distancing and avoiding large crowds in accordance with CDC guidelines. When off-campus businesses re-opened, we communicated to keep up these measures everywhere you go and to only visit locations that enforced these protocols. And when bars and restaurants reopened last month, we reminded you to follow the precautions you should be accustomed to by now on and off campus, including wearing face coverings, practicing physical distancing and avoiding large crowds.

I remind you of that again today as it is vital – our continued face-to-face experience this fall depends on it. I recognize how important this time is for learning, growing and building connections. But we need our students to protect our kingdom and each other by following these steps:

  • Wear a face covering at all times
  • Maintain physical distancing, and if there is a crowd, leave the establishment, especially if face coverings are not being worn
  • If you feel ill or are on quarantine or isolation, stay home, do not go out and stay away from others
  • If an establishment is not following COVID-19 protocols, leave and go to a safer place
  • Limit your social gatherings to no more than 12 of your close friends
  • Remember that communal eating and drinking is higher risk because of the removal of masks

As you make plans to socialize, I urge you to keep the realities of the pandemic in mind and plan for safer alternatives. These steps can include bringing your event outside, reducing the number of attendees, keeping your distance, increasing ventilation, requiring face coverings to be worn the whole time, or going virtual.

We need our students’ continued cooperation and compliance with UCF’s COVID-19 policies. It is important that we hold each other accountable because we care about one another and do not want to see further spread of the pandemic within the UCF community.

I am counting on you to do the Knight thing. Armor Up, Knights, and Charge On!

Maribeth Ehasz, Ph.D.
Vice President, Student Development and Enrollment Services