ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — UCF is using a number of tools and methods to keep coronavirus cases down among its students and staff.
What You Need To Know
- UCF students and staff use a COVID symptom checker before coming to campus
- COVID surveillance teams identifying at-risk populations
- The school is also conducting testing, quarantining
- Related: UCF Tells Residents in 3 Sorority Houses to Quarantine
Fresh concerns over campus safety arose on the Orlando campus after nearly 80 sorority students at the university were told to quarantine for two weeks after an unknown number of cases were confirmed in three different houses in Greek Park.
One of the quarantined sororities is now under interim suspension.
Along with contact tracing, UCF requires students and staff to use a COVID symptom self-checker before they come onto campus each day.
This fall, they’re also using COVID surveillance teams to identify asymptomatic cases in at-risk student populations to cut down on case clusters.
The view from UCF's campus looks different for many, as students are socially distanced and wearing masks. This year, many students are going out of their way not to be social in-person for safety.
“I have all online classes so it’s been pretty easy," said UCFfreshman Kaley Jaqueth. "I’ve been staying in my dorm, going to the dining hall, it’s not bad.”
Jaqueth said she feels the university is doing its best to protect students from the coronavirus, but believes individuals have a hand in campus safety here, too.
“I feel like it’s mainly in the students hands to be safe for other students,” Jaqueth said.
“So far, fingers crossed, things appear to be going well. We do anticipate that cases will probably go up,” said Dr. Robert Hines, associate professor of population health sciences at UCF College of Medicine.
Along with testing sick students and utilizing contact tracing on campus to test, quarantine and protect students, UCF is also starting COVID surveillance this fall.
They’ll be identifying higher-risk groups of students, including those living in on-campus housing or in sororities or fraternities, and testing random samples of those students.
Officials hope to identify early-on those who have coronavirus and aren’t yet symptomatic, as well as those who are asymptomatic.
“But what we’re trying to do to the extent possible is identify any clusters of cases, get on top of them, inform people through our contact tracing to try, and mitigate any potential outbreak scenarios from happening,” Hines said.
If and when case clusters are identified, Hines said, more focused testing can be done to prevent severe spread. By using this and other methods, UCF hopes to keep case numbers low.
Jaqueth said she's hopeful that her fellow Knights will step up, cutting out social gatherings to stop the spread so campus life can eventually get back to normal.
“So I think they really need to get it together so that other students can have a chance to go to parties later on,” Jaqueth said.
The COVID surveillance teams testing is expected to start the week of September 21.