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January 5, 2022

Welcome to the Spring semester, Knights!

The Student Health Services team and I are eager to welcome you back to campus next week. I want to share a medical update on UCF’s continued response to COVID-19 and the Omicron variant in particular.

Positive cases of COVID-19 have increased rapidly since the highly transmissible new variant emerged, and cases are expected to continue to rise locally and nationally. Fortunately, emerging evidence suggests that the current wave may be shorter in duration than previous ones, with reduced risk for severe illness or hospitalization for those who are fully vaccinated and boosted.

As a doctor and public health professional, I would encourage my patients to get vaccinated and receive a booster. I encourage each of you, as Knights, to do the same if you are able to.

As we have demonstrated at UCF since the pandemic began, each one of us also can help reduce the spread of the virus by practicing small precautions each day.

  • Vaccines and Boosters: Vaccines and booster shots are still the best way to prevent severe illness and death from COVID-19. Both are available at no cost at the Student Health Center and at a convenient location near you.
  • Wear a Well-Fitting Mask: 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.
  • Testing: Consider getting tested if you may have COVID-19 symptoms. Testing is especially important if you have increased risk factors or severe symptoms. Testing is available to students free of charge at Garage A and at the Student Health Center. With the increase in community demand for testing, you should expect a wait time at campus and community testing sites.
  • UCF COVID Line: If you test positive, call the UCF COVID Line, 407-823-2509, and follow nurses’ instructions. You will be required to present a clearance form prior to returning to class or work on campus.
  • Stay Home If You Feel Sick: You should not go to class, work or other activities if you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. With the current variant, these symptoms may be mild or like a cold. Stay home until you are asymptomatic, avoid contact with others as much as possible, and wear a well-fitting mask if you must be around others. Get tested if your symptoms are significant or flu-like, and call the COVID Line if you test positive.

As UCF continues to closely monitor COVID-19, I want to thank you for doing your part to protect yourself and our larger campus community. We are all in this together, and we look forward to a successful semester.

Armor Up, Knights!

Dr. Michael Deichen, MD, MPH
Associate Vice President of UCF Student Health Services