ORLANDO, Fla. – Classes at the University of Central Florida resume Monday after the holiday break and students returning to school must test negative for COVID-19 before checking into on-campus housing for the spring semester, according to a news release from UCF.
According to the release, 7,000 students will be rapid tested for coronavirus during a five-day period and must receive negative results before they can check into their housing.
“Rapid testing is an effective and efficient method,” said Michael Deichen, UCF’s associate vice president of student health services. “Faster results allow us to more readily take steps to stop the spread of the virus and reduce potential exposure for the campus community.”
The rapid tests are being conducted outdoors and through an appointment-based system by COVID Testing LLC. Students can expect their results within minutes, officials wrote in the release.
Lauren Ifill , a freshman at UCF, was tested on campus Friday morning.
“I have a roommate and suitemates. I think it’s really good that they are doing it before we go to the dorms, so we don’t, like, contract it to anyone else or we get something,” Ifill said.
Kenneth Vargas also got a rapid test.
“I’m slightly concerned just because Florida is a hot spot right now and it hasn’t been going down but with the vaccines coming out, hopefully most people will get the vaccine,” Vargas said.
Students who do test positive for COVID-19 will be given the option of returning home to isolate or spending the isolation period in designated housing locations on campus, school officials said.
UCF officials said there are no out-of-pocket costs for students to take the tests during the move-in period and that the university will cover any costs not covered by a student’s insurance.
Due to the ongoing pandemic, on-campus housing remains at limited capacity for the spring semester, though about 800 more students will live on campus than in the fall, according to the release.
UCF officials also wrote in the release that all COVID-19 policies, including social distancing, face covering requirements and reduced capacity in classrooms, will remain in effect for the spring semester.
“We went through this in some degree in July in the fall semester and we learned a lot from that experience, and we are trying to do even better with this semester,” Deichen said on Friday.
To help curb the spread of COVID-19, school officials previously announced plans to move spring break back a month to April and move to entirely remote instruction following that week, with residence halls and campus offices remaining open.
Should they need to due to public health conditions, university officials said they’re prepared to pivot to more remote teaching and work at any time.