UF prepares for Spring 2021

As January approaches and spring registration begins, members of the UF community are preparing for an expanded on-campus experience. 

"One reason I'm really excited about in-person classes is to connect with my peers," Emma Towler, a second-year political science student, said. "Zoom fatigue is real, and I look forward to seeing my professors and classmates again." 

While classes transitioned online in spring 2020 and remained online throughout the summer, experts at UF Health were researching and enacting safety measures across campus that have allowed students, faculty and staff to resume in-person learning and work. 

“Our team will continue to use tried-and-true public health principles to make campus as safe as possible during the spring semester,” said Dr. Michael Lauzardo, director of UF Health Screen, Test & Protect. “In addition, expanded testing capacity and other disease surveillance protocols, including wastewater epidemiology, will allow us the ability to rapidly adapt to any changes in incidence that we detect on campus.”

Lauzardo and other UF Health officials have pointed out that they have seen no evidence of COVID-19 transmission in classroom or laboratory settings during the fall semester.

The university will offer the roughly same number of in-person sections this spring as were offered in spring 2020, and in-person class capacity will follow UF Health safety guidelines. To allow for the appropriate spacing in each classroom, UF will rely on HyFlex classes, which offers a certain number of students to attend class in-person within physical distancing guidelines and other students to attend classes online in a synchronous format. 

"A flexible class option lets people who need in-person classes be successful," Towler said. "Plus, my friends and I feel comfortable wearing a mask because we understand we have to do it for the greater good." 

UF will continue to implement robust safety mechanisms to protect campus health. These include mandatory mask wearing and physical distancing as well as UF Health's Screen, Test & Protect program, which offers weekly screenings and the option for students and employees to receive COVID-19 tests regardless of whether they have symptoms. It also includes a rigorous contact tracing effort in close coordination with the Florida Department of Health in Alachua County. UF also conducts wastewater testing on campus to identify potential outbreaks.

UF News November 2, 2020