August 5, 2021 – Thursday afternoon, Santa Fe College President Paul Broadie II, Ph.D. released the following statement to the college community concerning the recent spike in COVID-19 cases and the Delta variant.
Dear Santa Fe Family:
Alachua and Bradford Counties, like many other communities around the nation, are seeing a rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths, nearly entirely among the unvaccinated, in conjunction with the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant. The college is taking some important steps in response. Following the latest CDC guidance, we strongly urge faculty, staff, students, and visitors to wear masks indoors while on campus regardless of vaccination status. We are ordering additional masks to augment faculty and staff supplies, and masks will also be readily available throughout our campus locations for students and visitors. In the coming days, you will see prominent messaging at all instructional sites urging indoor masking. I have asked MarCom to develop signage promoting masking for the health and safety of individuals and the community. This signage will contain QR codes directing individuals to the CDC recommendations. Partitions such as plexiglass shields are in place in many areas of our buildings. In addition, air filters that allow for optimal air flow are being used by Facilities Services throughout the college. Moreover, pandemic precautions such as self-reporting, utilizing the Daily Self-Assessment Checklist and contact tracing remain in place.
I want to take this opportunity to emphasize the importance of people limiting large indoor gatherings and utilizing Zoom and Teams meetings as an alternative when they are effective. In light of the spread of the Delta variant and to enhance safety measures, we are making changes to convocation including not serving refreshments before the event. In-person attendance is optional and will be significantly limited. A maximum of 190 people will be allowed in the Fine Arts Hall and an additional 70 seats will be available to watch a live stream in the Lyceum. All attendees will be strongly encouraged to wear a mask, and seating will be well spaced. In addition, convocation will be live streamed for viewing from offices and other locations. Additional information will be forthcoming regarding how to register if you choose to attend in person and about other details regarding convocation.
Recently, a state of emergency has been declared in Alachua County strongly recommending that unvaccinated individuals get vaccinated and that both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals follow the CDC guidelines. Estimates show that approximately 99% of Americans dying from coronavirus are unvaccinated. A new study from the Cleveland Clinic found that more than 99% of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 during the first four months of 2021 were not fully vaccinated. This compelling evidence leads us to continue to strongly urge students and employees to get vaccinated for the COVID-19 virus as soon as possible to protect themselves and others.
We are continuously monitoring the pandemic and, in consultation with public health officials, we will continue to evaluate and adjust our protocols as necessary.
Santa Fe College stands out as a leader in higher education because of our exceptional students, world-class faculty, innovative learning opportunities, and culture of caring. As we gear up for the beginning of the fall semester, thank you for joining in our efforts to keep our college and our community safe.