Update: New Coronavirus Cases Reported on Campus Email from University Communications on July 14, 2020
To all students, faculty, and staff --
As many of you know, Jacksonville and the state of Florida is experiencing a sharp rise in the number of active COVID-19 cases. The university coronavirus task force has been closely monitoring this surge and preparing for the possibility of active cases on our campus as a limited number of staff, faculty and students begin returning in preparation for the fall semester.
While we tracked several off-campus cases among our students, faculty, and staff this spring and early summer, we now have confirmed three active cases on campus -- two students and a faculty member -- each of whom is currently in isolation off campus and doing well. Two of the three cases occurred in the Orthodontics Clinic at the Health Sciences Complex on the north end of campus. The third occurred in the Village Apartments.
In anticipation of this situation, the University developed a robust quarantine/isolation plan and contact tracing protocol, which we are now actively deploying, along with the rigorous cleaning and sanitizing of impacted areas. Anyone who had been in close contact with these individuals has already been notified by the University.
Under our response plan for positive cases on campus, faculty and staff who test positive must isolate themselves off campus. We will work closely with students who test positive to isolate them and ensure they are getting the care they need. Individuals who were exposed and can self-quarantine off campus must do so. Others may quarantine on campus in spaces we have specifically designated for that purpose.
For privacy reasons, the University will share extremely limited information on individuals who test positive, but we will update the campus regularly about active cases at JU and how they impact our operations, if at all. In coordination with the Florida Department of Health and our partners at regional providers such as the Mayo Clinic, the University is constantly evaluating all of the variables that determine how we work, teach, and house our campus community. We look at the current rate of positive cases in our city, the rate of positive cases on campus, available quarantine space on campus, local hospital capacity, and more.
In consideration of these variables as they currently stand, we remain committed to our plan to welcome students back to campus this fall, assuming it’s safe to do so. The University has adequate resources in place to contain these isolated cases and minimize the risk of spread. As these variables change, the University may adjust operations accordingly as we prioritize your safety and we’re committed to communicating with you regularly about those updates.
These new cases also underscore the responsibility that falls on every member of our campus. We all play a pivotal role in slowing the spread of the virus by wearing cloth face coverings, maintaining 6 feet of physical space from others, and washing/sanitizing our hands frequently. Working, living, and learning together safely in this environment means we must all do our part.