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COVID-19 Coronavirus

The University of West Florida is working closely with the Florida Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control, to closely monitor COVID-19 (Coronavirus). The University's COVID-19 guidelines and protocols are based on national guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and in coordination with the Florida State University System.


FAQs

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, muscle pain, sore throat and new loss of taste or smell. Symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as many as 14 days following exposure. Most people recover from COVID-19 without needing special treatment. The elderly and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems and diabetes are more likely to develop serious illness.

This list is not all possible symptoms. Other less common symptoms have been reported, including gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.

Have there been cases of COVID-19 in Escambia, Santa Rosa or Okaloosa Counties? 
Updates on the virus, including the number of confirmed cases in each county, are available at floridahealth.gov.

What happens when there is a confirmed case on the UWF campus? 
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention protocols are followed. Individuals who have had close contact with the patient may be contacted and monitored by the Department of Health with UWF’s full support.

Is it possible to become reinfected with COVID-19?
For more information on re-infection, visit the CDC’s Reinfection with COVID-19 webpage.

How will I know when to quarantine or isolate?
For more information on quarantine and isolation, visit the CDC’s Quarantine and Isolation webpage.

Where can I stay up to date on University notices relating to the COVID-19 situation?
This is the official webpage to the COVID-19 pandemic and updates are sent out via email and UWF social media outlets (Facebook and Twitter). 

Helpful Resources

Where can I find information on COVID-19 vaccinations?
For more information on COVID-19 vaccinations, visit uwf.edu/covidvaccine.

Students

What actions should students take if they have been exposed to COVID-19, have symptoms of COVID-19 or tested positive for COVID-19? 
Students who have been exposed to a known positive case of COVID-19 and/or have symptoms of COVID-19 should seek testing. Students who are awaiting test results should quarantine until they receive results. UWF follows CDC recommendations on isolation and quarantine. 

If a student needs additional medical guidance or COVID-19 testing contact Student Health Services at 850.474.2172. Testing locations in Escambia County can be found at COVID-19 Information for Escambia County and in Santa Rosa County at Santa Rosa County COVID-19 Testing Information. Additional testing sites in the state can be found on Florida COVID-19 Testing Sites.

Free COVID test kits from the federal government are now available. The delivery time for the test kits are 1-2 weeks so they are not recommended for anyone who has an immediate need for testing. Information on how students can order their free at-home test kits can be found on American College Health Association’s free test kit FAQ webpage

In addition, private health insurance companies are also mandated to cover the cost of any additional at-home rapid COVID-19 test purchases. Insurance companies are required to cover eight free over-the-counter at-home tests per person per month. Here's how to get your At-Home Over-The-Counter COVID-19 test for free using insurance coverage.

If you have tested positive for COVID-19 and need assistance with your classes please contact your faculty. If students need additional assistance after contacting their faculty, they may email Case Management Services at casemanagement@uwf.edu or call 850.474.2384 to discuss their options.

Will faculty be required to excuse me from class and allow me to make up work if I get COVID-19?
The University will not distinguish between COVID-19 related and unrelated absences. Students who are required to quarantine or isolate should consult with their faculty regarding absences and missed work. If students need additional assistance after consulting with their faculty, they may email Case Management Services at casemanagement@uwf.edu or call 850.474.2384 to discuss their options.

What should faculty communicate to students who have notified them that they have been exposed to COVID-19? 
Below is a template email for faculty to use when students contact them directly regarding exposure to COVID-19: 

Thank you for making me aware of your potential exposure to COVID-19 and I hope you are well. Please do not visit any UWF locations. Should you need additional medical support or COVID testing contact Student Health Services at 850.474.2172. As you feel able, please take a look at course assignments and participation expectations for the next week and schedule with me to discuss a plan to keep you on track in the course.

Should faculty and classmates quarantine if a student in their in-person class tests positive for COVID-19? 
If exposed to COVID-19, follow CDC guidance. Detailed recommendations on when to isolate or quarantine can be found at the CDC website.

Faculty should never identify someone in their class that tested positive or was asked to quarantine to any other person, as this violates FERPA guidelines.

Employees

What actions should employees take if they have been exposed to COVID-19, have symptoms of COVID-19 or tested positive for COVID-19? 
Employees who believe they have been exposed to COVID-19 must contact their direct supervisor and Human Resources. Employees who are awaiting test results should quarantine until they receive results. UWF is currently following CDC recommendations on isolation and quarantine.

Student Health Services is only able to provide COVID testing for students. Testing locations in Escambia County can be found at COVID-19 Information for Escambia County and in Santa Rosa County at Santa Rosa County COVID-19 Testing Information. Additional testing sites in the state can be found on Florida COVID-19 Testing Sites.

Free COVID test kits from the federal government are now available. The delivery time for the test kits are 1-2 weeks so they are not recommended for anyone who has an immediate need for testing. 

In addition, private health insurance companies are also mandated to cover the cost of any additional at-home rapid COVID-19 test purchases. Insurance companies are required to cover eight free over-the-counter at-home tests per person per month. Here's how to get your At-Home Over-The-Counter COVID-19 test for free using insurance coverage.

Isolation and Quarantine

What are the guidelines if I need to isolate or quarantine?
Detailed recommendations on when to isolate or quarantine can be found at the CDC website.

Has UWF put any travel restrictions in place?
University-sponsored travel is permitted, following certain guidelines. For more information on travel, visit the UWF Employee Travel Guidance Confluence page.

Does the University have any guidelines for UWF employees who are traveling for domestic and international University-sponsored travel?
See the CDC’s latest recommendations for travel.

What is guidance for personal travel?
Those traveling for non-University-sponsored travel (personal travel) should follow the CDC’s travel guidance.

I am an international student returning to the U.S. What is the guidance for my travel?
International students traveling internationally to return to UWF should follow the CDC’s international travel guidance

What steps should I take to prevent the spread of germs?
The CDC advises following these simple steps to prevent the spread of germs:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe. 
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.

Am I required to get tested for COVID-19 before I return?
Testing is not a requirement for students or employees to return to campus. For students who wish to take a COVID-19 test before returning to campus, UWF Student Health Services is performing rapid COVID-19 testing by appointment only. For more information, visit uwf.edu/healthservices.

Are face coverings required at UWF?
Face coverings are not required at UWF.

The CDC provides additional information on when to wear your face covering.

Am I required to wear a face covering if I’m officially representing UWF at an event off campus?
Any person representing UWF at an event should abide by relevant local and/or establishment requirements for face coverings.

Does the University provide quarantine or isolation housing for students who are exposed to or test positive for COVID-19?
No. The University does not provide quarantine/isolation housing. Students who are exposed or who test positive for COVID-19 will be asked to quarantine or isolate at home or off-campus.

Can I cancel my housing contract if I get COVID-19?
There are limited reasons students may request that their housing contract be cancelled. For information regarding housing contract cancellation requests, please visit UWF’s Request for Cancellation of UWF Housing Contract webpage.

I am an international student and have questions. Where can I find information?
For frequently asked questions for international students, visit visit the International Programs Updates for COVID-19 webpage.

I am an Active Duty Member/ Veteran/Military Dependent looking for additional guidance, what resources do I have available?
The UWF Military & Veterans Resource Center has a variety of services available to students through this transition. These include guidance on impact for benefits (TA, GI Bill©, VA) technological and equipment assistance, one-on-one mentoring with our S.W.I.M TEAM and general support. Any Active Duty member or veteran student should contact the office by email at mvrc@uwf.edu or speak to someone live from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday from the MVRC website and click on “MVRC Customer Service Support.”

UWF Student Health Services is performing rapid COVID-19 testing for current students with a valid Nautilus ID card. Appointments are required to receive the test and will be offered from 1 to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Student Wellness Center, Building 960. To make an appointment, contact SHS at 850.474.2172. The rapid testing will provide results within 15–20 minutes.

Students must complete documentation prior to arriving for their appointment. This will be sent securely through DocuSign. If this is not completed before a student arrives for their appointment they will be rescheduled.

If an employee is presumed to have contracted COVID-19, the employee must notify their supervisor immediately. If employees would like to take the COVID-19 test on their own, they may visit an official testing site or contact their health care provider.