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The University of Central Florida Practices for Coronavirus Outbreak

UCF staff and emergency personnel walked through possible scenarios during a weekly meeting. Photo: Danielle Prieur
UCF staff and emergency personnel walked through possible scenarios during a weekly meeting. Photo: Danielle Prieur

University of Central Florida officials met today to practice how they would respond to a local coronavirus outbreak.

Some universities across the country have suspended in-person classes because of coronavirus, but UCF says at this point the plan is not to completely shut down the campus if there’s an outbreak in Orange County. 

The university has already rolled out portable sanitation stations, increased cleaning around campus, and launched a coronavirus website for parents and students.

Now, Director of Emergency Management Joe Thalheimer says staff and emergency personnel are discussing options for taking classes online and working remotely.

“Folks that do research in labs and what not will still be permitted to come and go. But, again we’re driving home that social distancing, just be wise about how we do business.”

Student Health Services Director Dr. Michael Deichen says the student clinic is offering testing to students who meet the criteria. 

“It’s very limited now. We only have five test kits available as of yesterday, but I expect that to expand significantly. If for some reason we run out of testing materials, we can refer to the public health department or ERs to get that testing done.”

Deichen says staff are prepared to use N-95 respirator masks and isolated rooms if students display symptoms. 

Study abroad trips to China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Mongolia, Italy, Iran, Japan, Turkmenistan, and Azerbaijan have been canceled. Students who travel to these destinations need to alert Student Health Services and self-isolate for fourteen days on return to the United States.

As of Tuesday, the Florida Department of Health had announced two coronavirus cases in Volusia County, both of them women in their sixties who had recently traveled overseas.

If you'd like to listen to the story, click on the clips above.

Danielle Prieur is a general assignment reporter and fill-in host at WMFE.