After spikes in COVID-19 cases caused UF to postpone releasing its Fall schedule of classes, the university has begun to prepare students for their return to campus.

Students who are registered for classes in Fall began receiving emails Monday from UF Vice President for Student Affairs D’Andra Mull with instructions on how to get screened and tested for COVID-19 before returning to campus. All students must undergo screenings by the start of Fall, according to UF spokesperson Steve Orlando. Testing is optional.

Students can register for an in-person COVID-19 test if they are in Gainesville, but the dates tests will be available are not clear at this time. The university will contact 3,000 students a day to start the screening process, Orlando wrote in an email to The Alligator. It is not clear when screening will end, but all students must complete it before they return to UF.

“With an enrollment of roughly 52,000, the number of students who choose to be tested is potentially large,” Orlando said. “So the sooner we begin that process, the better.”

Tests will be administered by UF Health professionals for free in a drive-by area, and the results will be sent to a lab to determine whether the virus is present. UF Health will then determine if students are clear to enter campus facilities or if isolation is required.

The screening is part of UF’s Screen, Test & Protect program, an initiative from UF’s reopening plan for the upcoming Fall semester. The program requires all students and faculty to complete a survey that determines COVID-19 risk factors, to ensure the number of infections stays as low as possible. The contents of the survey or the types of questions it will entail are not clear.

The survey must be completed within five days of receiving the email by accessing it on ONE.UF, Mull wrote in the email, and students and faculty who have remained on campus over the past few months will also have to complete the screening questionnaire.

Students who are planning to live in dorms or are currently residing near campus, and have high participation in activities or clinical work will be among the first contacted for screening, Orlando wrote.

While classes will remain online during the Summer B term starting Monday, Orlando said, many will start returning to campus soon and will begin screening. Those who are currently not in Gainesville will have to answer a second questionnaire closer to their arrival on campus.

Contact Nicole at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @_nrodriguez99.

Staff Writer

Nicole Rodriguez is a third-year journalism student at UF. She is currently the University Administration reporter for The Alligator and covers updates and announcements dealing with the UF administration.