Message from the President: Back to School Fall 2021
Dear UWF Community,
After all we have been through over the past year, I had hoped my back-to-school letter to you would be about something other than a pandemic. Unfortunately, the sharp increase in COVID-19 cases has raised questions within the campus community which must be addressed. I have been meeting frequently with the Chairman of the SUS Board of Governors, the Chancellor, Florida’s Surgeon General, and the other SUS Presidents. The group recognizes our universities are facing similar challenges, yet no single solution is right for every institution.
We’ve learned a lot in recent months, but we don’t know everything. At UWF, we continue to rely on guidance from the Florida Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and we remain flexible as that guidance changes. For now, I offer the following advice:
Immunization: Every Argo who is eligible for the vaccine should be vaccinated against this terrible virus. For the benefit of all, get the shot. The vaccine is free and readily available.
Masks: Face coverings should be worn indoors in all buildings on campus. Masks will be distributed while supplies last.
Testing: Be ready to be tested if you are symptomatic or exposed to someone with the virus.
Screening: We are re-initiating daily surveys to assist us in decreasing the spread.
Continuity of Operations: In much the same way as we prepare for disruptions due to hurricanes and other weather events, students, faculty, and staff should be prepared for possible disruptions due to the virus. Every department will have protocols in place to minimize inconvenience.
Hygiene: You know the drill. Wash your hands. Use hand sanitizer. If you’re sick, stay home.
As I close this short note, I am keenly aware that a lot can happen in a week. Check uwf.edu/coronavirus for current updates. Continue to look after yourselves and each other.
The University of West Florida has weathered storms before. I have faith in the people of UWF to work together and find solutions. My leadership team and I are standing by to do everything in our power to see our University through to happier days.
Martha D. Saunders