Frequently Asked Questions
Screen, Test & Protect

COVID-19 Exposure and Symptoms

Refer to our quick reference guide on what do if you experience symptoms, come in close contact with someone with COVID, or test positive for COVID.

Assess Your Risks

Use our reference guide to common campus and and community activities so you can take precautions to live and learn more safely.

General

What is UF’s mask policy?

  • Based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we expect everyone to wear a face covering at all times when inside any UF facility, even if you are vaccinated. This includes our students, faculty, staff, vendors and visitors. Recent studies and guidance from the CDC state that both unvaccinated and vaccinated individuals can transmit the current COVID-19 variant to unvaccinated persons.
  • Within our UF Health hospitals or other patient-facing clinical facilities, including our dentistry practices and our veterinary hospitals, face coverings and physical distancing are required.
  • UF Health will support UF in implementing these policies as safely as possible and urges those who have not been vaccinated to do so.
  • Mask use outdoors is not required.

How are we using our COVID-19 screening and testing capabilities to keep faculty, staff and students on campus safe?

Our goal was to create a screening process, for the more than 75,000 faculty, staff and students in order to ensure safe return to work and school at UF as well as surveillance of COVID-19 on campus. When running at full capacity, UF Health Screen, Test & Protect can test more than 1,000 people per day at the various testing sites. It is important to remember there are a number of factors outside of our control that may impact the number of people tested per day or per week. 

Who is administering the test?

UF Health is administering the UF Health Screen, Test & Protect program in coordination with the Florida Department of Health in Alachua County. How are we using COVID-19 vaccinations to keep campus safe?

How are we using COVID-19 vaccinations to keep campus safe?

Our goal was to vaccinate as many faculty, staff and students across UF as possible. Vaccination opportunities rolled out starting in December 2020 to faculty, staff and students in the academic health center, and then expanded to the rest of campus during the spring semester. Vaccines have been available on campus for walk-up vaccination since April 2021. UF Health will continue to provide COVID-19 vaccination, as long as supply is available, to faculty, staff and students seeking a vaccine. 

What is UF’s vaccination requirement?

UF does not require that faculty, staff or students receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccination is strongly encouraged and vaccinated individuals will not need to quarantine  if they are exposed to a case.


Vaccination

Where can I get a vaccination?

We frequently update the Vaccine Availability page with walk-up and appointment options for vaccination on the UF campus and across Gainesville.

Do I have to report my vaccination status?

Vaccination is not required to be reported for faculty, staff or students.


Online Screening

What is the UF Health Screen, Test & Protect program?

As the University of Florida worked to restore full campus operations last year, all faculty, staff and students were required to complete an online screening questionnaire to determine if they had symptoms of COVID-19. This is now a voluntary questionnaire that faculty, staff and students are encouraged to complete if they experience COVID-like symptoms. Furthermore, for those who are not fully vaccinated and come in close contact to a positive COVID-19 case, they can complete the questionnaire and schedule a COVID-19 test by logging on to ONE.UF This testing is offered at no cost to you. After a screening questionnaire is completed, information will be provided about how to make an appointment for testing.

When did screening start?

Screening and testing began for some UF administrators and staff on May 6, 2020. Faculty, staff and students can take the screening questionnaire on ONE.ufl.edu weekly.

What happens if my screening questionnaire says I should be tested?

If your answers to the screening questionnaire suggest your results require additional assessment for COVID-19, a one-time saliva test is strongly encouraged before returning to campus. This testing is offered at no cost to you. If you are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19, you must quarantine at home, away from others, until told by a medical professional from UF Health Screen, Test & Protect that you can come out of quarantine. Please also notify your personal physician.

People at high risk of infection include those who are not vaccinated  and have been exposed to a person infected with COVID-19, have symptoms consistent with a COVID-19 infection, or a history of travel within the past 14 days to or from an area known to have high levels of transmission.

Can I opt out of the screening process? Is there a religious exemption?

While the online screening questionnaire is voluntary for faculty, staff and students, you are encouraged to use this as a tool to let UF Health disease investigator know if you need to schedule a test or if you have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19.


Getting Tested for COVID-19

Is testing mandatory for everyone to come to UF campus?

No, but if your answers to the screening questionnaire suggest your results require additional assessment for COVID-19, a one-time saliva swab test is strongly encouraged before returning to work. This testing is offered at no cost to you. Schedule a test today at ONE.UF by starting a new screening questionnaire.

Will I only get tested once or will I need to get tested again at a later date?

For those whose test returns positive, UF Health will follow up using standard public health contact tracing procedures and may require further testing as part of public health efforts to prevent and control the further dissemination of COVID-19 infection. Schedule a test today at ONE.UF by starting a new screening questionnaire.

What are the estimated wait times at the testing sites? What do I need to bring?

The appointment should last between 5 and 10 minutes. This timing is based on our experience testing thousands of individuals at various walk-up and drive-thru screenings we have conducted throughout North Central Florida.

Bring your Gator 1 ID card and, if you have one, your insurance card. Individuals will NOT be personally responsible for any payment amounts that are not covered by third party payors, including, but not limited to, non-covered or out-of-network services, deductibles, co-insurance and/or co-payments.

Would I ever need to be retested?

There are certain circumstances where retesting would be recommended for you:

Where is testing being offered?

In Gainesville: The UF Cultural Plaza Parking garage on Hull Road.

How is the test performed?

The test is performed using a saliva swab, similar to a flu test. The sample is then sent to a lab to determine whether the virus is present.

How long will it take to get my test results?

Results will be available within about two days, with few exceptions. Employees and students will receive information about their results directly from UF Health either via an email or phone call.

I was tested for COVID-19 and my initial test says negative. Am I “safe” from now on?

The nasal swab test only detects whether you can infect others at the time the test was taken. If your test is negative, you are not contagious at the time of the test, but you can be infected at a later date, and if infected, can spread the infection to your co-workers or the community.  

Everyone on UF campus is encouraged to get vaccinated and continue to practice good hygiene.

Employees who feel ill should go home or stay home, follow the guidance on when you believe you may be sick, and should not come to work. They should seek out recommended testing and treatment as needed.

Any student who is not fully vaccinated and believes they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their personal physician or the Student Health Care Center at (352) 392-1161 to discuss symptoms with a nurse or medical provider before their visit to ensure proper protective measures are taken to prevent further risk of spread to others.

What happens if I test positive?

If faculty, staff or students test positive, they will be contacted by UF Health or the Student Health Care Center. Please follow these guidelines to ensure you have contacted the appropriate offices and are following current health guidance.

If a person tests positive, how will UF inform co-workers of an employee who is diagnosed with COVID-19?

UF Health may communicate test results to the University of Florida for use in the university’s return-to-workplace initiative. Employees will receive test results by email or via phone. No personal health information will be released to HR. HR will also receive a notification from the UF Health Screen, Test & Protect team indicating if an employee is cleared to return to work.

UF Health may also follow up on positive COVID-19 test results using standard public health contact tracing procedures, as part of public health efforts in coordination with the Department of Health to prevent and control the further dissemination of COVID-19 infection. UF Health will disclose testing results to public health oversight agencies, as well as other regulatory entities, as may be duly authorized or required by applicable state or federal law, statutes or regulations. Disclosures of information by UF Health will apply only to the data obtained as part of this testing program and will not include disclosures of any other existing or future personal health information.

The UF Health Screen, Test & Protect team will work to confidentially inform individuals who have been in contact with the person with COVID, and with the permission of the positive person, may provide their name to the contacts.. The person who tests positive will be asked for as many contacts as possible. Given the nature of close contacts, anonymity is not always possible. This process is in keeping with standard public health practices.

Who has access to test results? How are you protecting that information?

Access to an individual’s test results will be held to the same standard as other protected health information and will be stored in EPIC, the HIPAA-compliant electronic medical record at UF Health. Access to an individual’s test sample and results will be held in a confidential manner by UF Health in a secure database and/or by the state of Florida Department of Health.

Who will pay for this test? Does my insurance cover it? Do the fees I pay to UF cover this cost? Is it free?

UF faculty, staff and students will NOT be personally responsible for any payment amounts that are not covered by third party payors, including, but not limited to, non-covered or out-of-network services, deductibles, co-insurance and/or co-payments.

What if I do not have insurance? 

See question above.

Is this antibody testing?

This is not an antibody test. Antibody testing for coronavirus is new and thus its contribution to COVID-19 testing is still undergoing evaluation. In the future, antibody testing may be used to identify those who have had a COVID-19 infection in the past. However, currently these tests do not provide information as to whether these antibodies can protect you from reinfection with the virus. The test can also be used to identify donors of plasma (a blood product where antibodies are in high concentration) that will be given to very sick patients with COVID-19. In time, research should help us determine what role, if any, antibody testing might play in our response to COVID-19.

How do I complete the screening questionnaire for UF faculty, staff and students?

Students, faculty and staff can take the screening questionnaire once per week and schedule a testing appointment on campus through ONE.UF.

Is this test approved by the CDC?

Yes, the testing is the same as the COVID-19 test you would receive at your doctor’s office or the hospital.

Is this test part of a research study?

No, this is not a research study.


Campus Safety Measures

What measures are in place to protect campus faculty and staff?

Physical Distancing
Consistent with CDC guidelines, we recommend (but do not require) that those who have not been vaccinated continue to practice physical distancing. We encourage everyone to be mindful that this is a time of adjustment and to be considerate and respectful of others’ personal space.

Face Coverings

  • University of Florida recommends our students, faculty, staff and other members of the campus community who are not vaccinated wear face coverings indoors. The university further advises the campus community to follow CDC guidelines and, for anyone who has not yet been vaccinated, to get vaccinated.
  • However, within our UF Health hospitals or other patient-facing clinical facilities, including our dental practices and veterinary hospitals, face coverings will continue to be required

Cleaning & Disinfection
Guidelines for routine cleaning and disinfection of community areas at UF, including but not limited to laboratories, classrooms, common sitting areas, meal rooms, etc., are available. Cleaning and disinfection services are available through UF Facilities Services.

Vaccination
All faculty, staff and students are encouraged to receive a COVID-19 vaccination, and opportunities are available on the UF campus and within UF Health

Will UF require temperature checks on all UF faculty, staff, students and the general public before they are allowed in buildings?

No, we are not recommending temperature and symptom screening for UF building entry. The University of Florida requires all employees, students and visitors who have symptoms suggesting they are sick (including fever, shortness of breath, cough or diarrhea) to stay at home. 


Faculty & Staff

Will I need to quarantine if I’m fully vaccinated? 

Please call UF Health Screen, Test & Protect for guidance or report your exposure on the ONE.UF health screener if you are fully vaccinated and were exposed to a COVID-19 case. You will not be considered a contact if you come in close contact to someone with COVID-19, but you should monitor yourself for COVID-19 symptoms. Maintain monitoring for 14 days following an exposure. Health professions students may be required to follow different protocols. If you are a health care worker at UF Health, please contact the appropriate phone number to answer questions about exposure.

Is the online screening questionnaire required for all UF faculty and staff?

The online screening questionnaire is encouraged but not required for UF faculty and staff; however, you are encouraged to use this as a tool to let UF Health disease investigators know if you need to schedule a test or if you have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19.

Does this apply to Jacksonville-based faculty, residents, fellows and staff?

All University of Florida faculty, residents, fellows and staff working on the UF Health Jacksonville and UF Health North campuses as well as outpatient practices and other locations are expected to follow these requirements.

If I am a UF employee who tests positive and I do not have enough vacation or sick time to cover the 14-day quarantine, can I teach or work from home during those 14 days?

Yes, if you are feeling well enough to work from home and your department has granted you permission to work at an alternate work location, you may work from home. If you are not feeling well enough to work, there are several options for taking leave or you may also apply for additional leave through UF’s leave donation program. Please review the UF HR guidelines for these programs.

How long do I have to quarantine for if I have come in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 and I am unvaccinated?

The quarantine period is 14 days; however, if you have not developed any COVID-19-like symptoms after 10 days, you can end your quarantine period early if you agree to the following guidelines and action steps:

  1. Get a PCR test through UF Health Screen, Test & Protect (STP) on or after the 9th day of exposure. If you are not a UF student, faculty, staff or affiliate or you are not in the Gainesville area, you may use an outside lab and manually report your results to STP by calling 352-273-9790.
  2. Report any newly developed symptoms to STP. 
  3. Stay masked for the full 14 days after exposure at all times when around others including roommates or those who live in your household.
  4. For those unable to comply with these criteria, you must remain in quarantine for the full 14 days.

Students

Is UF offering COVID-19 testing in the summer?

Yes. UF will continue to offer limited COVID-19 testing for students, faculty and staff through UF Health Screen, Test & Protect.

What kind of test does UF use?

UF Health Screen, Test & Protect uses noninvasive, saliva-based polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing. Nasal swab testing for travel documentation or other needs is available through the Student Health Care Center.

Do I have to test negative to move-into the residence halls, start classes or move into a sorority or fraternity housing for summer 2021 semester?

You need to have scheduled a test but do not need to have your test results to move into the residence halls or start classes for the summer 2021 semester. If you live in a Greek chapter house, remember that houses and the terms of your lease agreement may have additional requirements related to their move-in processes. To avoid delays, please check with your house director to determine if there are any additional requirements you must fulfill prior to returning to your house (e.g., obtaining a negative test result).

Can I get tested by my physician or at an emergency care location?

Routine surveillance testing for specific UF student groups must be completed through UF Health Screen, Test & Protect at our on-campus locations. The saliva-based test is free, fast and convenient.

How will I know the result of my test?

You will receive email notification of your test results. Results should take 24-48 to be processed.

How do I find out if I have been cleared to access main campus facilities?

Students can check their status at One.UF.edu.

What if I test positive?

If you test positive, please start to isolate from others. Call UF Health Screen, Test & Protect disease investigators at 352-273-9790 to learn your next steps.

Will students need to isolate or quarantine if they are a close contact or test positive?

If you are not vaccinated and become a contact to a case or become ill with COVID-19-like symptoms, please answer the screening questionnaire through ONE.UF to schedule a test or call UF Health Screen, Test & Protect for further guidance at 352-273-9790.

Additionally, once fully vaccinated (14 days after the single dose of J&J and 14 days after the second dose of Moderna and Pfizer) you will not be considered a contact to a COVID-19 positive case and no longer need to quarantine if exposed.

How long do I have to quarantine for if I have come in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 and I’m unvaccinated?

The quarantine period is 14 days; however, if you have not developed any COVID-19-like symptoms after 10 days, you can end your quarantine period early if you agree to the following guidelines and action steps:

  1. Get a PCR test through UF Health Screen, Test & Protect (STP) on or after the 9th day of exposure. If you are not a UF student, faculty, staff or affiliate or you are not in the Gainesville area, you may use an outside lab and manually report your results to STP by calling 352-273-9790.
  2. Report any newly developed symptoms to STP. 
  3. Stay masked for the full 14 days after exposure at all times when around others including roommates or those who live in your household.
  4. For those unable to comply with these criteria, you must remain in quarantine for the full 14 days.

Will I need to quarantine after I’m fully vaccinated?

Please call UF Health Screen, Test & Protect for guidance or report your exposure on the ONE.UF health screener if you are fully vaccinated and were exposed to a COVID-19 case. You will not be considered a contact if you come in close contact to someone with COVID-19, but you should monitor yourself for COVID-19 symptoms. Maintain monitoring for 14 days following an exposure. Health professions students may be required to follow different protocols. If you are a health professions student at UF Health, please contact the appropriate phone number to answer questions about exposure.

Where are the testing location sites?

At this time, the spring semester testing location is the Phillips Center Garage on Hull Road. If additional testing sites are added, we will update our campus community.

Will the screening questionnaire continue for students?

Yes. The screening questionnaire will continue for all students, faculty and staff.

Is the air exchange quality in classrooms OK?

UF facilities and their associated air quality play an important role in maintaining a safe workplace. Accordingly, UF Facilities Services recently evaluated the air change per hour rates of more than 350 instructional spaces across campus. The results show that these spaces meet or exceed commonly accepted standards of air changes per hour. Further, these results were reviewed by a team of medical experts at UF Health. UF Health concluded that the levels of air change found within the instructional spaces across campus do not put students or faculty members at risk for COVID-19. We will continue to monitor air exchange rates regularly and will work with faculty and the Registrar’s Office to take instructional spaces falling below standards established by UF Health offline for the spring semester.

Can you test my pets?

No. We will not be testing pets.

Who do I report my results to? Do I have to report my results to the Registrar’s Office, Dean of Students or my program office?

When you get tested through UF Health Screen, Test & Protect or through UF Student Health Care Center, you do not need to report your results to anyone. If you are tested from an outside lab please call Screen, Test & Protect for next steps, 352-273-9790.

How can I attend classes if I test positive? Will there be online options?

The Care Team in the Dean of Student Office will work with you on any class accommodations you need.

If I test positive and I get sick, will my student health insurance cover the costs of treatment?

Yes. Health insurance will cover your medical needs.

What if someone in my residence hall or sorority/fraternity house tests positive? Do I need to quarantine myself or get retested?

If someone tests positive and you have been identified as a contact to them, you will receive a call from UF Health Screen, Test & Protect and you will need to self-quarantine. If you are required to quarantine, you are not permitted to self-quarantine in the residence halls and must find alternative living arrangements. We work with students who live on and off campus to provide support and resources ranging from outreach to academic assistance.

What happens if a student in the residence halls gets sick from COVID-19? 

If a student lives on campus in a residence hall or in a sorority or fraternity house and needs to be withheld from campus, the University of Florida will no longer provide students alternative housing for a proper quarantine or isolation length.

If a student lives in Graduate and Family Housing and needs to be withheld from campus, that student may remain in their apartment.

What sort of safety/cleaning measures are being implemented in housing?

UF’s custodial team is continuing to conduct their usual, daily, disinfecting cleaning in areas such as public restrooms, along with doing a deeper disinfecting cleaning in all common/lobby spaces. They are increasing the daily wiping down of high-touch surfaces in all residence halls to include:

  • Doors, door knobs, handrails, elevator push buttons
  • Desks, tables, chairs, arm rests of chairs
  • Counters, offices, phones, keyboards, laptop keypads in common spaces
  • Bathroom fixtures, toilets, sinks
  • Water fountain push buttons

Areas are being cleaned using microfiber cleaning cloths, which are frequently changed and disinfected using Diversey Oxivir TB.

Supervisors are monitoring desk area locations to ensure hand sanitizer bottles are kept replenished at the desk and not allowed to run low.

Staff are focusing on after-hours cleaning as it relates to areas that are visibly soiled and immediately cleaning those locations.

As usual, if students have a cleaning concern, they can submit an iService ticket.

Are there quarantine requirements for international students or out-of-state students when they first arrive in Gainesville?

Students should check for any travel restrictions and are encouraged to complete their health screening questionnaire.

Will international students be provided with alternative housing if another wave of COVID-19 disrupts housing and dining operations?

International students will be able to remain on campus.

Is there financial support for students impacted by the pandemic?

The University of Florida has been allocated funds from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). The CARES Act established and funded the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) to provide emergency financial aid grants. These critical funds will help eligible UF students cover expenses related to unanticipated travel, additional technology requirements or other needs related to an emergency situation. Graduate assistants (this includes medical and veterinary residents), postdoctoral fellows and associates must apply as employees via the Faculty and Staff Aid-a-Gator program. UF Online, International and DACA students are not eligible to receive CARES Act funding, but emergency funding for these students may be available through the UF Aid-a-Gator program.

As a parent or guardian of a student, if my student gets coronavirus, can they leave and come home to self-isolate?

Yes, they can.

As a parent or guardian of a student, can I help my student move into the residence halls?

Yes.

Who do I contact if I have questions?

Student-screening@ufl.edu

If you have any questions, not covered by the FAQ, please use your Gatorlink and submit your question to our team. If you are a UF student and believe you have symptoms, have come into close contact with a COVID-19 person, or test positive, please follow our guidance on who to call in each circumstance. You can now schedule testing through ONE.UF by starting a new screening questionnaire.


UF Health Patients

I need to go to the ER or to my doctor’s office, but I am afraid because I might be exposed to someone with COVID-19. What are you doing to keep me safe?

UF Health hospitals and outpatient practices have implemented several measures to ensure the safety of patients, visitors and staff. Please review all UF Health safety measures.


Media

Who can provide an interview about UF Health Screen, Test & Protect?

Please contact UF Health Communications media relations coordinator Ken Garcia, 352-273-9799, or University of Florida Communications AVP Steve Orlando, 352-846-3903.