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Monday, March 04, 2024

UF cancels more study abroad programs, tells some students to stay away from campus

<p>Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)</p>

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

With coronavirus cases being treated in Florida outside of Alachua County, UF is taking extra measures to ensure the health of students and prevent the spread of the illness.

UF spokesperson Steve Orlando said all study abroad programs to China, South Korea, Italy and Iran planned for this Summer were canceled. Japan’s study abroad programs are still being

evaluated. Approximately 400 students are affected by this cancellation, and the UF International Center is working to find them alternative programs.

UF sent an email Friday to students, faculty and staff that stated if anybody has traveled to those locations and returned in the past 14 days, they will not be permitted on UF campus.

“With everybody returning next week from Spring Break, we just want them to... pay attention for things that they can do, including handwashing and hand sanitizing,” Orlando said. “Most important, not coming to class when they feel sick.”

UF will not cancel athletic events and Spring commencement but are prepared to modify the plans if necessary, according to the email.

No coronavirus cases have been reported in Alachua County or in Gainesville, the email read. There are currently 12 positive coronavirus cases from Florida residents and two deaths in the state, according to the Florida Department of Health as of Sunday evening.

Orlando said UF has instructed professors to accommodate students who may be sick and need to keep up with coursework. 

The university will install additional hand sanitizer dispensers throughout campus, including in building entryways, and put more sanitizer bottles on instructors’ desks.

In addition to providing hand sanitizer, UF will purchase extra supplies of hydrogen peroxide to further disinfect the campus generally and also for the buses, according to the email.

UF will also purchase the Clorox Total 360 electrostatic disinfectant spray system to disinfect the front, sides and backs of surfaces, which will only be used if there’s a case of coronavirus on campus.

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UF plans to take measures for campus housing, such as wiping down places that are touched every day, including doorknobs, handrails, desks, counters and phones.

Common areas will be cleaned with microfiber cloths and disinfected with a hospital-grade disinfectant to clean places faster.

Housing supervisors will monitor desk area locations to make sure hand sanitizer bottles are replenished.

UF is also reminding students to follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention such as washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and avoiding close contact with people who are sick.

Correction: This story was updated to reflect that study abroad programs to Japan are still being evaluated. The Alligator reported differently due to misinformation from a source.

Contact Stephany Matat at Follow her on Twitter @StephanyMatat

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

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