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January 4, 2022

Dear Colleagues:

Happy New Year! I hope each of you was able to rest and recharge over winter break, and we all wish you the very best in 2022.

Despite the continued challenges imposed by COVID-19, I have tremendous optimism for what we will accomplish together this year. We continue to build something incredible here: a forward-looking university that is committed to transformational outcomes and fueled by the excellence, diligence and dedication of our entire team. Your passion, creativity, research and innovation are remarkable, and our students are fortunate to learn from you and be inspired by you.

Classes will begin on Monday, January 10, as scheduled, and we look forward to the start of another successful semester.

We understand that you may have questions as we work through the effects the Omicron variant of COVID-19 may have on our campuses. First and foremost, we ask for patience, kindness and empathy for your fellow faculty and staff and for our students. I know everyone is doing the best they can under the circumstances, and we should continue to give each other grace whenever possible.

As we are learning to live with the virus, university leadership continues to be in constant communication with health officials, medical experts, the State University System and the Florida Board of Governors. Initial reports suggest that this wave of the virus will be shorter in duration, and most who are fully vaccinated and boosted have a reduced risk of severe illness or hospitalization.

How we are addressing COVID-19 for Spring 2022:

    • UCF continues to expect masking indoors
    • UCF continues to strongly encourage and offer vaccinations and boosters to those who are able to receive them
    • UCF continues to offer hand-sanitizer stations and mask distribution throughout our campuses
    • UCF continues to operate the COVID Line, 407-823-2509, for those who test positive for COVID-19
    • UCF is encouraging students, faculty and staff who feel sick to stay home

This is a continually evolving situation and, as we have all seen, things can change quickly. I ask for your continued patience and flexibility as new information emerges and the environment shifts. We will get through this together with care and compassion for each other.

This week, Interim Provost Michael Johnson will send an email further detailing procedures and COVID-19 guidance for the Spring semester. I want to thank Provost Johnson and Dr. Michael Deichen, Associate Vice President of UCF Student Health Services, for their work on our pandemic response over the last 21 months. And, I want to thank you. I truly appreciate all that you have done to support our students, and each other, to ensure our university is successful.

We cannot predict the future when it comes to the virus, but we can stay true to ourselves. We will continue Knight Nation’s long tradition of optimism and resilience; together, we will tackle whatever comes next, as we work to build the University for the Future.

With gratitude,

Alexander N. Cartwright, Ph.D.