Dear students, faculty, and staff,
After months of planning and preparation, the State University System welcomed back students to campus in the fall. The key to a successful return was implementing new health and safety policies and procedures for preventing the transmission of COVID-19 on each campus. Equally important was the need for all campus community members to take responsibility and ownership for creating a safer environment for ourselves and others. Each of you who have accepted this shared responsibility deserve a lot of credit for making this a successful semester.
It is clear the pandemic is not over, and as we approach the end of the fall semester, and prepare for spring semester, we must remain vigilant and follow the policies and protocols that are shown to limit the impacts of the virus on our campuses.
The best way to lessen the impact of COVID-19 on our campuses and our communities is to protect yourself, your family, and your friends every day and throughout this festive time of year.
Based on guidelines from the CDC and the American College Health Association, we strongly encourage students, faculty, and staff to follow these recommendations:
WEAR A MASK!
New guidance from the CDC stresses the need to wear a mask for your protection and the protection of those around you. We are making great strides to limit the spread, but don’t let your guard down. Wear a mask that covers your mouth and nose.
Get your flu shot.
It is more important than ever to get a flu shot during this year’s cold and flu season.
Stay home before you go home.
To protect your family – parents, grandparents, and others at a higher risk for serious illness – we encourage you to self-quarantine before leaving campus. Minimize your exposure to others, and avoid groups and risky locations.
Be positive that you’re negative.
Get tested for COVID-19 before you leave campus and before you return, if practical. Make sure to check your campus’ requirements for testing. Remember, a negative test does not mean you won’t become infectious. In fact, you can have no symptoms and still be contagious. Continue to wear a mask, wash your hands, and practice social distancing to keep your family safe.
If you are traveling be sure to check COVID-19 guidelines for your destination. Reduce the number of stops on the trip. Take a direct flight if possible, and if driving, pack food/snacks for the car trip home. Carry and use hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol) frequently. Use a disinfecting/sanitizing wipe to clean any touchable surfaces in the vehicle you are traveling.
COVID-19 is the worst house guest. Keep your guests to a minimum, spend as much time outside as possible and open the windows, or consider celebrating virtually to help reduce the chance of infection and spread.
Be safe when you get home.
Keep your grandparents and other at-risk family members safer by choosing celebrations that keep friends 6 feet apart, masked, and outdoors.
Continue to make good choices. Aim to get tested before the holiday break, and regardless, remember to stay home and get tested if you are sick or were in contact with someone with COVID-19. You may not be at high-risk yourself, but you might come into contact with others who have conditions that put them at risk of serious illness.
What’s happening around the country with record levels of cases and hospitalizations does not have to happen here in Florida. We can slow the spread and protect others more vulnerable. Remember, it’s not just about you. We are all in this together, and we are confident our students, faculty, and staff will continue to do the right thing.
We wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving and holiday break.
Syd Kitson, Chair
Florida Board of Governors
Marshall Criser, III, Chancellor
State University System of Florida
Consult the following CDC websites for further information on travel and on safer ways to celebrate holidays with family and friends:
Please also see the Considerations for Institutions of Higher Education as Students Return Home from the American College Health Association for further information: https://www.acha.org/documents/Resources/COVID_19/ACHA_Brief_Considerations_for_IHEs_as_Students_Return_Home_10.29.2020.pdf