As UCF welcomes back students, faculty and staff for the spring semester, which starts Jan. 10, the university will continue many health and safety protocols to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

UCF is continuing to closely monitor COVID-19, and we encourage you to follow the latest CDC guidance to protect yourself and our campus community. As we have demonstrated at UCF since the pandemic began, each one of us can help reduce the spread of the virus by practicing the small precautions that have helped keep positive cases at UCF low.

Campus Communications from the Week of Jan. 3

UCF will continue increased cleaning and classroom disinfections, access to hand-sanitizing stations and the distribution of masks.

With the rise of the Omicron variant, we urge all students, faculty and staff to get fully vaccinated and boosted. While Omicron is highly transmissible and infectious, data point to vaccines still being very effective in preventing hospitalization and severe illness. Vaccines and boosters remain available, free of charge, at the Student Health Center via walk-up or appointment or at a location near you.

The nature of Omicron means that it also is important to wear a well-fitting mask when in close proximity to others, stay home and avoid contact with others if you are ill. Consider getting tested if you may have COVID-19 symptoms. Testing is especially important if you have increased risk factors or severe symptoms.

Testing continues to be available free of charge for students, faculty and staff in Garage A at UCF’s main campus. The drive-through testing is available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Currently, the Garage A testing site is experiencing high demand, so please consider making an appointment. Students also can be tested for no charge at Student Health Services.

If you test positive, you must call the UCF COVID Line, 407-823-2509, and follow the nurses’ instructions. Additionally, follow the latest CDC guidance, which now recommends that fully vaccinated and boosted individuals who test positive or show symptoms should isolate for five days and follow with five days of strict mask wearing.

If you feel sick, stay home and away from others until you are asymptomatic. You should not go to class, work or other activities if you feel sick. Consider getting tested if you may have COVID-19 symptoms and especially if you have increased risk factors or severe symptoms, and call the UCF COVID Line if you test positive.

“We understand that you may have questions as we work through the effects the Omicron variant of COVID-19 may have on our campuses,” UCF President Alexander N. Cartwright wrote to faculty and staff this week. “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. Despite the continued challenges imposed by COVID-19, I have tremendous optimism for what we will accomplish together this year.”

The latest information on UCF’s response to the pandemic can be found on the university’s coronavirus website.