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“A year of change”: University of Florida reflects on COVID-19 milestones

Published: Jul. 26, 2021 at 6:49 AM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - The University of Florida is reflecting back on the milestones made in the last year through the COVID-19 pandemic. From the initial lockdown in March 2020 to the rollout of vaccines in December, reflecting back on the year of change helps us see just how far we’ve come.

On March 11, UF Health Shands in Gainesville admitted the first patient with COVID-19. While many quarantined at home through March and April, UF began ramping up testing, research, and virtual resources.

“A year of change”: University of Florida reflects on COVID-19 milestones
“A year of change”: University of Florida reflects on COVID-19 milestones(University of Florida)

On May 5, the test, screen, protect initiative was launched. The next day 9,077 students celebrated graduation in a new way with a virtual commencement.

June brought the requirement of face coverings and social distancing in all UF buildings. Then as of July 1st, UF took covid-19 testing to off-campus locations.

RELATED STORY: Leader of UF Health Jacksonville has died after a tragic accident

On October 3rd, the first-ever socially distanced gator football game kicked off with 15,000 fans in the stadium compared to the normal 90,000 plus crowd. In case you forgot, the gators beat south Carolina 38-24.

“A year of change”: University of Florida reflects on COVID-19 milestones
“A year of change”: University of Florida reflects on COVID-19 milestones(University of Florida)

These small victories served as glimmers of hope for the return to normal. With the start of December came a new wave of hope. Vaccines began rolling out across the state.

On December 16, the first Pfizer vaccines were going into the arms of frontline workers. Then a week later, Moderna vaccines were being administered.

“A year of change”: University of Florida reflects on COVID-19 milestones
“A year of change”: University of Florida reflects on COVID-19 milestones(University of Florida)

Eligibility requirements changed throughout the weeks leading up to the first mass vaccination event held at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on February 5th.

The partnership with UF Health, the Florida Department of Health, and UF athletics continued as thousands of Alachua county residents, UF students, faculty, and staff have gotten their shots.

RELATED STORY: UF Health frontline workers reflect back on one year of COVID-19 in NCFL

They say now getting back to normal is finally within our grasps as a more normal fall semester and gator football season are on the horizon.

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